This week has been eventful. I am lacking in sleep. Let the fun begin.
Monday, the new equipment upgrades for the newspaper office all arrived. Horray! I got two new Mac Minis set up for the reporters in editorial, then spent the next few days getting my own new iMac set up- it's a 27" monster. I mean, really, it's huge. Once I got it on my desk, I actually had to move it about a foot back from where my old computer used to sit, because I was getting a headache. I can't use my reading glasses with it. But I'm happy- it's fast and beautiful.
Not so in love with Mac OsX 10.7 Lion. Apple continues to lock down and simplify their operating system, which they have every right to do, but it causes problems. I had to turn to the terminal and instructions I googled to make formerly visible folders that were now invisible visible again, just to restore my email. I'm still in the process of configuring. QuarkXpress 9 is lovely, although the editorial department is facing a learning curve. They upgraded from Quark 7. I upgraded from Quark 8, which was significantly different from 7. But they'll get the hang of it. For some reason, Quark 9 crashes every time I quit the program on my new machine, and it crashes every time editorial tries to do a spellcheck on their machine. But in time, I think all problems will be surmounted.
One of my coworkers asked me if I was excited that the equipment was finally here. I told him it was more like winning a grueling marathon- I was more happy that it was over than excited that I'd won.
Wednesday, we had a demonstration of how our newspaper's new website will work. We were shown how columns would be uploaded, as well as PDFs of our paper for subscribers. It was then that questions started forming in my mind that led to the quick post earlier this week- I'm not sure who owns my columns.
Every column I have ever written for the paper has been written on my own time, outside of work, on my own equipment. I was not hired as a writer at the paper; my job description (not that I've ever seen one, to be honest) most likely does not include "writing" as one of my duties; and I have never been paid extra for my column submissions. From my point of view, I offered them to the paper for first-publication rights, but I retained ownership and copyright and all further publication rights. However- none of this was ever discussed with either the editor or the publisher. And now the issue of internet publication has surfaced.
The masthead for the Lander Journal says that all contents are copyright The Lander Journal. All of my columns have already been published online, by myself. If they go up on the Journal's website, they'll be showing an additional copyright for the Journal, which is not what I had in mind.
It's not that I think that my columns bring readers to the paper; they're a short, monthly diversion that some people find humorous. Yet, it was never my intention to hand them over wholesale, especially without any compensation.
I'm not trying to cause trouble; I'm trying to prevent trouble further down the road. I realize in hindsight that this is something that should have been hammered out at the start, but at the time, the editor was out of town, and it was just a one-time thing, so we thought, that would never go any further.
Here's the solution I intend to propose to my editor, after I explain my concerns to her: I'll allow my columns to go up on the website, but I want them to each be followed with a copyright notice under _my_ name. I'm pretty sure that will protect me. I know I should also get it in writing, and maybe I'll approach that as well, I'm not sure. I don't want it to blow up into some sort of fight for ownership, that's for sure. And I don't think that it will.
Moving on ...
Universe in the Red was packaged up and emailed off to the author on Sunday, I believe (this week is a little blurry). I was a little trepidatious when I sent it, because it was a project that the author knew nothing about ... I'm not going to reveal who the author is (I'll leave that up to her/him to decide), but he/she was surprised and pleased by the book layout, which made the effort worthwhile. It's rare that I'm able to put my skills to use in a way that creates something nice for someone else, but I pulled it off this time, and I'm glad.
Today, I had been home and asleep for about 45 minutes when the paper woke me up with a problem. Seems Quark had crashed while they were trying to do a spellcheck (hence the discovery of the issue) and when it did, it wiped out all of the saved output styles they needed to create their page PDF files. I remoted in and fixed the issue in about 10 minutes, then when back to bed ... only for the phone to ring just as I was about to drift off. It was my dad, so I answered. I'm glad I did- he was calling to let me know he'd been released from the hospital yesterday, and he sounded great! Which is nice, considering last weekend a cousin of my mother called me. She lives in the same state as I, and is the closest relative I have geographically, although if I ever met her, I can't tell you when.
She worked for seven years in a cancer ward as a nurse, and she was calling me to tell me that I needed to go home and visit my father before it was too late, because she felt he had given up, and didn't have much time left.
Now, the last time I'd talked to him, he'd told me he hadn't given up, and she admitted she was just basing this surmise on her past conversations with him and how he sounded now, not on anything he had said. And while I appreciated her concern, I wasn't going to rush into anything. However, I did start looking at plane tickets, and I called and talked to my brother to see what he thought. He didn't think I should rush into anything, but we agreed that a visit in May wouldn't be a bad idea.
So, it was nice to hear that my dad was doing better. He did have some bad news for me, however. Princess, one of my mom's two dogs, a happy dustmop of a critter with terrible breathe made worse by her omnipresent smile, had to be put down this week. She had just gotten too old to take care of herself or eat properly. They buried her up by my mom's grave.
After my father called, I couldn't go back to sleep. I tried for an hour, then gave up and got up. Played a little Terraria and went out for taco pizza at Pizza Hut (I wake up with the weirdest cravings some times) and now ... here we are.