The Farmer's Market is new to Mineral Wells and has really taken off due to the amazing work of its board of directors. But the vendors deserve some credit as well. In some ways a family, the collection of small and local businesses that setup each weekend at the FM are everything you hope to find when you hear the term "Farmer's Market."
I've been a vendor at the MWTXFM twice. The first time was a testing of the waters. This last time I was better prepared. These are my observations and comments as a small business trying to sell at the FM.
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Up until yesterday (12 Oct 2018) I did not own a smartphone and had no desire to do so. My little flip phone did all I needed it to do and did so reliably and inexpensively.
On Saturday, 6 Oct 2018, I joined the Mineral Wells, TX Farmer's Market and attempted to sell some of my upcycles and my POD (print on demand) samples. It was a very difficult 5 hours for me and not terribly rewarding. One of the reasons I lost a few sales was my inability to take credit/debit cards. I thus resolved to remedy that prior to going back to the market.
So, I got a relatively inexpensive reconditioned smartphone and signed up for their cheapest monthly plan. I also ordered a credit card reader from PayPal which I have yet to install.
In addition, I got a "free" Galaxy Tab E 8.0 that can function as a smartphone but only if I have smartphone service. There's a process called NumberSync. Anyway, this larger tablet and the Android graphic design software will allow me to do some design work during those hours at the market when sales are slow, make+receive calls and messages, and take credit card payments on a single device. The smartphone alone doesn't have a large enough screen for the graphic design portion of all that. AND, I like my fonts a bit larger now that I've crossed the threshold into seniorhood.
The smartphone took a while to arrive because I wanted to keep my old phone number. I had a very long customer support call to prove that it was my number because it was with another carrier. (Note: I was speaking to customer support using this phone number!) Then it took another few days for the two carriers to iron all this out.
Now, the real battle was getting all this tech to work. This is not exactly new technology, as far as I know, but the software that allows you to set this up is buggy beyond belief. What should have taken 5 or 10 minutes took hours. Because:
No. I did not call customer service / tech support. A week earlier when I was trying to set up the tablet, I called tech support and was on the line for over 2 hours before I was told that the tablet alone would not be a smartphone even though it has been assigned a phone number and I'd have to get another device -- a smartphone -- to link it to. BTW: there was no indication of this prior to my purchasing the "free" tablet and the tech took TWO HOURS to finally get around to telling me this bit of bad news. That and the call to port my number had left a bit of a sour taste in my throat for "service" calls.
But, PERSISTENCE is my middle name. When I want something, when I want to do something, I don't give up easily.
I did finally get this technological nightmare working the way it is apparently intended to work. But, if you ask me, and you didn't, the way it is intended to work is not such a good thing.
I once worked for someone who was well known for saying that the last thing he wanted on his staff was a "creative" software developer. I think he equated creative with undisciplined. I equate creative with innovative and skilled.
I'm sure that my web site looks very much like other Weebly web sites in structure if not in content. How could it not? The building tools constrain what I am able to do. On the other hand, I once built 3 web sites over the course of one night when insomnia was nagging at me and my bipolar disorder had me in a manic episode. Twenty years ago, the only way to build a web page (we didn't so much talk about sites then) was to write hundreds or thousands of lines of html, upload to the web server, check it out, and begin endless repetitions of debugging and altering. Yes. We could all do it. But few thought it was really fun. It was comparable to writing in assembly language (which we all did 20 years prior to that) and we were all simply delighted when it worked (picture Tom Hanks dancing around his first fire in Castaway). So if progress in software development means better systems more quickly with less need for digging into the guts of the process, then these web site building tools are indeed progress.
But at what cost? Where is the innovation? Where is the creativity?
I admit at this point that I haven't looked into the literature in some time. But, has anyone studied the effects of these tools on creativity?
The academic communities of computer science, specifically software engineering, and psychology (specifically creative cognition) have a great opportunity here to study the effects of this relatively new type of software reuse on innovation in software engineering. Remember, within subjects design with counterbalancing to offset presentation order effects! (Because people are different but they all learn.)
As for my limited anecdotal evidence, I think I make up for in speed of build and reliability of end product what I lose in innovation. And I do check out those new components that come available so perhaps that's where the innovation lies.
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