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Boucher
07-06-2010, 03:34 PM
It never ceases to amaze me that when you tell someone how to do something that the first thing they try to do is change or alter those directions. There were some people that were camped next to us at the lake last year. They were doing a lot of fishing and not much catching. We were catching our limit ever day. They were amazed at our success and wanted to know what we were using for bait. When we told them our recipe which is very simple and proven, the first thing that they started asking was about changes and substutions without even trying it.

There is a lot of good advice and instructions given on this forem. It likewise amazes me that when you try to help someone with a very simple solution and directions the first thing they want to do is not follow those directions. Nearly anything can be improved, but you have to try it the old way to understand its subtlities before altering it.

I had an employee that was reluctant to folllow direction on how to do things. I finally explained to him that I had paid for my learning by making mistakes and that I didnít desire to pay him to try what I had allready tried and found unworkable.

squirrel
07-06-2010, 04:33 PM
It never ceases to amaze me that when you tell someone how to do something that the first thing they try to do is change or alter those directions. There were some people that were camped next to us at the lake last year. They were doing a lot of fishing and not much catching. We were catching our limit ever day. They were amazed at our success and wanted to know what we were using for bait. When we told them our recipe which is very simple and proven, the first thing that they started asking was about changes and substutions without even trying it.

There is a lot of good advice and instructions given on this forem. It likewise amazes me that when you try to help someone with a very simple solution and directions the first thing they want to do is not follow those directions. Nearly anything can be improved, but you have to try it the old way to understand its subtlities before altering it.

I had an employee that was reluctant to folllow direction on how to do things. I finally explained to him that I had paid for my learning by making mistakes and that I didnít desire to pay him to try what I had allready tried and found unworkable.
Alot of them seem to know more than the boss, I live by "its my way or the highway"

Dr Stan
07-06-2010, 04:39 PM
I had an employee that was reluctant to folllow direction on how to do things. I finally explained to him that I had paid for my learning by making mistakes and that I didn’t desire to pay him to try what I had allready tried and found unworkable.

This goes back centuries, if not farther. Plato, Socrates, Pythagoras and many other ancient philosophers/teachers complained about that younger generation who would not listen to their sage advise. :D

Guess that puts you in very good company.

Lew Hartswick
07-06-2010, 05:16 PM
When that happens to me i just ask them if they are "asking or telling
me". :-)
...lew...

alanganes
07-06-2010, 05:36 PM
All I really want to know is what you were using to catch all of those fish...

rolland
07-06-2010, 05:59 PM
directions can be confusing, everytime I buy a electronic device the directions are printed in every language but stupid and that's the one I most often need.

gnm109
07-06-2010, 06:03 PM
It never ceases to amaze me that when you tell someone how to do something that the first thing they try to do is change or alter those directions. There were some people that were camped next to us at the lake last year. They were doing a lot of fishing and not much catching. We were catching our limit ever day. They were amazed at our success and wanted to know what we were using for bait. When we told them our recipe which is very simple and proven, the first thing that they started asking was about changes and substutions without even trying it.

There is a lot of good advice and instructions given on this forem. It likewise amazes me that when you try to help someone with a very simple solution and directions the first thing they want to do is not follow those directions. Nearly anything can be improved, but you have to try it the old way to understand its subtlities before altering it.

I had an employee that was reluctant to folllow direction on how to do things. I finally explained to him that I had paid for my learning by making mistakes and that I didnít desire to pay him to try what I had allready tried and found unworkable.


Long ago and far away, I was once a technical writer. I had been involved in the drafting of an electronic test procedure for a stable platform for a guidance system which contained two gyros with air bearings, kind of like an X and Y axis.

The test procedure had been given to the test technicians and they were in the process of testing the gyros. Our department was informed shortly thereafter that the test procedure for testing the run up to speed of each gyro independently was faulty since the gyros were burning out. They ran at something like 20,000 rpm.

I went down to that department to observe a test. The technician was to run each gyro up to speed in each direction. The procedure clearly showed the numbered steps. He was to first clock it's speed for a short period of time in one direction (polarity-controlled) and then simply shut if off, wait until the tachometer showed that it was fully stopped and then start it again in the opposite polarity. Normally, it would take three to four minutes for it to stop.

