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Article: Can a Big-Box fix your computer?

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting quasi-investigative piece on whether or not a big-box store can adequately fix your computer. They basically take in a bunch of computers with various maladies and provide anecdotal evidence of how well their issues are addressed:

Our first stop was Staples, where a repair for a problematic desktop dragged on for about a week and involved four visits to the store. When we first brought in the machine, which was essentially not running, we were told by one of Staples’ “EasyTechs” that it shouldn’t take long to evaluate. True to her promise, the tech got back to us that night with word they needed to do an operating system restore, and that we needed to bring in the system disk to proceed with the repair.

But after that, things went awry: A different tech said repairs were delayed because they were very busy. And when we came to pick up the supposedly fixed computer, we were told it was now on the fritz again. A day later, we got the final verdict: The computer was hopelessly broken. Although the desktop could now boot up, it still had problems shutting down, and a bad motherboard was the suspected culprit.

The article goes on to list tech tests from Office Depot, Best Buy, and a mail-order company called IResQ. Not exactly hard-hitting, and nothing new to anyone tech-savvy, but overall, a very interesting read.

Work Smarter, Not Harder (At Home)

Over at, there’s an interesting article on how to make sure your home-based business is running smart and lean. There’s no reason to work yourself too hard; that’s what not-from-home jobs are for! Check out some of their handy hints:

Rational use of time

Since we can’t control time, we can use our time more efficiently by first, reducing the activities that require the use of time. Second, we can learn to do things in less time. The next time you are experiencing time pressure, ask yourself two questions: 1. Should I be doing this activity, is this a waste of my time, is it really important? 2. If it must be done, how can I do it more efficiently?

Other hints on the list involve tips for clarifying intent, organizing, and solving problems. I must say the only thing I find fault with is there example of sending someone out to buy paper and not telling them what kind (leading to confusion and lost time). You know, I have an idea how you might be able to make sure you’ve always got the supplies you need. Try a reliable, low-priced, quick-shipping online retailer! See how much time that saved? That one’s for free, Reading Eagle.

Big Box News: School District joins Office Depot investigations

News from Florida: the Lee County School district has announced that they, too, will be starting an investigation into potential overcharges by Office Depot, making them the fourth governmental agency in Florida to seek a refund.

The most interesting part of the whole thing, to me, is that officials from Lee County were contacted by none other than David Sherwin, former Office Depot accounts manager and all-around crusader for those who were taken in by the company’s fraud. To see his name keep popping up warms my heart; he said he was going to fight OD and he’s been sticking to his guns.

As is tradition, I remind everyone that the lesson to be learned from all these Office Depot mishaps is to find a reliable vendor that you trust for all your office supply purchases. Stick with the little guy; he’s got more incentive to treat you right.

Article: There are still Typewriter Repairmen

Just for a neat little just-for-fun article over at The Ledger.  It details the lives and times of some of the remaining typewriter repairmen, who apparently still do quite well for themselves:

Jerry Hatfield, 53, owner of Typewriter Service Center, agrees that business has changed over the past decade but says he won’t be leaving the field he enjoys working in anytime soon.

“We don’t get as many calls, but I still make a good living at it,” he said with confidence.

Overall, a really interesting article. Be sure to take a look; some of the information may surprise you.