Friday, January 28, 2011

Praise for

I generally leave this kind of shameless self-promotion to the Marketing folks, but every-once in a while I can't help but toot our own horn.  We got this email by way of LinkedIn from a first time customer and couldn't help but share it.

My name is David. My wife and I are in New York. We just
became huge fans of! LOL My wife was desperate
for an ergonomic chair that would help her with her posture and arm
rest issues. We looked all over, on line, and we decided to take a
chance with DOI. Much to my wife's happiness and mine, we got her
chair next day. All the parts were there, the product was in new
condition, and there were so many painless aspects of our transaction,
that I wanted to find someone on LinkedIn to give a personal thanks to.
You drew the short straw. Thank you and your employees for doing such a
great job with customer service!

You guys are awesome! Thank you. Very happy customer.


We are extremely proud that we can supply our customers a great shopping experience and great prices.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Free Girly Office Supplies

A manufacturer's rebate just crossed my desk and I had to get it out to you as soon as I could. 3M is having a promotion to help get out the word about their Tape and Post-it Note Dispensers shaped like a shoe and a purse, respectively. So until March 31st 2011 you can get the dispenser of your choice completely free after mail-in rebate. Yes. Absolutely Free. You'll have to cover any shipping fees you might incur, but you can easily qualify for free shipping.

You might remember I blogged about these items before and they are a popular product. You can view detailed information about the promotion at the Free Dispenser page, or use the PDF above and product links below.

When we first got word that this Post-it Dispenser was for sale in Canada and wasn't readily available in the United States some of the ladies around the office were going crazy for it. I don't know why Canada was so special, or if there was just supply issues but the few months before it was publicly and readily available online were tense. Thankfully, now everybody can get their hands on this Purse Post-In Dispenser.

To be honest I didn't even know this tape dispenser existed until several weeks after we had the Purse Post-It Dispenser and we got a promotional flier from 3M telling us about their line of stylish new products. It does make perfect sense, that if they would take the time to do market testing on office supplies manufactured specifically for women that they would have more than one product available.  These products do seem to be received extremely well so I'm hopeful we'll see more similar products in time.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Alternatives to Gundam Markers

If you or a loved one don't make frequent appearances in certain "geeky" circles you probably won't have any interest in this topic, but bare with me. You should understand by now that where ever there is a market, there are people willing to sell you something. Enter from Stage Left, Gundam Markers.

Gundam Markers

One of the things I never realized that I had any interest in until my trip to Japan was Gundam Models. You could click the link to Wikipedia's page on Gundam Models, but the basic idea is they are plastic models from a Japanese Animated (Anime if you prefer) Science Fiction series rather than plastic models of battle ships or muscle cars. I was on the plane browsing through the Japanese version of Sky Mall when I saw an ANA themed Gundam. While I was initially repulsed by the over-commercialization of an already overly commercialized brand, I was intrigued. Would Japanese businessmen really purchase these for their children to assemble when they return home? Are Gundam models really that easy and look that cool? I wanted to be that cool, but I was unwilling to pay extra for one due to a weak dollar-to-yen ratio. So I did what any sensible person would do: I waited until later and picked one up on the cheap on eBay.

I wasn't ready to go and spend a ton of cash on an expensive supplies or create things from scratch, but I didn't want to just perform a half-decent model construction like I did as a youngster. I did some research on how "experts" put together these models and found all kinds of info about seam-line removal, weathering and panel lining and all kinds of other model making techniques. The most popular method is panel lining, as that can be achieved by just using a marker. Unfortunately Gundam Markers are reported to clog and have wide tips so people are always looking for alternatives.

While I haven't taken the time to do vigorous testing, the consensus is that you should only rely on pigment markers or pigment pens and the narrower the tip the better. This Pigma Micron pen has a point of only 0.20mm (the smallest you'll find on a Pigma Micron) and the pigment based ink means it'll permanently work on any surface you apply it to. So if you are looking for a great pen that will draw some great panel lining on painted or unpainted model pieces, look no further. You'll draw lines as thin and as steady as your hand can create.  If you really want to go overboard, ITOYA offers a 0.10mm pigment pen but the Gundam modelers have never mentioned that particular brand.

Of course, as you delve deeper into the Gundam modeling world you will find more people who would prefer to leave the markers to the boys because real men use paints and paintbrushes. Just take a look at the image above and you'll notice that the striking difference between using a solid maker and attempting to move the excess vs using a properly thinned enamel paint.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Here's to You Mediocre Sharpie Artist

In the grand tradition of Bud Light's Real Men of Genius commercials I'd like to salute a mediocre Sharpie artist.

Here's to you Daniel Bell. I couldn't tell you what odd combination of words I was searching for on Google that allowed me to find out about you, but I did. You called your blog "xADDICTED TO SHARPIEx" because you like to draw with Sharpie. Maybe you also like the X-men or Windows XP so much you added extra x's at the beginning and end. Nobody will know unless they take the time to ask you. I was hoping for some interesting Sharpie art (as you might note from previous posts, I do like some Sharpie art), but found some scans of some real oddities.

Is the idea interesting?  Might you find this on a coffee mug owned by a cat lady?  Does it pale in comparison to drawing on a Lamborghini?  The answers to all of those questions is yes.  I went online to see if anybody had ever mentioned Daniel's blog before and the only reference I could find was him writing about himself on Twitter.  He posted artwork for 3 months before giving up and gave up on Twitter shortly thereafter.  So here is your 15 minutes of fame Daniel Bell.  You will now be exposed to tens of new potential eye-balls.