As I observed the test, I quickly determined the reason for the failure. I noticed that he didn't wait as called out in the test procedure. He watched the tachometer until it got up to speed as required and then he reversed the polarity, feeding reverse voltage in on the running gyro!

When I asked him why he hadn't followed the procedure (which was specifically written to protect the gyro from reverse voltage during test) he said "It takes too long".

Directions? Who needs them?

Boucher
07-06-2010, 06:06 PM
This is south Texas and the lake is Choke Canyon near Three Rivers. What works here may not work ever where but for Blue Cat and Channel cat Punch bait works best here. It is fairly thick. You punch a small treble hook down into it and pull it out loading the hook. Our bait is composed of six pounds of good cheese, six pounds of Bait Shrimp, and six pounds of Beef Suet. These are ground through a 3/8 Chili plate and mixed thourghly. Then dried Cattails are mixed in until the whole mess is firm. A little garlic powder and a little oil of Anice is added. The Container is set out in the sun for a few weeks. Additional cattails man be necessary as the ingredients liquify. Choke Canyon is the most fertile catfish lake that I have fished. We target Blue cats in the 3 to 6 lb range. We fillet them and remove the blood line in the middle. Makes for some very good eating. In fact we are camped on the Colorado River near Bend, TX and that is on the menu for tonight.

alanganes
07-06-2010, 07:37 PM
This is south Texas and the lake is Choke Canyon near Three Rivers. What works here may not work ever where but for Blue Cat and Channel cat Punch bait works best here.
SNIP lots of good instructions....



Wow! I was really kidding, but thanks for that! I've not done much fishing for catfish, I mostly seem to catch them when fishing for almost anything else. Then again, I'm not a very gifted fisherman. Sounds like you take your catfish really seriously!

That's quite a bait recipe. Anything that starts out with "six pounds of good cheese" would likely get eaten around here long before you ever got to the beef suet or cattails!
:D

Thanks!!

AussieChris
07-06-2010, 07:55 PM
Hey Byron,

I was wondering if I could substitute bread for the cheese and perhaps beef for the shrimpÖ.. Just kidding ;)

oldbikerdude37
07-06-2010, 08:12 PM
I used to let the shops hired welders do some of my work but after a while I just weld eveything myself, then I have nobody to blame but myself if its not right.
It works for them and works for me so everyone is happy.

saltmine
07-06-2010, 09:16 PM
I find it very frustrating whenever I do consulting. Some Forums I subscribe to are ones that can get under your skin, too.

A lot of the automotive Forums are full of "shadetree mechanics" and cheapasses looking for a "freebie". Many have little or no technical background, and tend to question everything one says.

If you post a fix or a cure for a problem they're having, they immediately challenge it. If they find out that you were 100% correct, they will try to take credit for figuring it out...God help you if you're wrong...

I recently went "round-and-round" with a guy who blew the headgaskets on his elderly Ford Taurus. Headgasket failure is quite common on V-6 Fords, and his was a survivor of a rough 15 years, plus being driven quite a distance with the engine detonating and the radiator boiling away like an old Camelback locomotive. In his description, he stated that the oil had turned into a liquid resembling a moca latte, and that he had water pouring out of every seam. Like usual, this guy didn't have the money to fix it, and was looking for some "magic fairy dust" or "Super Snake Oil" to keep the old wreck running another year. Being the "bad guy" I told him, honestly, this car had seen better days, and repairing it would no doubt cost far more than it would to replace it. True to form, he pulled the radiator, replaced the water pump, hoses, thermostat, and flushed the cooling system. After he put it all back together, he's back on the Forum, complaining that it keeps blowing the coolant back out of the radiator surge tank. Fortunately, he hasn't run it long enough to really get it hot, yet, but now, I'm the guy who didn't know what he was talking about, and he's the expert. I also told him that one of many "block sealers" won't fix a cracked cylinder head on a Taurus....Again, I'm the idiot....he says it works just fine...Well, more power to him. I'm not sure if I want to know what he will say about me, driving around in this heat, when his "magic fairy dust" in the radiator lets go...I'm pretty sure it won't be, "Ya know, that guy was right."

Many of these "leeches" post their car problems in the hope that one of the experienced guys will finally come over to their house, and fix it for free.

