“When all else fails,” a wag once observed about using high tech gear, “read the instructions.”
Yes, it’s getting very hard to keep up with all the technology we haul around in our camera bags these days. To ferret out the answers to some of the issues I have to figure out on a new camera, audio recorder, wireless microphone, speedlight, flash remote system, or camcorder, I often have to refer to the instruction books.
But who wants to carry around a 2 pound brick of poorly written, but usually informative paper in his or her bag? And having them back home or at the hotel or even as PDFs on your laptop isn’t going to help you when you desperately need an answer to solve a problem in the field.
What’s a body to do?
Well, if you usually carry an iPhone or an iPod Touch in your pocket or on your belt, you’ve got the answer right there. You can install a $5 app that lets you copy and read PDFs (and all sorts of other word processing files), even large ones.
It’s called Air Sharing Pro (there’s a lite version for free, but it doesn’t have all the features) and it essentially turns your iPhone or iPod Touch into a mountable disk on your desktop, and includes document reading capability for PDFs and a long host of other word-processing apps. It also lets you access remote servers like MobileMe and Bonjour.
The great thing is you bypass iTunes and the annoying synch thing and just drag and drop the PDFs of your instruction manuals right into the program. And voila!
There they are, all beautifully-formatted and searchable. Now, when I have to switch radio frequencies on my wireless mic, I no longer have to punch at buttons blindly…I just grab the iPod Touch and look it up.
Now, if someone would just invent an app to make those instructional manuals lively and well written….that would be true genius!