A roundup of stuff that wouldn’t necessarily make it on the blog, but is worth noting:

• A locally-owned coffee shop in Fort Worth has closed, and its owner blames this area’s preference for national chains. This is something that comes up the blog quite a bit — that we want more independent retailers than we have. Yet we have so many national chains, including Starbucks, that it seems problematical about what we want. If a Baker Bros. or Subway was next to a local sandwich shop, how many of us would choose the local, all things being equal? Our February retail cover package will include this topic.

The Mob loves Facebook. Really. Italian authorities have begun investigating Facebook discussion groups devoted to convicted Mafiosi, afraid they are being used for some nefarious purposes. More than 2,000 people had joined Facebook groups for ex-Mafia bosses Salvatore Riina and his successor, Bernardo Provenzano. Both are serving multiple life sentences.

• Is your cell phone to complicated to use? If so, you aren’t alone. Some three out of five respondents to a survey in Britain and the U.S. said setting up a new handset is as challenging as moving bank accounts. Which does seem about right, since I have had my model for a couple of years and there are still some features that I haven’t figured out. Of the 4,000 people questioned, 95 percent said they would try more new services if phones were easier to set up.