Reminds me of an animated series I saw once. The main character's car breaks down, and being broke, he decides to fix it himself. He goes to a book store and buys a book, "Auto Repair for Dummies". On the first page of the book they tell him to "Open the hood" (this can't be good)....Our hero discovers a huge "light switch" marked:" BROKEN" and "FIXED"...So, he flips it to "FIXED" and says to his friend, "See, that wasn't so bad."

gnm109
07-06-2010, 09:27 PM
I find it very frustrating whenever I do consulting. Some Forums I subscribe to are ones that can get under your skin, too.

A lot of the automotive Forums are full of "shadetree mechanics" and cheapasses looking for a "freebie". Many have little or no technical background, and tend to question everything one says.

If you post a fix or a cure for a problem they're having, they immediately challenge it. If they find out that you were 100% correct, they will try to take credit for figuring it out...God help you if you're wrong...

I recently went "round-and-round" with a guy who blew the headgaskets on his elderly Ford Taurus. Headgasket failure is quite common on V-6 Fords, and his was a survivor of a rough 15 years, plus being driven quite a distance with the engine detonating and the radiator boiling away like an old Camelback locomotive. In his description, he stated that the oil had turned into a liquid resembling a moca latte, and that he had water pouring out of every seam. Like usual, this guy didn't have the money to fix it, and was looking for some "magic fairy dust" or "Super Snake Oil" to keep the old wreck running another year. Being the "bad guy" I told him, honestly, this car had seen better days, and repairing it would no doubt cost far more than it would to replace it. True to form, he pulled the radiator, replaced the water pump, hoses, thermostat, and flushed the cooling system. After he put it all back together, he's back on the Forum, complaining that it keeps blowing the coolant back out of the radiator surge tank. Fortunately, he hasn't run it long enough to really get it hot, yet, but now, I'm the guy who didn't know what he was talking about, and he's the expert. I also told him that one of many "block sealers" won't fix a cracked cylinder head on a Taurus....Again, I'm the idiot....he says it works just fine...Well, more power to him. I'm not sure if I want to know what he will say about me, driving around in this heat, when his "magic fairy dust" in the radiator lets go...I'm pretty sure it won't be, "Ya know, that guy was right."

Many of these "leeches" post their car problems in the hope that one of the experienced guys will finally come over to their house, and fix it for free.

Reminds me of an animated series I saw once. The main character's car breaks down, and being broke, he decides to fix it himself. He goes to a book store and buys a book, "Auto Repair for Dummies". On the first page of the book they tell him to "Open the hood" (this can't be good)....Our hero discovers a huge "light switch" marked:" BROKEN" and "FIXED"...So, he flips it to "FIXED" and says to his friend, "See, that wasn't so bad."


Right on the Taurus head gasket problem. I think it was the 1980's or early 90's wasn't it? In any case, the problem was traced to head bolts that there too hard. they would break and let go and the resulting rush of coolant would finish off the engines. There was a big recall about it.


.

saltmine
07-06-2010, 11:21 PM
I don't recall any broken head bolts (fleet shop 15 years) but I do remember quite a few cracked cylinder heads. The Taurus V-6 was a continuation of the 2.8L German Ford Taunus engine, which had a history of cracking cylinder heads even before Ford brought them to the US. True to form (trying to save money) Ford never remedied the problem. This design carried on into the 3.0, 3.8, and the 4.0 engines also. Ford had a massive recall on these engines. The guys in my shop could do them in their sleep (some actually did).
Not one of Ford's "better ideas".

They used them in the Taurus, Windstar, Aerostar, Ranger pickup, Mustang, and the Thunderbird.

gnm109
07-06-2010, 11:31 PM
I don't recall any broken head bolts (fleet shop 15 years) but I do remember quite a few cracked cylinder heads. The Taurus V-6 was a continuation of the 2.8L German Ford Taunus engine, which had a history of cracking cylinder heads even before Ford brought them to the US. True to form (trying to save money) Ford never remedied the problem. This design carried on into the 3.0, 3.8, and the 4.0 engines also. Ford had a massive recall on these engines. The guys in my shop could do them in their sleep (some actually did).
Not one of Ford's "better ideas".

They used them in the Taurus, Windstar, Aerostar, Ranger pickup, Mustang, and the Thunderbird.


The Taurus had a rather weak transmission, as well. At least the two that we owned did.....but we also put a transmission in a Tempo so I guess it wasn't only the Taurus.

