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Just count to ten
Marg-Ins 5-15-24

To say we’ve been learning some lessons in patience around here would probably be the understatement of the year.

“Around here” would be our office, my second home (honestly, sometimes it seems I spend more time here than I actually do at home) as we have been increasingly technology-challenged in the past few weeks.

Many times, instead of throwing something at the computer or threatening to just knock it off my desk, I have had to step back, breathe and count to ten.

It’s the old saying where you don’t realize how much you depend on something until it’s not there anymore. And that can easily be multiplied when it comes to computers and servers and being in contact with employees in our other offices.

To explain, we have Oakdale, Riverbank, Escalon, Manteca, Turlock and Ceres newspapers in our 209 Multimedia group. Offices are in Oakdale, Manteca and Turlock, plus lots of people still work remotely. The people I work with each week to lay out the pages for Oakdale, Riverbank and Escalon are based out of the Manteca office. Since I am in Oakdale, we use our server to send pages back and forth, allowing me to check headlines, story placement, make sure the correct ads are in and on the right pages, etc., etc.

All the minutiae that goes on behind the scenes each week.

Well, one recent Tuesday – deadline day for Oakdale and Riverbank – our Oakdale server decided it was done. Just did not want to show up to work, did not want to connect me with my fellow employees in Manteca; it basically just decided to quit in the middle of the day.

Of course, my instant reaction was panic. I mean, we can’t stop the presses, the news must go on.

A quick call to our guy within the company who handles much of our technology trouble and he was able to create a back door for me, an emergency fix that allowed me to take a computer shortcut into a different server in Manteca. And while that was effective in letting the layout people and myself continue to communicate, it didn’t fix our server here in Oakdale. Which is where a lot of our ‘stuff’ is that we utilize on an incredibly frequent basis.

Long story short, it works for laying out the pages; they can see what I put in, I can see what they send back; the paper gets done.

But some other parts of the equation, this emergency fix didn’t solve and so we are doing some things very old school. Like manually entering in the ad numbers, names, the size of the ad and what page it goes on. Normally, it’s something I would pull off the server and spend 10 to 15 minutes dropping the ads on and sending the pages off. Manual input versus computer input exponentially lengthens the time frame.

But, patience.

Some of the printers here were also connected to that Oakdale server so our tech guy set up a shortcut for us to use until our server can either be revived, if that’s possible, or replaced.

It has kind of been a reminder not to take anything for granted. Yes, the server is pretty ancient and it survived the big move from South Third Avenue to West F Street when we relocated so I guess I can cut it a little slack. But I really hope it comes back like the Six Million Dollar Man: better, stronger, faster. (Sorry, for those unaware, a reference to a long-ago TV show about a man put back together with bionic parts.) And, on the bright side, the coffeemaker still works and the toilets still flush.


Marg Jackson is editor of The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at or by calling 209-847-3021.