Archive for June, 2009

If you’ve browsed the paper products aisle in a store lately, or looked at those items online, you’ve probably seen the trend towards “big” or “double” or “giant” rolls. In theory, by packing more square feet of paper toweling or toilet paper into each roll, they can offer more value for the dollar. That’s all […]


My desk phone has a handy button labeled “Do not disturb”. When you press it, the phone won’t ring for new calls. This is great if you’re away from your desk or otherwise unable to answer the phone, and you don’t want it to ring aimlessly during that period. Even though I’ve had this feature […]


One of the blogs that I subscribe to typically publishes a new post every day, or at least several times a week. But without any warning, they went totally silent for more than two weeks. This makes me wonder: how long can you take a breather before it becomes the sort of hiatus that you […]


I saw an article recently about one of those new laptop bags that are designed to help you get through airport security lines faster. I can’t speak for where they are currently advertising the product, but one question stands out: why not showcase the product right in the airport itself? For instance, you could put […]


A few days ago, a Facebook icon mysteriously appeared on my BlackBerry’s main menu screen. Apparently, my mobile carrier has some sort of deal with Facebook to help promote the new Facebook for BlackBerry application. I tried to remove the program, but it didn’t appear in my applications list. I even tried launching the program […]


I just learned that certain types of fare cards for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) expire after roughly four years. This is annoying for three reasons: first, the type of cards I’m referring to are designed to automatically refill from a credit card or debit card when the balance runs low. Second, there is no […]


By my estimation, about 95% of the products at Trader Joe’s come from the store’s private label brands. When it comes to the other 5% or so, I can’t help but wonder: are these third-party brands offered merely as a merchandising experiment? Won’t Trader Joe’s just create a house brand variant if the sales are […]


I finally had a chance to check out the new CVS in my neighborhood. Compared to the older CVS and Walgreen’s stores that I’m used to, it’s a relevation: clean, modern, and easy to navigate, with a broad assortment of products beyond the usual drug store fare. I also noticed something unusual about the store […]


Many years ago, there was a program for the Mac called Conflict Catcher. Basically, it helped you troubleshoot problems with the pesky “extensions” that loaded during startup in older versions of the Mac OS. The extension system itself was a mess, so this program was a must-have for Mac users. Conflict Catcher addressed an important […]


The gym in my building provides free antibacterial wipes for cleaning off the equipment before and after you use it. I never really thought much about this, until all the dispensers ran out recently. Clearly, I’m not the only person using them, which is a nice surprise. When it’s easy and convenient to clean off […]