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Bulletin forced to drop Vista, gets new home

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

A rare thing took place recently at Bulletin headquarters. The paper received a new digital home, and we’re slowly getting used to it.

Back in the old days, the paper had many homes as it traveled through the different phases of production. At my first newspaper job, we wrote our stories on floppy disks that crashed a lot and lost stories. We became very good at rewriting on deadline.

The floppy then traveled to its next home at the editor’s desk, and then to composing and paste-up and to printing press. The press is still in the picture, otherwise the paper could not get printed. But the rest of the process takes place inside a computer.

That’s how we produce the paper each week - with one main computer. It does everything, and makes it a lot easier to put the paper out than when we had to paste everything up on layout paper and take a picture of it.

It’s not really a big computer, either, just a regular laptop. I switched to laptops as soon as they were able to handle the memory requirements we need for production. That was many, many years ago. Looking back, I can’t believe I worked on those low-capacity machines. But back in those days, they were top of the line.

Anyway, each time the paper gets a new home, I get to spend hours on-end preparing that home before The Bulletin can move in. And then, once the move is done, there are some compatibility issues, and I always forget about a few programs that we cannot do without. Then there are all those settings that need to be adjusted.

I don’t want to mess with it too often. When a computer set-up works, I ride it until the wheels fall off.
Well, recently, they did. I have been using laptops with the Microsoft Vista operating system, which is so old that Microsoft and just about everyone else have stopped supporting it. That means no updates, including no security updates.

Then programs that use the Vista system, like web browsers, lose their support. When Google Chrome dropped it, I switched to Firefox. But a few months later, Firefox announced that it was also dropping Vista.

Vista has always received its fair share of hate. It was released in January 2007 and replaced the very well-liked and incredibly successful Windows XP. Whatever XP did right, Vista did wrong. But for The Bulletin, it was doing just fine.

I jumped on the Vista bandwagon and rode it all the way to the very end of its lifespan. That’s the way I usually am. I get the most out of a product. I drive my cars “into the ground,” except I make sure with proper maintenance that they never reach the ground.

That’s kind of a Catch-22 - to do something to reach a goal - and at the same time also doing something to make sure the goal is never reached. As far as I was concerned, the Vista wheels were still on until Microsoft and the rest of the gang started taking them off.

I saw in Vista what many others saw in XP - a perfectly good operating system. Except this one had a bad reputation right out of the gate. The system was resented because many saw it as a Microsoft money grab, a forced upgrade from an operating system that had become the workhorse of the PC world.

Meanwhile, Apple users were laughing at how the rest of us were getting soaked with all these new operating systems that really were not all that different from the old ones. So, while PC users were jumping from system to system, I was riding the Vista horse and putting out papers with it.

But I was finally forced to make a move. For now, The Bulletin is doing well in its shiny Windows 10 home, enjoying the new fancy digs, although still missing a few bells and whistles, which is really irritating.

I hate moving, both the physical and digital kind, so I hope it won’t be necessary to do this again for a while. But, judging from how long I stood by Vista - 10 years is an eternity in the digital world - this may just be the final move.