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John Howell’s Column 11-16-07

Computers commensurate with creative staff minds

If you are reading these lines it means that this newspaper staff has successfully published its first edition using upgraded computers and software.

It is the product of dedicated staff members who have put in many long hours to learn the new while continuing to publish our own newspapers and install the new while publishing those of our regular printing customers. Our staff members who are not directly involved in the transition have helped by their patience.

The hours have been a curious mixture of “oohs,” “aahs,”  and uttered expletives. The former as we have seen the speed and creative potential of the new equipment, the latter as keyboard shortcuts long memorized now produce surprising, unexpected results.

It will surprise me if readers will see any improvements with this edition. If fact, the opposite may be true. This press day has been mostly involved with getting the paper out with less regard than usual for quality of content.

But watch what follows in coming weeks. The people here are about to be unleashed with tools commensurate with their creative abilities and imaginations.

Two grown long in tooth around here date back to days when certain type for this newspaper was set by hand much the same way as it had been since movable type was invented by Gutenburg in the 1440s. We have seen transition from hot type to cold type, phototype and more than anybody but old goats want to hear about in the first place.

We’ve also shared several good old memories of the folks who were here struggling through those earlier transitions, holding the antiquated machinery and technology together long enough to implement its new replacement.

Sooner than we realize, this long week will be cataloged among those older memories. We’ll think back and laugh about this also.

But not yet.