In "Every User Lies" at the excellent Coding Horror blog, Jeff Atwood refers in passing to the concept of the "active user" – the person who immediately runs the software without looking at the manual at all.
In my trying out of various softsynths (most notably the WayOutWare TimewARP 2600 and the GForce Oddity and impOSCar), I’ve found myself doing that – firing up Garageband, and opening the plugin in a track, then just fiddling with the presets. By this point I know quite well that doing this with an analog synth with a screenful of knobs and sliders is counterproductive, but I caught myself doing it anyway.
So I decided that if I was going to have any kind of a meaningful interaction with the plugins, I was going to have to work through the manuals and see what there was to learn, whether I decided to buy them or not – and to avoid wasting money on something that didn’t fit my headspace (and earspace). Continue reading Lying users and synth manuals