I look at it a different way. The directions should be considered as a tool in your toolbox. Depending on what task is at hand, you may or may not want to use the tool. For example, the instructions that come with a laptop computer aren't even worth the seconds it would take to read them. But what about the API specification for Java? That too is a type of "directions", and you would be a complete fool to write a program without them.
Back in the day, I worked with an outstanding programmer who refused to read development-system (or other) manuals. Reason: he wanted to play around with the product and user interface, to get a gut feel of what the development-system designers were thinking, how they appoached their design, what they set it up internally. Basically, he was trying to get into their heads. That way when he ran into a problem, he could figure out what was really happening and work-arounds. And the technique often worked.
NASA's Orion Flight Software Production Systems Manager Darrel G. Raines joins Planet Analog Editor Steve Taranovich and Embedded.com Editor Max Maxfield to talk about embedded flight software used in Orion Spacecraft, part of NASA's Mars mission. Live radio show and live chat. Get your questions ready.
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