It seemed like a no brainer. Pay $400 or so up front for a machine that will cut any font on your computer, in almost any size, plus any image file you can find. That compared to $50 - $100 for a traditional cutting machine followed by $50 to $100 or more for each and every metal alphabet die set, plus more $ for each image.
Especially when Xyron announced that the Wishblade cutting machine is now Mac compatible. (Well, they certainly exagerated about that, but that is another story, and its a bit better now...also, I hear that other company's cutters - like the Silhouette, Pazzles, and CraftRobo - have better software and customer support.)
THEN, the rest of my family upgraded to the Tiger version of Mac's operating system, and I had to wait for months to upgrade, all because Xyron's Wishblade software, Create and Cut, was not compatible with Tiger. Turns out, there were a ton of PC users out there who were equally unhappy because they had upgraded to Vista before they knew that Xyron had not done the same for Creat and Cut. You couldn't even buy a new PC with any other operating system than Vista or a Mac without Tiger. People were stuck waiting, their Wishblades untouched.
Moral of Story: If you buy this kind of cutting machine, you are stuck in the upgrade race. You know what its like; it happens with all your electronics. how long before the entire machine is obsolete? And how many times will you be unable to use it? If this is not a problem for you, then go for it and get one. You could use your rubber and acrylic stamps and/or a Coluzzle to make letters and shapes when you can't use the machine.
If you no longer like the idea of buying an electronic cutter:
Bossy Girl's Advice: Go find all those people who just bought Silhouettes/Wishblades etc (and Cricuts too, but more about that below) and are selling all their metal dies for cheap (Craigslist is one good place to look). You will have cutting tools that will still be functional for your grandkids. By then, our designs may have gone out of and come back into fashion!
Still, its pretty cool to be able to cut any font that's on your computer, right? Especially when you consider all the designs to be found in dingbat fonts (you know, the picture fonts.)
Step 1. Find a Cricut on Craigslist (about $100 to $150 around here, more for the larger one).
Step 2. go to http://www.craftedge.com/products/products.html for $90 software that lets you use your Cricut to cut ANY font on your computer, plus any svg files. AND, its both PC and Mac compatible. Its called Sure Cuts A Lot (SCAL) and its made by Craft Edge. In case you have heard bad things about it: I hear it had some problems at the very, very beginning when it was first released, but that the bugs have been worked out. You could spend less than $200 for both the Cricut and SCAL.
Step 3. Continue to keep an eye out for those metal dies on sale for cheap, in case of electronic obsoleteness.
Step 4. Oh, ok... go ahead and buy some of those Cricut cartridges, just 'cause the designs are so darned cute on some of them! Ebay is the cheapest source for that I have seen.
This solution is way cheaper than buying a new Silhouette or Wishblade.
Another quick note: according to Provocraft (the maker of the Cricut) using SCAL will invalidate your warranty. Of course they say that; they want to sell cartridges. Who cares? The warranty is only for a year, anyway. And yes, this is perfectly ethical. Independent software companies have been making software as add-ons for things they didn't create for years now, and it has been deemed legal.