floppy disk-credit card adapter

Another downside to the Tulip Bubble mentality saturating the industry is the "Why are they making all the money, I should have thought of that!" reaction I keep having to every innovative, creative new idea that comes along.

Case in point: I should have been excited, or at least certainly supportive of a new device that is useful, elegant, and could even have a significant change in the way a specific technology is used. But my reaction (and I suspect a great deal of this page’s readers’ reactions) are more along the lines of a combination of chagrin, envy, and grudging admiration. See how capitalism ruins everything?

Okay, just kidding

But enough about the ranting– what’s the product? Written up in today’s Times is a little device made by UTM Systems that basically acts as an adaptor/card reader to let you insert your credit card into your floppy drive.

And it’s six bucks.

Simple. Elegant. Effective. Cheap. I think it’s a winner, not just with point-of-sale applications, but imagine that smarmy guy in the expensive suit being able to plug a credit card into his laptop right after he closes a deal in order to book the sale…

Or, for your neo-Luddite relative who doesn’t feel safe typing her card number in at Amazon, simply plug the damned card into the front of her Gateway. Of course, iMacs need not apply. I wonder how much a USB card reader is?

Speaking of credit cards, is it just me or is it creepy that we Web Weenies have become a demographic? Because I find myself very strongly attracted by American Express’ new Blue card, even without knowing anything about it.

Except that it has a smart chip and a cool design. What a sucker I am.

Addendum: Ugh. I went to the UTM Systems website and lost damn near all my enthusiasm for the hardware because the software is so bad. See fugly interface here. Umm, kids, just make it throw the numbers into Explorer or Netscape after you type in your PIN code.

I could reiterate why I hate faux-brushed metal pseudo-realistic "devices" as interfaces, but the good folks over at Isys Information Architects have already covered the subject quite eloquently. Didn’t we already learn that these UI’s suck when Quicktime 4 came out?