Welcome to the White Mountain Publications Newsletter
June 20, 2022
I really didn't mean for it to take this long for an update. But here it is. Hope you like longer stories.
It was very busy this past year. In October the cash register we had from the time the store opened had a nervous breakdown and died. What does that look like? You punch in a number and sometimes it will appear on the screen and sometimes you get only part of it, or none of it. It doesn't behave the same way twice. Then it just plain doesn't light up at all.
We clearly had to replace it. After 2 weeks of trying to decipher acronyms and process standards, writing scripts that would let my computer work like a point of sale device (never quite mastered that one), I called my local office supply vendor who has actually been at the store and knew what I am talking about. He said he had one that might fit the bill. And it did. It's beautiful, programmable, fast. Slight problem: the program numbers go up to 3000 and no further. My BookID numbers go much higher, so after all these years, books need to be renumbered, then entered into the new register. Can't remember how many hours that took, still takes. Still have to tie-in and coordinate with the website.
In mid October the eleven-year-old accounting computer decides it has had enough. I manage to back up and save all the files. But now had to migrate over to the Linux (Ubuntu) computer and do the crash course in all things Linux to be able to process and send orders. Okay we managed that even during the busiest online time of year with the CWCC launching for 2022, and the store going Christmas crazy for the new Cobalt Historical Society puzzles among our other offerings.
Then the front desk computer where I do the website coding and typesetting for books also realizes it is 11 years old and threatens to go on strike. We back up everything three times or more a day and look for the real solution because I am not willing to give up the very expensive programs I have been using for two decades to produce over 400 books.
We finish limping through December, and come up with a plan. We build 2 new computers from scratch, new router, switch, and an internal cloud aka as a NAS. Order all the parts, put it all together, connect it and now we have our dream system in place. Still learning all the ins and outs, but all the files are in one place and redundantly backed up and can be accessed from any work station. And I can quit playing the "which external hard drive is it on" game. And the NAS is completely disconnected from the outside world every time I leave the store.
We have replaced playing the "which external hard drive is it on" game with the "have I uploaded these files to the NAS" game. But as time goes on there are fewer directories that need to be checked. All 3.1 +TB are safe, and growing.
So now to catch up the accounting and typesetting. Sounds easy enough but never quite works out that way. There are just not enough hours in a day. And we were making headway until May 24th.
I wasn't feeling well that morning, called Tele-Health to consult and ended up in the hospital where they informed me that this was not my first heart attack. And so while waiting for an angiogram, the store was closed for the first time in eight years and I'm sure the rumours ran rampant. But there was little choice at that moment.
It took two weeks to get an appointment in Sudbury, but it finally happened. Cutting an already long story shorter, they did the angiogram, installed two stents and sent me home. We have some restrictions for now, but are still here and looking forward to summer visitors. I caught up on the 780+ emails (honestly I quit counting after that many), the 39 phone messages, and all the orders that came in over the internet while I was laid up. And the next week (last week) we opened for a few hours each day. Honestly, when I get tired, I close up and go home. I'm trying to be good, but it's not my usual style to take care of myself.
And so here we still are. Our hours may still be a bit erratic for the next while, but we are still here. Mostly because we love what we're doing.
Just before the long weekend in May we launched The Curious History of Albert the Dragon We do not as a rule do children's books, but this one was from 1935-36 by locally well-known George Cassidy. The story is delightful, the illustrations beautifully detailed. And we also have it available in ebook formats.
The Store Grows larger each year
Hey, that's news in itself. Going into our 8th summer (already!) here in Cobalt. The word is out and has been spreading; the visitors keep returning.
As a reminder to those who have said they would post a review on TripAdvisor, doing so would be a huge favour and show of support (and thank-you to those who did). More people came into the store this year saying that is where they discovered our store. The link is here: TripAdvisor reviews for White Mountain Publications, aka White Mountain Books. We appreciate all your support.
1329 COBALT Where The Stories Are As Tall As The Headframes by Helene Culhane. Fascinating insights into the heart of this incredible town from the people who refuse to call anywhere else home, from interviews with long-time Cobalters. Also available in EBook formats.
1076 The Legend of Caroline Maben Flower Lady Prospector of the Porcupine by Maggie Wilson. Caroline Maben Flower, a wealthy New York socialite in 1906, most certainly read the news of the fabulous riches in Northern Ontario. When she arrived in Cobalt, Caroline noted how the men made their fortunes at mining. She reckoned, if they could do it, so could she! Never one to let roadblocks stop her, she shouldered a pickaxe and set out to build a mine. Just as she did with her musical career, Caroline promoted herself and built a brand. In Cobalt, and later in the gold fields of the Porcupine, she traded on one notable asset: the fact that she was the only woman in the mining game.
Grand Old Man of the River
by Bruce Taylor
Stephen Lafricain was born in 1837, and in his 99 years witnessed much history in both Canada and the United States, including treaty signing, the decline of the fur trade, the opening of northeastern Ontario to great mineral wealth. Well worth the read, and the history.
Quarantine a novel by Terry Cassidy. Set in 1994, young Wat Moore is caught up in a devastating situation while visiting his father's laboratory in Ottawa. When it's believed that he has been exposed to a deadly and highly contagious pathogen, the government sends him into a quarantine that could last the rest of his life. A fast-paced story set in Ottawa, northern Ontario and north-western Quebec, Terry has given us another well-researched thriller.
Missing in Cobalt by Terry Cassidy is a murder mystery set in Cobalt 1949. A young woman's body is discovered in the ice in a Buffalo Mines adit, and from there, we have to discover who she is, how she got there, and of course, who did it. Have had rave reviews on this one. And yes, it is fiction.
Mining in Temagami A History of Discovery, Development and Production by Dustin Roy. Dustin collects the information about past mining activities throughout the Municipality of Temagami in Northeastern Ontario, Canada. Maps, diagrams and beautiful colour photos bring this history to the forefront.
They Stepped Into ImmortalityThe Stories Behind the World War I Veterans Listed On The New Liskeard Cenotaph by André Maheu. Limited edition hard cover-2 copies left at $79.95. Now as a softcover reprint. $49.95
1322 Serving The North The George Taylor Hardware Story by Bruce W. Taylor. The history of this northern Ontario hardware chain instrumental in the building of northern Ontario in the early 1900s. This small local hardware store grew into one of the largest wholesale hardware merchants in Northeastern Ontario and Northwestern Quebec. Also available as an EBook $19.95
Books are a great gift for any time of year. They stand the test of time, become part of your life. The good ones can change your life, your perception of the world. Consider a great book for your gift giving year round.
Yes, we have been busy. Hope all is well with you and yours. Be well, stay safe.