Thursday, January 10, 2008

Still Alive

Coffee in the Austin skyline mug (fitting as I have had a software-full couple of days and Austin is also known as Silicon Hills), the credits song from the XBox game 'Portal' on iTunes. Yep, that's right, on *iTunes*. One of my recent little software acquisitions is a shareware program called Tubesock that takes any YouTube video and translates it into either an MP4 movie or MP3 audio for the iPod. I can now watch the cowboys skate whenever I want,

and I can listen to this greatest-of-all videogame songs *whenever I want*. Yeah, the sound quality could be better, but the tech is just so cool! (If you click on the play button below, wait a few seconds--the beginning of the video is silent).

Why is a glass artist nattering on about computer software? It's time for the annual laptop purge. I have 33 gigs of music on the laptop and a not-much-smaller amount of pictures. It's full. I need to move everything over to the main desktop and back it all up. But that means organizing it all uniformly so I can tell if I need to move it or not. So as I was looking for tools to streamline the process (new stuff comes out every year, some year I'll be lucky and what I really need will be available) I stumbled on a couple of very cool Mac widgets. The first, Audiobook Builder, takes audiobooks from either files, iTunes, or cd's and converts them to a much smaller, audiobook file for iTunes that has bookmarks (so you can listen for awhile, go listen to something else and come back to the same place in the book--trust me, this is a necessary when you listen to books on your iPod). The last is MultiTunes which is supposed to let me switch between all my iTunes libraries from within iTunes... I haven't made it work yet. We'll see (I'll pay for it if I can make it work--I downloaded SyncOTunes yesterday and it didn't do what I needed it to do so I deleted it and did not pay--I love try-before-you-buy shareware!).

Now for the glass artist/business news. Besides putzing around with software videos, music, etc., Stacy and I wrangled the storage and shipping options to the ground and hog-tied them. Self-storage is not a viable option. Between the lack of drive-up and 24-hour access at many of them, the cost of renting the panel van to move the stored items to them, and the cost of the units themselves, they are not a good solution for the professional arts/crafts business. A far better--though still expensive--option is All American Convention Services. They do not have a website (so I never would have found them on my own), but Champion, the exposition services company for the American Craft Retailers Expo, gave me their name and phone number.

When all is said and done it's going to cost me about $700 per year to store my booth and materials there (the parts of it I can leave there--I still need to figure out what to do about my pedestals and lights--I can't afford multiple sets). That sounds like a lot, but it pales in comparison to the cost of shipping to and from--shipping which also has the possibilities of loss, breakage and arrival delays. Making a living as an artist/craftsperson gets more expensive as you move into the bigger venues. The more big shows you do the more you spend on booth fees and services, shipping and marketing. And to succeed, you had better be sure your pricing covers it all.

Better quit messing around with fun software and get to my Quickbooks. It's time to find out if all the expenses I incurred last year were balanced by revenue. Keep your fingers crossed.


Bill said...

I'm sure that the IRS would want to know that...

Brenda Griffith said...

Oh they do. I tell them EVERYTHING!