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Small Biz Mac, Small Biz Mac focuses on using Mac as the foundation of a small business--the operating platform, the market, and more. This blog will discuss both the challenges of operating a business on Mac hardware and software, and the impact of the broader Mac market on business.

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Kevin Walzer and Lori Jareo, publishers, software developers, Mac/iPhone users, and small business owners.



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Site design: Skeleton

Tue, 18 Dec 2012

Blog colophon: Blosxom

In case you're wondering why we're not using a common blog platform such as WordPress (a somewhat ironic choice given that one of our press's imprints is called Word Poetry), it's because we've opted for a smaller, simpler, and venerable solution: Blosxom, a blog engine that nonetheless provides a great deal of power.

Blosxom dates back to the early days of the blogging movement; first written in Perl by Rael Dornfest, it consists of a single file of Perl code less than 500 lines in length, and it has inspired many variants in other computer languages. Blosxom can also be extended via plug-ins, and, over the years, dozens of such plug-ins have been written.

Blosxom is no longer as popular as it used to be, partly because blogging engines such as WordPress do more than Blosxom and can be simpler for non-technical computer users to get started with; commercial hosting for WordPress blogs is widely available. WordPress is also free to download and install on your own server, but few WordPress users do that, as installing and configuring WordPress can be quite complex. No such commercial hosting exists for Blosxom, alas; Blosxom requires a certain level of technical skill, a willingness (or desire) to get your hands dirty hacking on code, to work well.

Also, apart from its technical requirements, the original web design of Blosxom shows its age; the design templates bundled with the original version of Blsoxom (called "flavours") are dated in both their layout and their HTML practices.

However, the core of Blosxom remains as flexible and powerful as ever, and we've been able to hack it to work with a modern, lovely web design template like Skeleton, which breathes new life into the blog. We've also used Frank Hecker's wonderful feedback plugin to add comment support. (The coding tweaks in the comment sections of Frank's blog helped solve a couple of knotty issues that allowed the comment plugin to work.)

Blosxom development has slowed in recent years, and it's not as widely used as it once was, but the slow pace of development doesn't worry us; it's less a sign of a stagnant product as a stable, mature one that no longer needs a lot of tweaking. We have yet to see a blogging challenge that Blosxom can't handle, and so we're happy to continue using it.

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The Ghost of Christmas Past

The small family business that uses iPhones may also allow younger family members to use iPhones as well. And iPhones can get lost. At Christmas. Read on...

The annual discussion of what-do-do for Christmas Present-2012-began at the Thanksgiving table, which it always does. Lori mentioned that the cannoli she wanted for dessert figured prominently in The Godfather, and Kevin said that they should watch all three movies when they got home. Lori then replied that she'd be making notes for Christmas Eve dinner reservations and/or putting away leftovers as the movies ran. As Kevin and Lori left their favorite Italian restaurant, they both checked to make sure they both had their iPhones, and also made sure each of their boys had their iPhones.

Lori made their Christmas Eve reservations on her iPhone, just as she had last year. Same restaurant, too. She had visions of white linen tablecloths, clinking wine glasses, delicious food, and one more thing ...

The boys sat with Kevin as he watched The Godfather movies. They saw the old-fashioned buildings, cars, and telephones. Kevin told them that phone numbers used to have place-names in them. Then the capo Clemenza said, "Leave the gun, take the cannoli."

"Boys," Kevin said, "we need to remember to hang on to our phones this year." The younger boy nodded.

Lori walked into the room with hot chocolate for everyone. "Kevin? Did you say something? It sounded like, 'leave the phone and take the cannoli.' They don't have iPhones in this movie."

"I was just reminding the boys to hang onto their phones. They can't goof around and lie down on the seats and have their phones slide out of their pockets. It's better to forget the cannoli and keep the phone."

Lori set down the cocoa. "I was thinking the same thing. I just got our reservations; same place. I don't want to be calling AT&T to brick the phone at four o'clock on Christmas Eve."

"That's right, boys. We turned it into a lump of coal so no one could run up our phone bill."

The Godfather showed a Christmas tree, all lit up with lights and presents underneath. Snow covered the ground outside. The younger boy watched the bad guys coming around. "Dad, here they come."

Lori finally sat down. "Guys, if someone had an iPhone they could call 911." She took a sip of her cocoa and a bite of her leftover cannoli. Her older boy also took a bite. "I bet his iPhone was in the pocket of a crooked elf by midnight."

With that, the Ghost of Christmas Past flew out of the house, with the Ghost of Christmas Present taking its place on the couch.

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