Very quickly, before we delve into our "Instructions for Joy," I want to mention that this coming Tuesday (that's August 17th) we will be hosting an SMD Soldering Class. Sign up for the class if you are interested in checking out SparkFun and learning how to solder the much-maligned surface mount components. You can do it, we swear! Ok, onward!
I read a lot of manuals. Any (good) electronics enthusiast does and anyone who has come across a vague or poorly-written manual knows it can throw a sedan-sized wrench into any development process. The worst are the manuals that are poorly translated from another language. One vague sentence can really ruin an afternoon's work or even cause project-ending frustration.
Sometimes, however, there are those manuals with details or mistranslations that end up being flat out hilarious. At SparkFun we have come across a few such manuals in the past few weeks and felt the need to share them with you. There are three. The first two are your standard funnier-than-average mistranslations. The third, however, is something that we've never encountered before: a product manual for a commercial product that is purposely funny. That's right, these guys did what I wanted to do in every science lab writeup and user manual I've ever written - they filled it with jokes. So, without further ado...
This particular manual came with the over-sized RC car that our CEO Nathan used to build his Autonomous Vehicle.
It's designed to carry, you guessed it, a baby (or any biped under 50 pounds in weight). You can honk the horn, blink the lights, and press a button that plays high-pitched Chinese pop music if that's the sort of thing your baby is into. It's simple enough to figure out without the instructions, but by not reading them you miss out on some translations that were obviously done by getting BabelFish drunk. Here are some of the greatest hits:
This phrase brings me multiple joys.
So it's either hot because it's working or it's hot because it's not. Got it. Either way keep a fire extinguisher around.
Sad battery = No hugs. Check.
Not joy?!...hmm... that makes me think of...
Sounds like a challenge.
Oh now you tell me.
The second bit of instructions is short but sweet. It's from a soldering iron. Most of the directions are well-written, but if you look close you find this little gem:
Fun! I'll keep this right next to my charging musical baby carrier.
The last manual is from a laser temperature sensor that we sell. It's made by a company in Colorado called Pro Exotics. They developed it to quickly and accurately measure the temperature of reptile terrariums. A couple of weeks ago I was current-testing a chip (read: trying to blow it up) and I wanted to see a temperature curve. I pulled one of the temp sensors off the shelf and immediately threw the directions into the trash. I soon realized, however, that I didn't know how to make the device switch from Celsius to Fahrenheit, so I dug up the instructions. I then proceeded to laugh non-stop for an entire hour. I had a tough time actually figuring out how to change the units because by the time I got to that section of the manual I was laughing too hard to concentrate. For this manual, I didn't go through and pull out the good parts, I'll just let you read through it. Trust me, it's worth it. Submitted for your approval, The Pro Exotics PE-2 Temp Gun Operating Instructions: