#%$#%&%!! Computers!

Train City is run by computers no doubt. Actually that is the secret to our success. As they say, when computers work, things are great, when they don't, things are hell! Well, I think we have some little demons running around in our computers. But it isn't just our in-house computers, but our internet servers which is scary.

Just to give you an idea of what computers do for us: They run our point of sales programs (that I myself wrote), they control our inventory, they help us communicate with our customers, they help me control my money, they run our auction site and this site, they help us take pictures for our auctions, they help me write this article, they help me produce ads for the magazines, they help me keep track of my golf scores, they help me keep track of my investments, they allow me to make investments, they tell me how much money I am losing (or on occasion making!), they keep track of where our inventory is, they help me find new customers, they make my lunch and supper..... OK, maybe they don't do that, but I think I could go on and on about what computers do for us. Without them I am not even functioning!

Now some wise people in business a long time decided they want absolutely nothing to do with computers. Those are the people I envy right now. Their lives are simple, they smile a lot, and their anxiety level has to be way below mine most of the time.

Sometimes I actually smile when there are no computer problems, but those special times are growing further and further apart as of late.

At any rate as of today all problems that we had experienced with choochooauctions.com are fixed, thank goodness!!

What happened was that we use an auction company who hosts our site. Without any notice at all on Saturday, October 6 at around 2 AM choochooauctions.com went down. It was down until the next day, and I had no idea why. As a matter of fact I had no clue until another auction site I had emailed told me that the company had been sold to another company. Of course our site was down for much of that week. What really got me mad was that we had to change our ip addresses which takes 24 to 48 hours. During this process the site is completely down.

To make things much worse was the fact that Phyllis our auction administrator had given her notice just before this all happened. And that week when the site was down was to be the new girl's training period.

Well I am happy to announce that Jean Beck has taken on the challenge and probably had one of the most bumpy first weeks in a new position in history!! She is doing great despite the problems, and will probably think she died and went to heaven when things go smoothly.

The computer problems had me so down that I forgot that business has been booming for us over the last month or so. This may be surprising, especially since 9/11, but it seems that any time we purchase a great collection like we did things go pretty good, and it is hard to keep things in perspective when the computers start acting up. Actually after thinking about it, I think I would rather have good business, and devilish computers all the time, except I don't think I'd be around to spend the money much longer.

This past week was the York show. I hope everyone who went had a great show. One of these days I'm going to take the plunge and visit. My friend Bob Zimmer has been encouraging me to go, and maybe next Spring would be a good time. But I definitely won't set up. My train show days of setting up and waiting for a buyer are over.

Five or ten years ago had you told me that it would be possible to do all business from Erie, Pa, I would have thought you were crazy.

And that is why I have to thank you guys for helping us survive here in Erie, Pa.

This poor old city is going through some tough times lately. We have had a number of businesses pull out. Why just last week International Paper announce it will be closing the second largest plant in Erie. And then to add insult to injury two days later US Airways announce it was pulling out it's jet service.

If I had to live on the local business, I would have been out of business a long time ago. Erie, Pa. has always been a tough town to make it in business. Why in the fifties they used to use Erie as a test market. They figured if it worked here, it would work anywhere else in the country.

It is still a nice town to live in though. I like it here except for Winters, and that is why I have thought many times of moving my business to a warmer climate! I still may do that sometime in the future.

I've been told my article about selling your train collection will be in the January edition of Classic Toy Trains. It has been such a long time since I wrote it, I can't remember what I said. That issue will be out in around a month, so please take a peek.

Well we are getting into the thick of things. Get those trains out and start playing with them. Gentlemen, start your engines!!!!!

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Revised 10/22/01
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