Then there are the Ford Expedtition trannys.....:)

saltmine
07-06-2010, 11:59 PM
Expedition transmissions! Don't get me started!

The Sheriff wanted his guys to have SUV's for patrol work....We got Expeditions...

Damn near every police agency in the US got Chevy Tahoes.

So, we had a steady stream of Expeditions going to and from the Ford dealer, day in, day out. Everything past the flywheel either leaked, slipped, or stopped working. But.....Purchasing got a good price on them.

Meanwhile, the Sheriff is a laughingstock, because of his Expeditions....
It's a shame we didn't get Exploders....the name fits.. But an Exploder actually costs more than an Expedition....

In an effort to "make things right", last year, Purchasing bought a whole fleet of Dodge Chargers....

The Chrysler dealer is feeling quite safe, with the Sheriff's Chargers protecting their service department from thieves, terrorists, and illegal aliens.

J. Randall
07-07-2010, 03:24 AM
I have heard the horror stories about the Ford 3.8 V6, but we drove the wheels off of 2 of the Windstars, a 95 and a 98, never a lick of trouble out of the engine on either one. One of the most comfortable vehicles I ever traveled in and got about 25 mpg in one 26mpg in the other.
James

Circlip
07-07-2010, 03:33 AM
Basic instructions, "If all else fails RTFM"

Regards Ian

oldbikerdude37
07-07-2010, 03:40 AM
Basic instructions, "If all else fails RTFM"

Regards Ian

LOL thats too true:D

saltmine
07-07-2010, 10:51 AM
It happens, J Randall. Some people have excellent service from what has been called a "flawed engine design". I had similar luck with GM's "horrible" Chevy Vega. I've owned several, and usually sold each one after putting over 100,000 miles on each of them, without a problem.
I heard stories about the early Renault, which was imported into the US by the French, back in the '60's. Truly a sorry little car, compared to the VW, and several of the Japanese imports. But, when one became available, for a ridiculous price ($20), I bought it. That car turned out to be one of the best cars I've ever owned. It was a 1964 Renault R5, with an 1108cc four cylinder, pushrod engine, and a four-speed transmission. It had four-wheel disc brakes. Rode like a Cadillac, handled like a Ferrari, and was cheap and easy to fix....I replaced a clutch in it, in 45 minutes, once. The clutch assembly was only $30. I drove the daylights out of it, filling the 11 gallon gas tank once a week...49mpg on average. Sure, it was ugly, but I didn't care. I eventually sold it to a Puerto Rican couple from New York City, for $400....A year or two later, I happened upon the couple, with their children, in a gas station. The husband came over and shook my hand, telling me I'd sold him the best car he'd ever owned, and that they were setting out for New York, again, for a visit in my old Renault...making it the fourth trip to New York since I sold them the car. I can't imagine driving that far with a wife and three kids in the car...but they did.

Some people and some cars just don't work together. Some do.
I knew a young lady when I worked in North Hollywood whose parents bought her a new Mercedes Benz, in the hope that the Benz would be a high quality, trouble free, daily driver, while she attended college. The Benz spent more time riding on the back of a tow truck than it did on the street, she couldn't drive it around the block before something went wrong with it....I had to laugh, at least twice a week, she would borrow my '64 Triumph TR4. Her friends soon thought the old, white Triumph was her car, and the Benz was mine...since I had it more than she did. Her parents eventually bought her a generic, American made, Chevy Camaro, which she drove, trouble free, through her remaining three years of college. My lovable old Triumph, sadly, was stolen, never to be seen again.

projectnut
07-07-2010, 11:16 AM
There are lots of reasons for wanting to modify instructions other than ignorance, laziness, or rebellion. Sometimes a procedure is called out using expensive (or obsolete) tooling, ingredients, or time the person may not have. It's only natural to either ask if a substitution can be made, or in the case where the instructor isn't present make a substitution thinking you can accomplish the same task.

On one hand it's disappointing to give what you thought were clear cut instructions and not have them followed. On the other hand you have to give some credit to a person who is innovative. You never know the "new way" might be superior to the traditional way of accomplishing the same task. The person you thought was costing you money by not following instructions could actually make you money by cutting the time and/or cost of producing a part.

Carld
07-07-2010, 12:52 PM
There are very good reasons for following recipes, instructions, etc. and that is that they were written for a reason and with planning. If you change a recipe you can expect different results with the outcome. If you change a testing process you will get different outcomes.

