Archive for Thursday, September 15, 2005

Computer errors are self-inflicted

September 15, 2005

Absolutely, this has just been one of those weeks. It's been too much Katrina, too many computers and too little time. But, there has been an up side. That's football.

But, when push comes to shove, it's mostly computers. The Signal underwent a complete computer system change over Thursday and Friday. We've been plugging along from the beginning with a patchwork system and it's done the job. But, my computer was seven years old. That's pushing the technology edge too far. It was tired and worn out.

So, several months ago, the IT people said it was time for me to get a new computer. I was thrilled. I continued on with my old faithful G3, waiting patiently for that day when the new one would arrive.

I was sweet and gentle with it, never cussing it like I wanted to for fear it would lock up for good and I'd be in trouble. I knew help was on the way.

But, when I found out a month ago that it wasn't just my computer that would be replaced, but the whole system, I about fell over. A new computer for everyone and a server to run along with them separately and how it should be. I couldn't believe it.

I'd been down the complete computer system overhaul road many years ago while working for a daily newspaper. I knew it was trouble. I knew it was big trouble. No matter what you plan for, no matter how you try to think of everything, you don't.

So, it was with more than a little fear I was gripped with when the IT dude, Branham Singleton, walked in the Signal's door last week with a whole bevy of boxes. There were computers and then there was this huge thing. It was a printer. I still can't get over it. I'm telling you, this box is big enough to house the homeless.

But, Branham went about his business, installing the server first and then one by one our old computers had the reams of valuable "data" and what-not moved to the server. Our new computers were installed and the process was reversed.

We tried the computers out, we did this, we did that, trying to replicate what a Wednesday production day would be like. No matter how you try to prepare, it doesn't work.

Little things crop up and so do big ones. If your pictures in this week's Signal don't quite look as sharp as usual, that's why. I'm not going to begin to try and explain that mess. It will take awhile.

Everything was different and took time to get used to. I took Branham to lunch Friday when he was almost done and we had a great chat. He's a western Kansas boy, too. We hit it off. Then, he asked me if I like football. I live for football and we were bonded even more.

That helped when I called him desperately Wednesday. I couldn't get the dang system to work. I wasn't doing something right. I pleaded with him to talk me off the ledge. He did. Yes, it was something simple.

It's a rule of computers. No matter how fancy, no matter how good they are, it comes down to one problem. That's operator error.

Guilty as charged. And, I hope by some miracle you've received your Signal today. Because if you did, the system worked. Believe me, it was a miracle.

Now to fix that operator error.

That will be painful. But, watching the Chiefs won't be. Ah, up side.

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