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On April 16, the Texas Better Business Bureau will host free paper shredding and recycling around the state. Locations include Austin, San Antonio and Corpus Christi. This is a great way to securely shred all of those old tax returns, bank statements, pay stubs and other sensitive paper documents. Each car can bring up to five boxes of documents to shred.
The free shredding and recycling will be held at the Dell campus in Round Rock. You can find the other locations on the BBB website. The Austin location will also take old computers and computer parts for recycling by the Goodwill organization. You can also bring old cell phones that need to be recycled.
Over 140,000 pounds (70 tons) of paper were shredded at the last shred day. I can tell you from experience with secure shredding of the business cards we process at CloudContacts that shredding isn’t cheap. If you have paper for shredding, make the trip up to Round Rock and clear out those filing cabinets. While you are up in Round Rock, you might stop for what some call the best donut in Texas at Round Rock donuts.
If you aren’t located in any of the cities above, check out Shred-It’s list of other free shredding community events around the U.S. There are about 30 other cities holding free paper shredding events this weekend.
It’s amazing to me how much packing products for shipping has changed over the years. I remember my early college days as a youngster working at The Wiz selling computers and how large the boxes were for each computer. Even if the computer was a small desktop (with a powerful 386 processor!), the carton that the product was delivered to the customer in was huge. Even though most manuals are never read, they weighed a lot, were large and required room in the box.
Fast forward to 2004 when I purchased my first laptop (I had work laptops prior to this date) – the Dell laptop was purchased on what is still referred to as the best computer deal ever (50% off all Dell 700m laptops). The box didn’t seem that large but had a lot of extra room and had a separate box inside the main box with all of the manuals and CDs.
When I purchased my next laptop in 2009, a Dell refurbished laptop, it came in a much smaller box. I didn’t realize how much smaller the box was until I decided to sell the Dell 700m laptop when I decided to move to Texas. Even though the new laptop was 1″ bigger, the box on the old laptop was considerably bigger in all dimensions.
I’ve furnished most the new office with products from Ikea. I’ve been amazed at how well Ikea packs their products for transit. A few times I thought I had the wrong product because the box was so small only to open the box and see how smartly packaged the item was setup in the box. It’s almost like the way they setup the box, the inside materials actually provide support for each other without the need to add tons of additional packing materials.
Yesterday I received my new laptop from Dell – also a refurb, though a 17″ Inspiron. I opened the box with my box cutter and when I pulled back the flaps, I was completely shocked. I thought for sure something was wrong. There was not one piece of foam, not one packing peanut, no air bubbles and not even those big bags of air. Nothing. I could see the laptop right there in front of me.
I pulled out a piece of cardboard that the laptop was attached to using what looked like a piece of plastic wrap. The cardboard said, “DO NOT CUT PLASTIC” and had a simple diagram of how to pull the flaps forward to release the laptop. Sure enough, a moment later the laptop was free and ready to power on. And power on it did. The refurbished laptop looks brand new (just like all the other refurbs I’ve purchased from Dell) and an initial test worked fine. I wonder if Dell ships all of their laptops with this new packing system. The manuals for the laptop were very small – CD sized and there were no extra boxes inside of the main box.
As an aside, I am also impressed with Whole Foods here in Texas. Their receipts print on both sides of the paper — just think about how much paper this will save over the course of a year. I wonder why the Whole Foods stores in NYC don’t use this same paper saving receipt system.
So where can we improve? My new car came with two huge manuals – perhaps a better way is a downloadable PDF or the manual on a USB stick. You would only need a small manual with emergency procedures (like if the Bluetooth won’t connect to Twitter).
I’d also like to see ATM machines that offer email receipts inside of printed receipts.
Next week I will buy my first Apple iPod Touch – knowing Apple, the packaging will have the environment in mind.
