I did a writing exercise earlier today with the instructions “to rewrite a technical manual in a conversational style”. The purpose was to include some features of rhetoric (which I don’t know if I accomplished or not) but hopefully it stands alone as a bit of light-hearted humour and my take on the technical instructions I received with my new Kindle (pictured below).
Take your tablet out of the box – carefully now, you might catch a button and turn it on too soon – and lay it to one side. If you have a look at the top of the screen – that’s as it is looking at you, not where you have to tilt the machine – you can see the lens for the camera. This model (the newest version) has a second camera at the back. Take care not to put your fingers over this one; fingers are the bane of any tablet-user’s life, fingers are the instruments of the devil for leaving prints everywhere. Tilt the tablet to the side – the right not the left – and you will see a row of buttons. A row of buttons is rare these days, not usually seen on modern technology, but very useful here as this is principally a digital reading machine, not a computer.
Taking a firm hold of the tablet (not so hard you bend it) apply pressure to the ‘on’ button, which you will find on the top edge of the device. After a few moments, during which you will suspect you have broken it, a logo for ‘Kindle Fire’ will appear on the screen. Deepest joy, you have not broken it with excessive care, and your Kindle tablet is almost ready for setting up.
Take the finger of your hand (or the hand of a conveniently placed child if there is one – they do get everywhere and could probably operate this device without ever clapping eyes on an instruction manual) and sweep it gently up the length of the screen. Take care to sweep the screen area, not the back of your device, or else it will not perform according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Your device will now be lit up with pretty colours, not the dull, uninviting black it was in the box.
It gets a bit complicated now. If you have ever used a Kindle device before you will find your way around this one easy enough, but if this is your first foray into digitised media then we recommend you hand it straight to the nearest three-year old (reusing the one from the “sweep screen” instruction above is optional) who will set you up with Amazon Prime, Netflix, Google +, Candy Crush and BabeStation faster than it would take you to read these instructions.
Good luck with your new purchase. We at Amazon will be glad to provide you with more books than your bookshelves at home could ever hold – why else have a Kindle to carry them all around with you? – and we will be glad to throw up adverts for new books on your home-screen every time you pick your device up. Naturally, we will honour any (and all) in-game purchases your chosen three-year old makes in any (and all) sessions of Candy Crush and Minecraft, not to mention the ones you don’t even know they have downloaded – see comment about Minecraft.
For further technical advice, such as how to charge your device, how to get rid of the annoying little air bubbles under your screen protector or the age old ‘why isn’t it coming on?’ question, please consult your handiest sulky teenager who will be happy to tut and strop whilst uttering the magic words ‘f’god’s sake’ at ten second intervals. To remove this feature, simply remind your delightful teen that it wasn’t that long ago you were teaching them how to wipe their own bottom and hold a spoon.