Should you, mediocre Sharpie artist ever decide to pick up your permanent markers again and create artwork for me to look down my nose at you'll be best advised to buy those Sharpie markers online.  Should you decide to come up with another piece like "IT'S 12 O'CLOCK... IT'S MIDNIGHT"  you'll need an additional supply of markers.  It takes a lot of marker to make that much black.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Swingline Stack and Shred

So some promotional materials for the Swingline Stack and Shred just crossed my desk and I'm fairly impressed. If you are like most people, you fall behind on your paper work every once in a while and have been subjected to the horror of shredding a pile of papers in chunks of 8 pages at a time. If that's the case, the Stack and Shred is meant for you. Basically, you just throw a pile of papers in the top, you close it and go about your life while it magically shreds the paper. Okay, so it isn't real magic like Harry Potter, but you close the lid and things happen, so it's like engineering magic and that's good enough for most people.

The Stack and Shred Website Guy

Swingline created a promotional website ( for the Stack and Shred that features a guy shredding paper in small chunks and the same guy using the Stack and Shred. The website isn't very exciting, and with the addition of some boring repetitive elevator music, it makes shredding seem as exciting as watching paint dry or watching grass grow. So, commentary aside, the shredder is rated at 60 dB so it is as quiet as any of Swingline's quietest shredders. The specs say the bin can hold 200 shredded sheets so that means you'll only be able to run a full auto feeder twice before you need to empty the bin.

So 100 sheets of paper that feed at 7 fpm (feet per minute) means that it will shred approximately 7 sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 standard office paper in one minute. So, in just a little over 14 minutes you could successfully shred 100 pages of junk mail or confidential paper work. Depending on the paper you attempt to shred, it may or may not shred more than one piece at a time, so it will hopefully finish much faster. Unfortunately, and there is always an unfortunately, according to the shredder spec sheet, it runs on a 10/30 run-time/cool-down schedule, so if your shredding takes longer than 10 minutes, you will have to wait 30 minutes to resume shredding.

Stack and Shred Feeding Mechanism

I got to take a look at one of the shredders in person and it is formidable. The feeder grabs your paper from the middle using some high friction rollers and pulls it into the shredder, so any pieces that won't fold will potentially cause a problem. However, the centralized feeder does mean that almost all paper and paper sizes can shred as long as they make contact with the rollers. In practice I found that the shredder was quiet, but I think "Super Quiet" is probably a slight exaggeration. I didn't have a decibel meter on hand, so I'll assume the 60 dB is correct. If you regularly need to shred large stacks of paper, but don't want the hassle of finding and paying a professional shredding company you should at least give the Swingline Stack and Shred a look.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Frixion Ball Knock Pens

I might not live and breathe office supplies, but I know what I like and I notice when something new comes around. So while on my Holiday vacation and spending time in an Okinawa "News Shop," I noticed something new.

Pilot Frixion Ball Knock Display

Buried in a display of pens with cartoon characters attached and other various writing implements that make you say "only in Japan," I found a display for Pilot Frixion Pens. It included the erasable pen with cap (featuring a slightly modified tribal decor) and a new player in the game- a Pilot Frixion in retractable form. My immediate reaction was "Tom Selleck Mustache (waterfall sandwich)," since the shiny cartoon spokesman has a great mustache, but then I calmed down and actually looked at the pens. They were just as previously described- a retractable version of the usual Pilot Frixion.

Pilot Frixion Ball Knock Pamphlet

There was a pamphlet that was also available, so I picked one up. It has all the excitement you could want from promotional material for office supplies in another language. Which is to say- not very much. One interesting oddity was at the bottom of the back of the pamphlet where they attempted to explain how the ink disappears.

Frixion Chemistry 101

The diagram clearly shows that when molecule A bonds with molecule B, it appears as normal ink. When you apply heat, molecule B prefers to bond with molecule C and makes things transparent.

Sadly, for now and the immediately foreseeable future, you can't purchase the Frixion Ball Knock in the U.S. from any of your normal retail chains. You can still purchase any number of standard Pilot Frixion Pens and Highlighters but the retractable variety are left solely to the Japanese. If you really, really, really need to get your hands on a retractable Pilot Frixion, you can find them at Japanese import resellers, but you'll pay a premium.

If you want to see these pens in the U.S. add your comment below and I'll pass them on to our Pilot rep. Maybe it'll help get these to market faster.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sharpie Liquid Pencil Perfect for D&D

Sometime in early December I was sitting around the bar at Applebee's chatting with some friends and the bartender. As you would expect from any time people are sitting around drinking Long Island Iced Tea's, we of course circled around to discussing work. One of the best things about working for one of the leaders in the office supplies industry is that we always get to learn about new pens and pencils whenever something exciting happens.

I have blogged previously about the Sharpie Liquid Pencil and how I thought it had the potential to be the writing implement of my dreams, but fell short. Even though I didn't think it was the bees knees I still went ahead and purchased two of the Sharpie Liquid Pencil two packs for gifts (even though I do get some free office supply samples, I still have to pay for my fair share).

I knew that my good friend Joe was interested in seeing how the liquid pencils performed in his day-to-day usage so he got one pair, and the other just sat on my desk unopened for several weeks. This brings us back to Applebee's and keeps my story from rambling. I mentioned the liquid pencils while we were sipping our beverages and our bartender, Amanda, mentioned that she loves the liquid pencils. It took some prodding for her to admit to playing it, but she claims they are perfect for Dungeons and Dragons.

For those of you who aren't aware, Dungeons and Dragons is a role-playing game that involves a lot of rolling dice, strategizing and writing on pieces of paper as the Dungeon Master weaves a web of intrigue for the players to take part in. I hadn't thought about it before, but with writing and occasional erasing that needs to take place, the semi-permanence of Sharpie's Liquid Pencils make it a perfect fit. Because Amanda is a good bartender and has a genuinely cheery personality, I stopped by Applebee's later that week and dropped off that extra pack of Liquid Pencils in her official work place stocking.