Technological change galore

Published 9:48 am Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ever wonder what our lives were like before all this modern technology?

As I type this we’re cruising along U.S. 231 on our way to Auburn to watch a football game. I’m trying to ignore the purple and gold flags flying from the windows and the pompons hanging out the tailgate, focusing instead on the small screen in front of me. Assuming all goes as planned, and the motion sickness stays at bay, when we get to Auburn I’ll flip this document to a jump drive, load it onto another laptop with a wireless card and send it back to the Messenger, all before deadline …

That is, if all goes as planned!

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And, well, with technology, sometimes that’s out of our control.

We learned that lesson Friday night, as we anxiously awaited the launch of our redesigned Web site. For two years, we’ve talked about the switch to a new platform; for several months we’ve been working on the details. And at 7 p.m. Friday, the new site was supposed to “go live.”

It may take as much as 30 minutes, the IT guys warned, cautioning us against needless worry. But 8 p.m. came and went; so did 9 p.m. By 9:30 p.m., I was worried. “I can see it on my end,” said a web developer in Tuscaloosa. “It may take a little bit longer for your Internet service provider to recognize the switch.”

As my mother would say, “a watched pot never boils.” But I watched anyway, well past midnight. And I checked again at 4:30 a.m. … still not seeing the new site on my computer. At 6:30 a.m., I sent emails. By 7:30 a.m., I was making phone calls.

The glitch, it seems, stems from the system used by servers connecting to the Web. “All of this is because the Internet is still trying to figure out the change that happened,” our site developer wrote. “Some people in your town may be able to see it. Others haven’t caught up yet. And, at this point, it is completely out of our control when the world figures everything out.”

Well, by midday Saturday I think Pike County – if not the whole world – had figured things out and, hopefully, our readers could see the “new” site.


We’re excited about the changes you’ll see when you log into now. In redesigning and switching our platform, we’ve increased the functionality of our site and the ability to interact with online readers. The look is different – a bit cleaner, more modern and, we hope, easier to read, whether you’re searching for news or advertising information. But some things will be familiar – the commitment to coverage of the people, events and issues that are important to the people of Pike County remains the same. Now, though, You can easily comment on a story, submit a letter to the editor, submit an item for the datebook, search out stories from your favorite local sports team at the click of a button … and more.

And, with the addition of our partner site,, you can upload your favorite photos to our community’s new, free online photo galleries. This site is a direct outgrowth of the popular photo galleries we launched this summer. In addition to the photos we’ll continue to take at events and activities throughout Pike County, we’re encouraging each of you to share your photos through the “You Picture” section of the site. The process is simple – my tech-savvy 14-year-old mastered in a matter of minutes and has taught several of us how to use the site, as well. And you can upload most anything you take pictures of now, from dance recitals to classroom activities, birthday parties and family gatherings, new babies and new puppies … anything you’d like to share with friends and family.

Of course, technology is simply a tool we use and, since perfection is reserved for God alone, we have to admit from the start that we won’t be perfect. Our new Web sites are still under development in some ways. There’s no doubt we’ve missed a link that doesn’t work properly, or a page that needs something added. And, we know that our online archives from the past several years will not be available for several weeks, due to a change in platforms and servers.

So, as we learned Friday night, patience is a necessity.

Meanwhile, please let me know what you think of our new sites; I’m looking forward to your suggestions on what we can do to continue to grow and develop our Web sites.

Stacy Graning is publisher of The Messenger. She can be reached via email at