If you make changes it should be with contact with and info from the writer of the instructions. Trying to second guess the writer of the instructions is a good way to have a disaster or failure. If you have an issue with a testing process you should contact the company and ask questions because there are valid reasons why they wrote what they did.

If your doing a job there are a few different ways to do it most the time but a testing process has little, if any, room for change. Changing the test procedure changes the outcome.

kc5ezc
07-07-2010, 02:36 PM
Carld: We eat pretty well here in Byng America and lots of guests want our recipes. We give them freely, ingredients and instructions, knowing that NO-ONE will follow the instructions accurately. Then comes the call: It did not taste the same when I made it.
Ask if they changed the ingredients? Only a little.
Same with computer fixes, auto diagnosis and repair, etc.
My problem is that I follow directions exactly. Sometimes that is not the best course. Most directions are not clear and unambiguous. Try writing a little set of directions on, How to fill a fountain pen. Then let someone follow your written directions. Probably won't get the pen filled and the mess cleaned up without help.
Thanks for the forum.

saltmine
07-07-2010, 02:37 PM
I never understood that myself. I always tried to give clear, concise instructions only to have somebody try to shortcut them and screw the whole thing up.

Not long ago, a fellow asked me how to do something. I didn't think he was properly equipped or knowledgeable enough to carry out the task, so, I outlined the most "Rube Goldberg" way of doing it, the most difficult and time consuming way I could imagine.......He followed the instructions to the letter!

That's the last time I attempt to have some fun at somebody else's expense.

gnm109
07-07-2010, 03:35 PM
I don't recall any broken head bolts (fleet shop 15 years) but I do remember quite a few cracked cylinder heads. The Taurus V-6 was a continuation of the 2.8L German Ford Taunus engine, which had a history of cracking cylinder heads even before Ford brought them to the US. True to form (trying to save money) Ford never remedied the problem. This design carried on into the 3.0, 3.8, and the 4.0 engines also. Ford had a massive recall on these engines. The guys in my shop could do them in their sleep (some actually did).
Not one of Ford's "better ideas".

They used them in the Taurus, Windstar, Aerostar, Ranger pickup, Mustang, and the Thunderbird.


If you go to Google Groups and type in Key Words "Taurus Head Bolts", you will find many, many references to the broken head bolt problem that Taurus owners ran into. Generally, it would cause loosened head gaskets and ultimately, destruction of the engine.

Funny, you never heard of it........

projectnut
07-07-2010, 04:15 PM
You're story of the Ford reminded me of a personal experience several years ago. I had a 1987 Bronco with the 300 cu in 6 cylinder. Along about the 5th year the water pump developed a leak. No problem I am an ASE certified master mechanic and had purchased over $300.00 of service manuals for the truck when I bought it new.

It took less than an hour to get the pump off the truck and then the troubles began. The manuals took great care to explain the serpintine belt pulley had to be removed and put on the new pump. They also had a special section on removing the pulley in UPPER CASE BOLD LETTERS that explained the pulley was held on with a left hand bolt and secured with high strength Loctite. Try as hard as I could with the biggest wrenches, cheater bars and sockets I couldn't get the bolt to move. I even took both pump and the manual to work with me one day to get some help from a couple other mechanics.

After another hour of struggling and heating the bolt with a torch one of the guys said "let's try turning it in the other direction just to see if it will move at all". Low and behold the bolt unscrewed and the pulley came off.

It seems up until 1986 the belt was run on the opposite side of the pulley and the bolt holding it in place was indeed left handed. Ford rerouted the belt for 1987 and later years, and also changed the retaining bolt from a left hand thread to a right hand thread. Too bad the instruction manual wasn't updated to reflect the change.

saltmine
07-07-2010, 08:00 PM
Yeah, Ford had a bad habit of changing something, then assuming everybody already knew about it.

They used that threaded fan clutch bolt on a lot of engines. The problem was; you couldn't get the pulley off until you removed the fan clutch.

That bolt was responsible for many mechanics' hair turning grey...or falling out. I ended up buying my own fan clutch wrench set when I worked in fleet.
They boss even accused me of stealing tools when I took it with me, when I retired. I should have punched him in the chops, but I pulled out a "PAID IN FULL" receipt from Snap-on, instead.

