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Color me surprised

November 14, 2008 - Diane Speer
After many years of operating on a Mac-based computer system, The Alpena News this week switched over to a PC-system in the newsroom. Color me surprised. I, along with all my co-workers, weren’t expecting the installation process to go smoothly, so we were pleasantly surprised when the new system went up without a hitch. That’s due in large part to Bruce Harkness of Martins Ferry, Ohio, who is considered our parent company’s computer guru. I first met him 30 years ago, when I was a young reporter working for the Wheeling Intelligencer. He, too, was just starting out with Ogden Newspapers.

Fast forward all these years later, and Bruce currently provides the invaluable service of keeping computer systems at our company’s 50-some newspapers running smoothly. He spent four days with us here in Alpena this week, and clearly he knows what he is doing. All of us here in the newsroom are happy campers to have a system that now runs much more efficiently and gives us greater capabilities - and that went up without much of a hiccup.

Of course, some of us are still learning the little nuances of our new system. Take moi, for instance! Earlier today, I was writing a preview story for Thunder Bay Theatre’s Christmas show that opens next week, when the ad layout department interrupted me with pressing questions about the upcoming Holiday Desserts Cookbook. I immediately quit working on the screen I was engaged in while writing the TBT story and switched to my recipes folder without having saved my nearly half-completed theatre story. Big mistake!

It has been literally years since I’ve lost a story due to carelessly not saving it right, but with the new system, the familiar established routine has been replaced with a routine I’m still developing. Next time I will hit that “yes” I want to save button as opposed to the “no” one. I don’t expect to make the same very foolish mistake again any time soon, since recreating a story again from scratch is never a fun proposition.

An hour or so later, the preview story was completely re-done and the snafu didn’t in any way cloud my positive opinion of our new system. So here’s to a smooth installation process - and to hopes for no more “computer operator errors."


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