Desktop publishing revolutionized the printed word from the mid 1980s. Thank you, Apple, Adobe, and early adopters. Online publishing has come of age.
Anyone can create a literary masterpiece. For free. Here’s my version and a new outlet for expression. Using a Mac mini.
I’m not a Picasso or an Amy Tan. Actually, that’s not true. Even using Photoshop since the early years, my best graphic designs look more like Picasso than Norman Rockwell.
My prose is more high school senior bucking for an “A” than prolific Mary Higgins Clark pushing the latest best seller at Borders.
Still, there’s a need at this stage of life to express. Mac mini to the rescue.
The ever reliable Mac360 sys admin set me up with a Mac mini at a great price, connected it to the internet, and gave me remote access.
I installed pMachine’s Expression Engine to create a web site, boned up on the latest XHTML and CSS tricks, got Bambi to give me a color scheme and layout for a simple, yet elegant web site design.
Two days later TeraTalks was born. Just in time for a new month and the first day of the rest of my life.
The technical part was straightforward. It was important to me to build TeraTalks entirely on a Mac, serve it on a Mac, and use the least expensive tools I could find.
Alexis would nail me if I didn’t. After all, she inspired me when she set up her own Mac mini server last year. I was impressed.
Creating a web site from scratch can be daunting or purely point and click. Choose your poison. I was very close to going with Rapidweaver, but couldn’t find a theme that I liked. That’s where Bambi came in.
Within two hours after calling her and asking for three or four design templates that I could use, borrow, steal, or choose for a web site, she was ready.
One design. Simple. Elegant. Functional. Attractive. Take it or leave it. I took it. The price was right. And red and yellow are my favorite colors.
After that, it was just a day or so of fumbling through the right combination of XHTML and CSS and adding greeking to make the site look real.
Once it was ‘live’ I was obligated to pour in some, uh, expression.
The first day was a challenge. Between tweaking the code, adding images in the background, and wondering what Bambi was thinking by giving me red and yellow as the color scheme, I wrote. And wrote again.
The Mac mini, meanwhile, just sits there churning away in $499 bliss, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (It’ll be 7 days after the first week; but you get the idea).
Is it easier to set up your own web log, your personal “blog?” Yes. Much.
If all you’re after is expression and no headache, try Blogger. It’s free. It’s easy. You’re done and ready to express in minutes.
Seriously. Within minutes.
But Tera tinkers. I’m a Mac user. I like to tinker. Nothing improves without change. With the free Blogger you can change color scheme and layout a bit, but you’re stuck with what you’re given by the Gulag Guards of Blogger.
I’m a free spirit. I chose a Mac because I don’t like being stuck; TeraTalks is built on a Mac, served on a Mac.
How easy is this to do on your own Mac at home? Easy. The past few weeks we’ve had article after article on how to set up a web site for family or personal use.
Getting your Mac connected to the internet to act as a web server isn’t impossible but requires a few tricks (more on that in a future article).
If you thought of poor old Tera as a one dimensional Mac-head zealot, well, maybe. We’ll see.
My thanks to Ron, Bambi, Alexis, and Jack (who dared me) for helping out. My thanks to Apple for making such an adorable and affordable second and third Mac.
What’s impressive about the world of information web sites (I plan to stop using the word “blog”) is the ability to foster a two-way communication stream.
In the old days of last century (six years ago), someone else published and we read. That was the beginning and end of the line. Today, we can publish, readers respond, we respond. It’s the circle of life.
Using a Mac in this way, opens lines of communication and the natural borders of time a distance that exist between us.
As of today, Tera Talks. How about you?