If we’ve had a mantra this year, and I love the idea of mantras (or at least the sound of the word), ours would have been “Change is Good. Right?”

Like many of you, the economy and ever-changing technological landscape forced us to evaluate, experiment and ultimately, radically change the way we operate portions of our little business.

The “portion” under immediate attack was content delivery--namely, how you can access our feature stories and articles and what you can do with it once you have it.

The result is a mind-bending list of options. Now, instead of just enjoying our content in print or monthly in our first-generation digital edition, you can:

1. Have it delivered to your inbox via RSS Feed

2. Share it on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

3. Register for our site and: a. Personalize your profile or leave it generic

b. Participate in groups and forums

c. Make friends, be friends

d. Load photos to your profile page and share with your social network

e. E-mail and instant message other friends and registered users of the site

4. Review and rate vendors in our Online Buyer’s Guide

5. Comment on any story

6. Print, save as PDF or e-mail stories

7. Search our archives (from the beginning of time) by keyword or category

8. Receive our upgraded digital edition and: a. View video clips or animated ads and stories

b. Click through ads to advertisers’ Web sites

c. Click through stories to supporting detail for those stories (like useful forms and literature)

Or, you can take a deep breath and silently curse me out for writing such a self-serving, long-winded marketing brochure where a whimsical, Christmas-themed Publisher’s Note should have been. Sorry about that.

The point is (and yes, once again, there is a point) all of us here at PRB are dedicated to improvement, which means experimentation and change. It’s exhausting--as you all know--and we don’t always get it right on the first try (just ask some of the folks who registered for the site early on), but in the end, we end up with a better product.

This month, we applied our new-found mantra (still love that word) to not only content delivery, but the content itself. So, be prepared. This issue is different. We feature a special Christmas story written by Kirby Jonas, acclaimed Western novelist, a 25-page Project Portfolio, designed to “get your creative juices flowing,” and, of course, a smattering of the usual meat and potatoes reporting you’ve come to know and love.

I hope you enjoy it.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Rodney J. Auth