Tera, Tera, no time is a good time for goodbyes


I miss you already, baby. I hate to even have to write this letter but it’s out of my hands. They’re taking you away from me. You and I had our last fling Friday night but on Monday you’ll be gone and I’ll be forced to get to know someone else. Someone who has already been needlessly cruel to me, someone who is unfailingly tedious, someone who is inexplicably difficult to understand while simultaneously being idiotic. You know who I’m talking about, don’t you? That’s right. Saxo.

It didn’t have to be this way. You and I are star-crossed lovers, in a way. No one in power understood our love and they wouldn’t listen when we told them how perfect we were for one another. They made a decision to rip us apart for the good of the Scripps family. I hope you don’t think it’s your fault. Because you’re beautiful, Tera. You’re sophisticated and simple, but not in the way that means dumb. In the way that means easygoing, you know?

Tera, I want to apologize for all those times I got angry with you. I didn’t realize just how benign your quirks were until I met Saxo and all his issues. He’s a bit on the crashy side, so I’m pretty jittery around him. And did you know he doesn’t even let me place a jump if someone has a story open? I mean, he just won’t budge, even if we’re in a rush on deadline and it would be helpful to let someone edit a story while I’m laying it out.

And I don’t know if you’ve heard about this, but the elements on his pages don’t update automatically, even if you close and re-open them. Not even jumps! So some editor can chop a story in half and, if I had already put it on a page, I would never, ever know that its content had changed until I highlighted it, went to the MWC menu and clicked “update box.” I mean, that’s scary, right? To withhold that kind of information from me and assume that every editor is going to come tell me when they’ve made any kind of change? Or to just assume that every designer is going to be constantly manually updating every box? It was so amazing and simple and sweet that you would just automatically update the elements on my pages if someone made a change to them. I didn’t have to do anything. You just took care of it and it allowed me to quickly and fluidly adjust to content changes. Tera, I never thanked you for that. I was a fool. A fool!

Your quirks kind of seem cute, now that I think about it. Like how every time I’d hit shift + F under a picture to make a cutline, and you’d make the last story I had touched change formats, so that I’d have to go hunt down that story and change its format back. It was like a little game of hide and seek we played. Or like how sometimes I’d have to try to place a jump line, like, three times before it would take. I thought that was really annoying until I accidentally deleted a jump line using Saxo. I couldn’t figure out where it went or how to get it back, and it wouldn’t let me make a new one. So I had to manually build one. That took me fifteen minutes to figure out, and I had to have my boss help me. It was humiliating. And do you know what Saxo did then, as if to rub it in? Froze up for a few minutes and made me just sit there and think about what had happened. He kept doing that all night long. I kind of worry about his health a little bit.

And I worry about his memory. I mean, I have a lot of trouble getting him to find where I have put things. You, of course, had a superfast keyword search function and I could find nearly anything as long as I could manage a decent keyword. Plus I could just search for a slug with a certain date in it or section prefix. Saxo thinks that is silly. He prefers that I search by toggling different sets of eight or so parameters on and off. Sometimes things I make just disappear into the ether and I can’t seem to get him to help me find them. Do you think he is hiding things from me on purpose? Like it’s some sort of weird power play? Or do you think he’s just kind of an idiot?

Tera, I don’t want to embarrass you, but you are really the best CMS I have ever been with. I haven’t been with THAT many, jeez! But I’ve been with enough to know that some are clearly better than others, and some are built in a way that really just works better for publishing daily deadline-driven print media. Here’s a good example: You know how, when anyone would write a story in Ted (your writing/editing program), the copy would automatically generate in the correct body copy font, with the correct leading and optimized kerning and H&J, and how extra spaces between periods and paragraphs would be ignored unless you specifically told the program to honor them? That way, if someone copied and pasted from some random document into our system, it would automatically be styled correctly with minimal effort on our part? Yeah, Saxo thinks that is dumb. So anything we copy and paste into Saxo looks how it was copied and pasted, and we have to go through it and manually remove extra spaces and apply the bodycopy style. And there’s no cleanup script like you have, no button to push to remove double hyphens and turn them to em dashes or turn straight quotes to curly quotes. It’s like Saxo WANTS me to screw up and look stupid. If he really loved me, why would he want that?

Tera, I’m scared. My short relationship with Saxo so far has been nothing short of a nightmare. He’s belligerent, constantly beeping angrily at me and bombarding me with these long, prison-letter-crazy error messages. He is persnickety, crotchety, he doesn’t respond well to change, and he moves so slowly that I fear for the sanctity of our deadlines. But most of all I fear for my sanity. Because every time I try to do something simple and it takes me an extra six clicks and a couple of superfluous drags, I am going to think of you and how easy you made my job.

I miss you already. I hope we can rendezvous again some day.


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