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March of Technology

June 23, 2023

Good Morning, Y'all!
It is amazing how technology has progressed in just the last few years. When I got started with Folkcraft back in 2007, we were running a full-on server farm to host our websites (pre-Folkcraft). Almost 100 different machines, all running an operating system called Linux. Name servers, image servers, search servers, web servers, and more. Duplicates/backups of everything. A special "air-conditioned year-round" room to house them, with a ginormous power backup system to keep it all going if (when) the electricity failed. Multiple dedicated Internet connections to our shop - one from Chicago, the other from Cleveland, with BGP routing set up so that if one connection failed, the other would take over with 100 percent of the traffic.

Since then, hosting a website has become commoditized. There are lots of other folks doing the heavy lifting - running the servers, providing Internet access - which leaves us with more time to focus on things we enjoy more: building instruments. In 2006, I had four people running our servers (our IT department). Here in 2023, I'm doing it myself, along with making dulcimers and going to festivals. 

Our showroom has gone from having a full-size computer, with a laser printer, for the checkout counter, to an iPad, hooked up to a bluetooth credit card reader - which emails sales receipts to our customers. A couple of weeks ago, we were able to switch to a handheld device, with a built-in credit card reader. This one has swipe capabilities (still, but probably not for that much longer!), chip-reading capabilities, and even the newest tech - NFC communications. Plus, the handheld device automatically updates our inventory levels online (at, so we don't accidentally sell an item twice. 
Nearly all of the credit cards in use have this logo printed on the back:

wireless credit card reader symbol

and nearly all credit card readers (the part that merchants have) have this logo:

wireless credit card reader clip art

So, now the tech has advanced to the point where you can tap the merchant's reader with your credit/debit card and the information will be wirelessly transmitted to Visa (or whoever issued the card) for approval. This is faster than a chip reader.
And Folkcraft has this available, now! A lot of you will see our new readers at Kentucky Music Week later on this month and you're welcome to test them out with multiple high-dollar purchases. (Ha! Just kidding!)

phone with bluetooth credit card reader app

The march of technology? Absolutely. We can offer a better website for you, with less cost for us to maintain it. And make life easier, which hopefully allows more time to make music.
Which is what I'm going to go and do now.
Thanks for reading - Happy Playing!
Richard Ash - luthier-with-a-music-degree-who-is-also-an-ersatz-IT-department