Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Post-It Primer For Future Game Shows

We here at Office Supplies Talk hope your holiday season was a good one. Now that the presents have been opened, the food has been digested and everyone has returned from their family gatherings (unless they live in the Northeast), the nation's attention turns to what truly matters this time of year- the history of the Post-It Note.

America, you're starting to catch on.

The impetus for the new-found interest in removable adhesive technology stemmed from a controversial question on the new Fox game show “Million Dollar Money Drop.” Which came first? The Sony Walkman or the Post-It Note? Let's go to the tape!

Soon, viewers realized that Gabe was mostly right. Okay, 3M actually started in 1902 as the Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Company and yes, Brittany was right that they started out in other markets: they were first known for sandpaper products. I'd be remiss if I didn't point that out. But everything else he said was generally true, granting certain allowances as he was busy shoveling cash onto a platform.

While the Post-It Note was hardly invented accidentally, the removable adhesive that it uses was indeed a surprise result of random tinkering in the lab. Dr. Spencer Silver developed the formula in 1968, but it took six years before colleague Art Fry figured out the “removable adhesive + notepad = Win” formula. His creation was first sold in 1977, two years before the Sony Walkman.

And Now They're Huge

The show has since realized its mistake and invited Gabe and Brittany to try their luck again. America will surely be monitoring the show's questions carefully. Especially if they concern office supplies.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Conserve With Cleaning Products

Back in school, the concept of 'going green' was framed around the three Rs. Not that old reading/writing/arithmetic combo; the one that wasn't embarrassingly bad at spelling- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. The discussion of green products typically revolves around the latter. It's all about buying products that are either recycled or recyclable. From binders to mechanical pencils, almost everything in office supplies has a green choice.

Cleaning products, however, are a bit of a snag. Simple Green, while a great product, is a bit of a misnomer in this regard. It's hard to recycle products that disappear into the countertop, sink or air. Thankfully, Baumgartens has picked up on R number two with its Conserve lineup. It reuses the one thing that really clogs up landfills- the bottle.

The product is shipped as an empty plastic bottle with a package of four tablets, giving you four bottles for the price of slightly more than one. When ordering online, the prospect of not having to trust a shipping company to handle liquid cleaner is a winner in itself. To best explain this neat new item (and because I ran out of Febreze), I tried out their odor eliminator at home. The process is easy: drop a tablet into the bottle and fill with warm water. The tablet dissolves much like a certain antacid.

Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz

The tablet takes about seven minutes to dissolve completely, at which point you have a full bottle of cleaner at your disposal, and three refills taking up very little storage space. Testing it out, I found that the product is definitely an odor eliminator more than an air freshener. Odors are reduced considerably, but the lavender scent is not overpowering. It will work nicely for all my febrezing purposes (good thing we declared that an official verb, as this is not a Febreze product).

Conserve is also available as a glass cleaner, bathroom cleaner, and multisurface cleaner.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Febreze the Air

I'm declaring that Febreze is now officially a verb as well as a product.

–verb (used with object)
1.  to spray with Febreze in an attempt to cover odors :He febrezed the couch before his parents arrived.
2.  to attempt to improve something without effort : He febrezed his essay by running spell check again.

People have been using Febreze for a long time now, and using febreze as a verb for quite a few years, but I haven't seen anybody make the official proclamation.  So go ahead and add it to your computer's dictionary (upper and lower case) so it won't think you are misspelling it.
If I'm remembering correctly the original Febreze used to be more about spraying it on fabrics and I guess people liked it.  So now we have Febreze Air Effects as well as some other kinds of Febreze products.  The question is, of course, did the people behind the original Febreze expand their product for a multi-usage spray application, or is this just "brand-washing" as Proctor and Gamble use the Febreze name to sell otherwise boring air freshener? A quick check of the Febreze home page reveals they are selling all manners of candles and oil diffusers.  I think they've strayed from the original product line.
Just because Proctor and Gamble is going crazy with different lines of Febreze products doesn't mean you can't keep it real.  You, after all, are an OG.  Check out this huge jug of Fabric Refresher you can buy (They even released an MSDS for it). I'm not going to make any guarantees, but I have a feeling that this much Febreze should be able to take care of just about any problem.  Remember that even though Febreze isn't dangerous to pets in the course of normal usage, it definitely would be in this form.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Neon Dry Erase Markers

So the other day a package was thrown at me without much warning, so I opened it up and threw away the plastic and whatever promotional paperwork was included. That paperwork is the equivalent to an instruction manual and my manly instincts are to discard them when ever I can (like shredding the instructions for a shredder). Inside was a Jetstream 101 pen that is pretty brand new (not all suppliers have photos or pricing for it at the time of posting). As the name would suggest, it is a very simple ball point. It has a softer plastic than the most basic pen, and it feels a little thick to me, but it is a solid stick pen. I also got a Sharpie Liquid Pencil (as previously discussed) and something I didn't know was on the market, a Neon Dry Erase Marker from Expo.

Now I know when you think neon you either think about the hottest fashion trends or a crummy little economy car (ask me about my road trip to Canada sometime) so not many people have fond memories of neon things. If you are a hipster or want to kill hipsters you'll already have made up your mind about neon. Since I'm still mostly hipster agnostic I can dig the total bright explosion on my white board. They are great for drawing circles around things I need to emphasize.

The new extra bright color does come at some cost though. My normal dry erase eraser doesn't work perfectly on the new neon dry erase marker. The magic neon doesn't dry as perfectly as my normal set of markers so when attempting to erase I have to use more pressure and usually go over it several times. I checked the dust created from my normal expo markers and the dust created from the neon expo markers and the neon dust has just a little moisture left, so they didn't completely dry. I don't know what would happen if I attempted to let it properly dry by leaving it on my board for several days, but leaving things on the board for that long just isn't my style.