Friday, April 29, 2011

Retractable Dry Erase Marker: From Skepticism to Joy

It has probably been a month now since a pack of BIC Retractable Dry Erase Markers hit our office. I tend to not question why boxes of random products show up as often as they do, because you should never look a gift horse in the mouth (unless the horse is full of Greeks). Last week a bunch of cans of Organic Sweet Leaf brand Tea showed up, so we did our duty to God and Country and drank most of it. Many moons prior we had some dry erase boards installed in our offices to help curb our addiction to covering walls with post-it notes. Approximately 3 fortnights after the dry erase boards were installed, I was given a Neon Orange Dry Erase Marker. After some lengthy internal monologue, I put that marker where it belonged, in the trash. So when another Dry Erase product hit my desk, I was skeptical. Low Odor? High Performance? A fine tipped Dry Erase Marker? I doubted that this product could live up to the hype surrounding it.

I cast the Dry Erase Marker aside knowing that the previous "advancement" in Dry Erase Marker technology was none of the sort and went along with my day to day business. At one point however I was writing some excruciating boring technical jargon on my Dry Erase Board and realized that it was way bolder than it needed to be. My conventional Sanford Dry Erase Markers only knew how to scream text and I needed something more conversational so I begrudgingly picked up my BIC, clicked it (was satisfied by the retractable technology used to keep the marker from drying out), and began to write.

After the day was through I was a convert. If I need to write on a Dry Erase Board, I need my BIC Retractable Dry Erase Marker. It turns out the marker is definitely Low Odor. I don't know if that's just a byproduct of a narrow tip not slathering my board with the ink that needs to quickly dry and spew forth the aroma of a New Jersey Chemical Plant, but I approve none the less. Nobody's getting high off this marker any time soon. High Performance? I don't know how you judge a marker on it's performance, but it has worked whenever I needed it to. It draws pictures and writes text on demand. The retractable feature works well and means you'll never have to worry about losing or damaging your caps (around our office we have broken 2 different standard marker caps leaving the markers unusable). Should you buy some of these Dry Erase Markers for your office? Yes. Yes, you should.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hey Spies, Don't Forget the Scotch Tape

Hey all you James Bond wannabes, ready to pack for you next mission as you venture down your career path and gain a license to kill?  Don't forget your funny jet pack, your inflatable coat, your shoe phone, or your radio watch.  Add a new item to your list of spy supplies, Scotch tape.  Just get some of your standard every day tape.  You can get name brand tape or generic tape but just get some packing tape because you need wide tape.  Now as you are sneaking about an office building, if you see some frosted glass you'd like to peak through and have access to the side that has been treated, simply apply the tape to the treated side and you'll have mostly translucent glass.

The science behind it isn't very interesting.  Frosted glass is usually created by treating one side so it is no longer smooth.  The bumps and ridges in the treated side don't allow light to shine through perfectly.  Applying the adhesive from the tape to the bumps and ridges gives the glass a smooth surface again and allows you to see more clearly than before.  People report, and I believe them, that using any liquid on the surface will give the same general effect.

We don't have any frosted glass in our office.  We don't have windows in the bathroom, and there just aren't many interior windows to begin with that would need some privacy.  But I really really wanted to try this out.  Luckily I had some beach glass on my desk and of course I had a role of transparent tape.  So I dutifully attempted to apply tape to both sides of a curved piece of glass and see the results.  Unfortunately, I didn't make a whole lot of headway and small piece of glass doesn't do much when you try to look through it, but I'd say it seemed to help light through a little better.  I'm not a scientist or anything.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sushi Memo Pads

Here's something novel.  A set of memo pads that look like sushi.  It looks really cool, but beyond that there isn't a whole lot going on.  These are memo pads, not note pads.  Office Supply insiders know that memo pads are just bound with glue on one edge, but note pads are bound with a strip of adhesive along each piece.  So note pads are exactly like 3M's Post-Its while memo pads are those pads of paper that are handed out at conventions and end up in junk drawers.

The "in action" photo shows exactly who they are trying to sell these memo pads to, people who don't use their desk, but just look at it.  He's got a Rolodex right in front of the keyboard, and there's no way anybody should keep something that size between their body and their keyboard if they are planning on using it regularly.  Who honestly would attempt to keep a phone, hipster camera, expensive pens, and computer remote all perfectly aligned and square.  That just looks foolish.  After you've used the top of the memo pad and gotten down to just pieces of white paper it wouldn't be special any more so you'd have to throw it out.  Notice how approximately 2/3 of the pad is white.  Smart marketing, you would have to buy new paper 3 times as fast as if you had purchased some standard economical memo pads.

It is earth week though so really I shouldn't be telling you about products that encourage waste just to make more profit.  Here's a great way to save the earth, some cash, and your sanity.  Some great 100% recycled note pads from Sparco.  Sure these aren't Post-it brand recycled notepads, you'd pay a premium for those, I did say I was going to save you some cash didn't I?  As for saving your sanity, well these are adhesive backed notes.  The sushi notes don't have any adhesive so after you write yourself a note and rip it off the block you will promptly lose it.  With some adhesive you've got a better chance that it will stick to something and you'll remember it when you need it.  Some people might prefer the flash of a fancy memo pad, but I'll stick (get it) with a good old reliable note pad.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Exciting Voting Pen Experience

This Tuesday my wife and I were performing our civic duties and voting in our local Spring Election. We got to our local polling place, got our ballots and proceeded to our individual voting cubicles to cast our private votes. She finished 2 minutes earlier than I did, and when she asked why I had to tell the truth. They had a Pigma Micron 08 pen and I was enjoying using it. Not only did I take the time to neatly and cleanly fill out the bubbles for my choice of Supreme Court justice and school board members with the smudge-proof pen, but I even voted for the local Court of Appeals judge and municipal court judge who were running unopposed.

My wife was not so impressed, it was just a pen to her and I was just dragging my feet and keep us from a hot breakfast. I appreciated the pen for what it was though- a beautiful, well-crafted instrument of Democracy. I was only the 10th voter from my precinct at 7:10am, so there were not many people who had used the pen earlier. Still, I could tell this pen had been used and abused previously. The tip that was once an average 0.50 mm, had expanded to something that felt closer to 1.2 mm. The tip didn't split with age, like my Sharpie Pens liked to do, but just expanded very organically. Even though the pen had been to hell and back in the hands of unknown thousands of voters, it filled those bubbles perfectly and cleanly.

I'll admit it to you, my loyal readers, and no one else, but I even made sure the bubbles were slightly over-filled just because I wanted to write with the pen a little more.