If you’re viewing this blog on your computer, you can’t see it, but I installed a plug-in that creates a very easy-to-read layout when the site is viewed on a hand held or mobile device. A few weeks ago that wouldn’t have mattered to me, but since buying an iPod Touch, I’ve learned how valuable it is to make a website accessible on a variety of platforms. I’ve been fiddling around with the RSS feeds for this blog and the one I maintain for JMS Books LLC, and have even begun to create a feed for my writing site, which is still under construction and has been since March.
I didn’t really need an iPod Touch, to be honest. I was fine with my first gen iPod Shuffle, which I had won free off a website for posting a certain number of reviews of local businesses. Though I love music and have an insane number of physical CDs as well as a cache of MP3s that would make most people envious (especially if they loved boy bands and showtunes), I rarely listen to music outside of the car. And whenever I buy a new CD, it goes in the car first, so I didn’t see the need to use an MP3 player while driving.
But lately I’ve been toying with the idea of taking credit cards for book purchases when I sell at shows and events. At one convention, a reader purchased several titles off my website, paid by PayPal, then picked up the books at my table later that day. However, that doesn’t work in all situations, mostly because for some insane reason, the entire world isn’t networked in this day and age. Seriously, by 2011 shouldn’t we all have continuous broadband access? That’s one of the things I’m holding out hope for before I die. This is the future, people!
Anyway, that aside, I couldn’t access PayPal at many outdoor events. So earlier this year I purchased a MiFi hotspot by Verizon. It has a pay as you go plan, so I only have to buy a day’s worth of internet access whenever I need it. I had it with me in New York but no one purchased with credit cards at the Rainbow Bookfair, probably because everyone who attended came expecting to spend money, so they brought cash.
Then I remembered this credit card option called Square. Last year I went to a farmers’ market/craft show event here in town and purchased a screen print from a local artist. She used this Square thingy with her smartphone, and I thought it was too cool. Trouble is, I can’t afford a smartphone ~ or rather, I can’t justify the cost of a phone with a hefty data package when the only person I really call is my mother. Still, on a whim, I visited their site recently and, lo and behold, their doo-hicky works on an iPod Touch.
Well, there’s an excuse to buy one if I ever heard it. That and I’ve been hearing so much about this damn game, Angry Birds, that I needed to check it out. Two hundred dollars later (for the iPod, not the Square service, which is free), I have a nifty new gadget I can’t get enough of and can hopefully offer to accept credit cards at the events I’ll attend next month.
All this is a long and winded way of saying if you visit this site on your phone or mobile device, it looks pretty spiffy now. If you don’t have a hand held device, you don’t know what you’re missing. Seriously. Angry Birds is that addicting.