No, GM109, I never saw broken cylinder head bolts on a Taurus, but I heard about them. Me and the guys over at the Ford dealer were pretty tight.

BTW, the Fords we had all used TTY (torque to yield) head bolts anyway, so we always threw them away once they were removed.

gregl
07-07-2010, 11:24 PM
Back to the original topic, I taught photography for 30 years. From time to time a student would come to me for a solution to a technical problem. I'd tell him or her the cause of the problem and then I'd get a string of denials. Or I'd get a know-it-all who would interrupt my answer and was sure he or she knew more about the subject than I did. (While there are many people who know more about photography than I do, this was a beginning class and the mistake in question was an easy-to-diagnose beginner's mistake.)

For the most extreme cases, I eventually learned two responses depending on circumstances:

"Well, if you already know the answer, why are you asking me?"
and
"I have the answer to your question. Let me know when you are ready to hear it."

Edwin Dirnbeck
01-01-2012, 08:59 PM
Long ago and far away, I was once a technical writer. I had been involved in the drafting of an electronic test procedure for a stable platform for a guidance system which contained two gyros with air bearings, kind of like an X and Y axis.

The test procedure had been given to the test technicians and they were in the process of testing the gyros. Our department was informed shortly thereafter that the test procedure for testing the run up to speed of each gyro independently was faulty since the gyros were burning out. They ran at something like 20,000 rpm.

I went down to that department to observe a test. The technician was to run each gyro up to speed in each direction. The procedure clearly showed the numbered steps. He was to first clock it's speed for a short period of time in one direction (polarity-controlled) and then simply shut if off, wait until the tachometer showed that it was fully stopped and then start it again in the opposite polarity. Normally, it would take three to four minutes for it to stop.

As I observed the test, I quickly determined the reason for the failure. I noticed that he didn't wait as called out in the test procedure. He watched the tachometer until it got up to speed as required and then he reversed the polarity, feeding reverse voltage in on the running gyro!

When I asked him why he hadn't followed the procedure (which was specifically written to protect the gyro from reverse voltage during test) he said "It takes too long".

Directions? Who needs them?
What kind of electronic technition would reverse a running gyro even if there were NO writen test procedures? Please tell us he got fired. Edwin

flylo
01-01-2012, 09:49 PM
I love the people who ask for advise because of some fix they've gotten themselves into & then get mad or upset when you tell them the truth. They really just want someone to agree with them or join them in a pity party.

KiddZimaHater
01-01-2012, 10:09 PM
HA!!
Follow directions....
Try teaching my 17 year old son how to scramble eggs.
Now, THAT was interesting.

mike4
01-01-2012, 10:42 PM
There are lots of reasons for wanting to modify instructions other than ignorance, laziness, or rebellion. Sometimes a procedure is called out using expensive (or obsolete) tooling, ingredients, or time the person may not have. It's only natural to either ask if a substitution can be made, or in the case where the instructor isn't present make a substitution thinking you can accomplish the same task.

On one hand it's disappointing to give what you thought were clear cut instructions and not have them followed. On the other hand you have to give some credit to a person who is innovative. You never know the "new way" might be superior to the traditional way of accomplishing the same task. The person you thought was costing you money by not following instructions could actually make you money by cutting the time and/or cost of producing a part.
I second that , numerous times when carrying out repairs on late model equipment which had only been released for a few months , the maintenance crews would find quicker ways to dismantle and repair assemblies than what the manuals showed . Often the manuals called for the complete disassembly of over half of a drive assembly when all that was required was to unbolt it from the frame slide it out enough to replace the seal with a later type and re-fit the drive , about three hours , manuals way two days and over $3k of seals gaskets and a lengthy adjustment procedure.
The reason for seal failure and substitution was that the originals were only specified for a maximum operational temp of 38 degrees celcius , our normal daytime temps were around 43 degrees for two or three weeks at a time and that was not inside the drive assemblies . these were measured at an average of 65 degrees , which caused the oem seals to soften and leak out the transmission fluid .
Our method of repair was adopted after our fleet was not failing as often as others in the same operational situation, and the manufacturers engineers didnt believe that field techs could think and solve problems .
Many are like that they cant think outside the box and can only blindly follow someone elses lead.
Michael

Evan
01-02-2012, 01:15 AM
I clearly recall a minor event when I was young. My father had purchased a high quality compass for the dashboard of our van and was installing it. After installation it needed calibrating so we headed to the Cotati airport/race track north of SF Bay. You could drive onto the tarmac and set up using the compass rose painted there. After some while fiddling around with the countermagnets without success he asked me to fetch the instructions in the box. When I removed them I noticed a slip of paper in the bottom of the box.

