Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Cricut: Demonstration at Trenton Computer Festival

I spent Saturday at the Trenton Computer Festival (TCF), the longest-running amateur computer show in the United States. (Disclosure: I am Secretary of the Amateur Computer Group of New Jersey, one of the Festival's co-sponsoring organizations.) TCF prides itself as a place for the hobbyist to learn about new and interesting developments in the world of computing. We present a number of hobbyists and professionals speaking on a variety of computer- and computing-related topics, a Ham Radio licensing session, and an Arduino workshop.

This year, I went in with two goals: to present an introductory talk on home electronic cutters, and to display some of my T-shirt and other Cricut-fabricated designs at a vendor table in the hope of selling something (or at least getting some orders).

The talk went reasonably well, considering that for the first half of it I had to make do with downloading my PowerPoint presentation onto the school's computer and walking my iPad around the classroom so people could see how Design Space differs depending on the platform. (Note: the SlideShare version linked to above did not copy the Kelson Sans and Lato typefaces used by the PowerPoint template I chose, Kental NMNL from Creative Market.) After the talk ended, I carried my Cricut and computer back to the Vendor room to man my table.

Earlier that morning, I found that instead of having business-card display holders in my table supplies, I had only tri-fold brochure displays. I did have 100-lb cardstock and a variety of adhesives in my table supplies, and a month subscription to Cricut Access, so I searched its database for a business-card display holder.

You'd think that with over 70,000 images, box designs, and so on, and an audience that includes hundreds of small-business owners, there'd be something as basic as a business-card display holder. No such luck. Fortunately, it's something easy enough to jury-rig — and when complete, a design I could make public so other small-business owners can use at vendor tables of their own. (A more refined version, available over at my Cricut profile, is the subject of my next post.)

It took me a couple of tries to get something usable for on-site — which was fine for demonstrating the device, but not so fine for having my head far enough outside of my computer to engage the public as much as I'd have liked. That said, having my Cricut actually working was probably a better demo than just explaining it and showing folk my already-made samples.

There was more interest from people who thought I was selling Cricut machines or who wanted to know what the machine did, than people interested in buying my designs or having me design something for them. There were also a few folk who were looking for more information than I could present in a 40-minute deonstration, or whose family members had a Cricut (or other home cutter) and who wondered what the machine was and what it did.

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