Monday, March 28, 2011


I'm not usually what you'd call an "early adopter." I might even be a "reactionary anti-adopter." I stuck with vinyl records until cassettes were the norm, and I stuck with cassettes until, well, until the late 1990s. If I hadn't married a musician, I'd probably never have owned a CD. Or a stereo more elaborate than a boom box. I didn't own a computer until I graduated from college (on the other hand that was totally normal, very few people had them in college.) I actively dislike cellphones although I acknowledge that they can occasionally be useful. I rolled my eyes at many generations of iPods and mp3 players and Kindles. Then the iPad came out, and suddenly I'm a techie. I bought mine within a month of seeing a store sample. I love it - not blindly, but passionately. It has its flaws, of course, but people who think it is just an oversized iPod or an entertainment device are missing the point. Half of what the iPad can do hasn't been invented yet.

You've probably heard the bands that use iPad instruments:

Yes, it's a gimmick, but it makes you think "Hmm, what else could I make this tool do?"

Because they are completely enclosed with no moving parts (so they can't be destroyed by dust) archaeologists are using them on digs and all kinds of scientists are using them in the field.

Because the screen is big enough to see without squinting and because it can be operated by touch, people with a wide range of disabilities and illnesses are using iPads to communicate and express themselves... and new possibilities open up every day. It's like handing out legs and watching people invent dancing.

Square seems incredibly mundane, after a build-up like that! It's not in same league as inventing dancing, for sure, but it is going to be one of those small but brilliant ideas that subtly changes the way people work. "Everybody" has a cell phone or iPod or iPad now, right? Well, Square makes an elegant little block that plugs into your device. You swipe the credit card and then the customer signs with a finger.
And voila, you can accept credit cards anywhere there is a wifi network or cell phone signal. Why do I care? Well, remember this post about my first craft fair? Well, it's coming right up, and Square means I can take credit cards without an elaborate and expensive set up. The reader itself is free (!) and there is a charge of 2.75% per transaction. Suddenly the (extremely) small artist/businessperson has the same advantage that larger stores do - instant and secure credit card approval. It's so cute, too: I can't wait to use my new toy! (And no, I'm not getting paid to advertise it. I just love the idea.)
Just under 3 weeks left to get ready for the show .... I'm working on my booth display now. I'll post photos when I do the mock-up.

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