It said, in large print:


















IF THE COMPASS DOESN'T WORK
READ THE INSTRUCTIONS

38_Cal
01-02-2012, 01:38 AM
HA!!
Follow directions....
Try teaching my 17 year old son how to scramble eggs.
Now, THAT was interesting.
17 and only now learning to cook breakfast?! :eek: Better late than never, I guess...:D (Wife's a chef, all four kids learned young how to cook, bake, etc., some things from me, some from the chef. :D

David

oldtiffie
01-02-2012, 01:42 AM
Many people/authors etc. of technical material quite understand the issue they are writing about but they pretty well always write it for themselves instead of the reader/user.

What may be crystal clear to the writer is not necessarily as clear to the reader/user - but it should be else it has failed its use and purpose.

fixerdave
01-02-2012, 03:27 AM
Right at the start... Yes, if you pay employees to follow directions and they don't, that's a problem. If someone is suppose to follow an exact test procedure to confirm an expectation and not following the procedure, that's a problem. Put together, that's a big problem. But, having said that... I'm not good at following directions. That's why I don't have that kind of job.

I'm the kind of guy that, when absolutely necessary, will take in directions, think about them and how they apply to the problem at hand, and then start considering alternatives. Always have. I grew up in a family of people like that. I'll always remember asking my father why he was welding an American quarter on the end of the rocker arm for the power-takeoff planer truck we had running about the yard. Answer: because Canadian quarters had too much silver in them and wouldn't weld properly (dating myself there). He removed 3 cylinders from the inline 6 to save on fuel (didn't need that much power) and somehow the rocker arm passed the oil - and it was the size of a quarter. I guarantee that wasn't in any service manual. I expect there's a lot of "independent-thinking" people like that on this forum.

I can't cook... someone gave me a cookbook with no more than 4 ingredients per recipe... I generally substituted 3 out of 4. I mean, what's the difference between salmon and tuna... I have salmon... I'd have to go to the store for tuna. They're both fish... right? But... no matter what, I ate the results and didn't complain.

One point of note... I generally don't ask for directions, don't generally go looking for them unless I can't figure it out. Even then, I'm not asking for directions, I'm asking for reasons, for explanations, for pointers. I don't think I've ever felt so unsure of myself that I wanted detailed directions to do something. Give me the whys and I'll figure out the hows, thank you. If I come looking for help and you give me detailed directions... I'll try to be polite and listen all the way through, but I'll be thinking about the 'whys' behind them; probably won't follow them either. Some people are like that. Just be glad I don't work on a Boeing assembly line.

I will say that if I plan on deviating from directions, I generally know why and I'm not going to blame the creator of the instructions if it turns out badly. I'll also say that as I get older I'm starting to have a little more respect for the engineers that designed the things I'm not following directions to repair. A little less of "why did those idiots do that" and a little more "okay, why is it that way... what am I missing here?" But, you know, sometimes the design engineers are just wrong... and, judging by the cars I've owned, a lot of them worked at Ford :rolleyes: Okay, maybe I'll be charitable and say those design engineers were being too limited by cost to not put the freaking starter in the way of EVERYTHING you'd ever have to take off the car, and then have one starter bolt that took an hour to remove while being a contortionist - but I digress.

David...

P.S. I so, so hated that car.

Boostinjdm
01-02-2012, 03:49 AM
Okay, maybe I'll be charitable and say those design engineers were being too limited by cost to not put the freaking starter in the way of EVERYTHING you'd ever have to take off the car, and then have one starter bolt that took an hour to remove while being a contortionist - but I digress.


You ever seen the starter in a V8 Aurora? Probably not unless you needed to replace it. Damn engineers put the thing in the valley under the intake manifold.

jugs
01-02-2012, 04:12 AM
You ever seen the starter in a V8 Aurora? Probably not unless you needed to replace it. Damn engineers put the thing in the valley under the intake manifold.

