Small Biz Mac, This blog 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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Thu, 19 Jul 2018

Updated mobile apps

We've released updated versions of our mobile travel apps, The Lake Effect (Great Lakes travel) and Snowbird Shores (Atlantic coast travel). Both feature modest UI updates. Both are free downloads for iPhone and iPad.

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Mon, 04 Jun 2018

GDPR compliance

If you visit any of the dozen or so websites that we operate, you'll see a popup dialog asking you to consent to our use of cookies for advertising. This is to comply with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which went into effect in late May. These regulations apply even to non-EU-based businesses such as ours, as we do have some customers in Europe and our sites are available there. (For more about DGPR, see this article.)

We have striven to comply with GDPR guidelines by obtaining consent for use of cookies in Google Adsense ads, updating our privacy policy, and by stripping out a lot of cookie use that our sites previously had (our analysics tool no longer writes cookies, and we've stripped out a lot of social media links). The dialogs requesting consent involved some JS hacking, which took about a weekend to complete.

We will continue to follow the evolution of GDPR, and keep our sites compliant as these rules emerge.

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Sat, 17 Mar 2018

Bye, bye Apple Server

Apple's decision to essential gut its Server app means big changes for us.

We will no longer be hosting the dozen websites supporting our business in-house, nor email. It's a shame. Apple has delivered incredible value with the Server app product, and it has allowed us to gain maximum flexibility and minimum cost for our Internet presence.

We understand that Server.app is just a slick interface over numerous command line tools that can still be installed on macOS (or another Unix variant, such as Linux), but the ease-of-use will be gone. Spending hours hand-hacking command-line tools and their configuration files is just not something we have time to do.

Ironically, there are many free distributions of these tools available for Windows with included GUI's to make configuration easier--it's a shame that such projects do not exist on the Mac independent of Apple's now-deprecated product. Re-investing in Windows hardware is not something we are inclined to do.

So, instead, we have decided to move our hosting to the same provider we use for our domain names--GoDaddy, bought through a reseller. The reseller discounts the price a bit, but the hosting and SSL certificates will total nearly $600 this year--when before we paid nothing.

There's no issue with GoDaddy--while they are looked down on by some in the tech world, their hosting platform is solid, at least for our needs, and their support is quite good. It took about three days of labor to complete the migration of all of our sites to their platform, and going forward managing the sites should be a simple, pain-free process.

But it's still a shame Apple has opted to discontinue a product that has been part of their lineup for nearly twenty years, and a foundation of our business nearly as long.

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