They're NOT practical engineers, they are designers, interested in form not function :mad:

garagemark
01-02-2012, 07:12 AM
I have found that automobile manuals are flat out wrong many many times. I've troubleshot wiring issues several times that don't match the book. And oftentimes the manual will have you take way more things apart than needed to do what you are doing. The weekend warrior may need to follow directions to the 'T', but, somewhat like Dave, I will look for a better way... within reason.

Some instructions are also foolish. I have been hanging new interior doors in my whole hose this weekend, and have to cut in the new locksets. The instructions call for a 1" hole in the door edge for the latch pin assembly. But while test drilling the hole in scrap it became super clear that, even after routing the latch plate in, part of the hole would be visible on the door edge. Well, a quick trip to Woodcraft and a new 7/8" bit purchase, and now it looks professional. The directions were not exactly wrong, but they were foolish.

I can usually distinguish between directions that COULD be modified and instructions that just cannot be altered. Cooking is one of those things that, if not done to directions, will alter the outcome. You may like it, but it won't be what you thought it'd be.

I guess the bottom line is to use directions as a guide, and know your own limitations. If you know nothing about the process, you'd be well off to follow instructions closely. But if you know something about what you are doing, use directions as a guide and alter them as you know you can.

Mark

Black Forest
01-02-2012, 07:37 AM
Ikea assembly instructions are usually pretty good. On the times that I have tried to be macho and put something together my wife bought from Ikea without reading the instructions first it usually ended in my needing to disassembe to some degree to get a part to fit. Now I just read the instructions and follow them exactly.

Anyone who works for me better follow my instructions or they don't work for me for long. Suggestions I will consider if I am there. If I am not there they better damn well do it the way I tell them to do it! If they want to discuss it later that is OK.

We have several kilometers of electric fence. I had one man that just eyeballed the location of the insulators on the wooden posts. I had furnished him a stick clearly marked with the heights of the insulators.

After he built 1200 meters of six strand single wire fence I had a look. The insulators were off by as much as 2 inches up and down. He got the pleasure of taking the fence down and locating the insulators exactly. I had told him I wanted the insulators exactly on the mark. He complained about having to redo the fence. He told me the sheep didn't mind the wavy fence!!! When he finished the fence he needed a new job.

SGW
01-02-2012, 08:21 AM
In this forum I often read a post in which somebody wants to know if such-and-such oil can be used in place of the oil the machine manufacturer specifies. There seems to be a great reluctance on the part of some to use way oil when the specs call for way oil, or #20 machine oil when the specs call for #20 machine oil. Why is that? The correct oil may even be cheaper than what they want to substitute.

Like gnm109 (post #7) I was a technical writer, in my case for about 30 years. Writing good documentation is difficult. I tried very hard to 1. thoroughly understand what I was writing about and 2. write instructions based on the assumption that the reader knew X amount about it, X varying depending on the intended audience. Generally I assumed that X equaled about zero. That was fine for those who did know nothing about the topic, but it tended to frustrate those readers already familiar with the subject. Developers reviewing the documentation would tell me, "You don't need to tell them that!" I would reply, "Well, they aren't you" and usually leave whatever it was in the manual, assuming there would be somebody out there who did need me to tell them that.

Of course, the majority of the intended audience never read the directions anyway, and would call the support line asking how to do something that was spelled out in excruciating step-by-step detail in the manual. RTFM was often the response, expressed in more diplomatic terms.

Lew Hartswick
01-02-2012, 10:53 AM
A resurrected thread: :-) As a "once upon a time" engineer who
designed the circuits and had to describe to the "tec writer" how it
worked for the manual (military equipment) it is interesting to hear
of the experiences of others in the racket. :-)
...Lew...

jdunmyer
01-02-2012, 07:47 PM
I don't remember what machine/device it was, but I once opened a box and just inside the flaps was a paper, 8 1/2 X 11, that said in large letters:


STOP!!

Please try it our way first!!

gnm109
01-02-2012, 08:57 PM
What kind of electronic technition would reverse a running gyro even if there were NO writen test procedures? Please tell us he got fired. Edwin


Hi, This is an old thread that got revived. No, I doubt that they fired the fellow....he was probably promoted. LOL.

It was at Litton Gidance and Contol Systems Division. AFAIK, they are no longer in business having been bought up by Grumman Aerospace long ago. I suspect that that fellow helped out by ruining other expensive equipment after I left the company. :)