Products are getting smaller and now packaging is following suit. It’s so amazing to watch companies of all types invest in packaging. It will mean less waste in landfills, less shipping expenses and less space needed to store all of our product boxes.
If anyone is interested, I can take some photos of the packaging from the Dell refurb laptop.
Click here to view the search results for Dell on Bing. At the top of the results, you will see a sponsored result for Dell that displays the “Bing Cashback” link. Click that link and the Bing Cashback page will be displayed and then you can select if you want to browse products on the Business side or the Home side.
Here are the terms and conditions that were provided to me tonight:
- Shop at Dell Today and Earn 15% Bing CashBack
- Offer applies to purchases on Dell Home & Home Office and Small & Medium Business on this visit only.
- Purchases from Dell Outlet, Dell Public or Large Enterprise stores are NOT eligible for this offer.
- Dell reserves the right to end or change this offer at any time.
- View all Bing.com CashBack terms and conditions.
Fatwallet users are reporting that the cashback works on any product (e.g. laptop, monitor, mp3, tv, etc.) but as always, check the current terms and conditions before making any purchase to verify that the Bing Cashback applies to the specific item(s) you are interested in.
I haven’t used Bing Cashback yet, but if the 15% is around on Sunday, I may finally purchase a Wii.
Last night I received an email from Dell about a back-to-school special. Rather than just promote their laptops, Dell decided to compare their top student laptops and the Apple laptops with the same specs. The comparisons include the Macbook 15 and 17 inch versus the Studio 15 and 17 inch models.
I’ve never been a fan of Apple-Dell “comparison wars” because the systems (and cultures) are so different. Dell versus IBM, Toshiba, etc. makes more sense because of the identical operating systems. Most customers who want a Mac aren’t going to switch because of price. Everyone knows PC-based laptops are less expensive than their Mac-based counterparts.
I took a look on the Apple Student Store and couldn’t seem to figure out how Dell came to the pricing they list in the image below. I got a total of $2,102 for the Apple Macbook Pro 15 with the same items listed. The Apple price includes an 8gb iPod Touch for free.
Dell ends their promo email by letting us know that with the $1,000+ savings over a Mac, you can go buy an iPod Touch.
The news I am about to share is very exciting. I had to take a deep breath before posting this news. You ready?
Dell has selected Twitter for live Q&A during their "Global Mobility Event" tomorrow. The event will be held in San Francisco and will be live-streamed. Rather than use a chat service, Dell has decided that Twitter is the way-to-go for the event. Dell notes:
Users of Twitter…will be able to ask questions about Dell’s new products and the company will “tweet” the answers. Reporters and customers on Twitter can direct questions during the news conference to www.twitter.com/Digital_Nomads. Dell will also blog about the Global Mobility Event at Direct2Dell. Dell is among the first major companies to offer reporters and customers the opportunity to ask questions on Twitter during a live news conference."
An interactive chat would make more sense as the viewers of the event can chat in real-time. Twitter doesn’t provide this type of interactivity and instead will act more like email with the back and forth. We will watch the event live and will report back on any major announcements.
In case you are wondering, here’s my first question to the Dell Twitter account during the event, "So Dell, what’s the status of your trademark claim on Cloud Computing?"
Sam Johnston, a member of the Cloud Computing group on Google Groups found a trademark application with serial number 77139082. The application is from Dell and is for the term "cloud computing". The application was made about a year ago. Cloud computing is as general a term these days as mp3 or floppy disk. Would anyone receive a trademark on those terms today? I guess the question is whether the term was as common when Dell initially filed their trademark application.
Cyndy Aleo-Carreira from The Industry Standard found that this is not the first time that a company has attempted to trademark the phrase. She notes, "The first trademark application was made in 1998 under serial number 75291765 by NetCentric Corporation, a company that used to provide "carrier-class Internet fax technology." The application was killed less than a year later."
I haven’t heard anyone use cloud computing and Dell in the same sentence. Companies I do hear associated with cloud computing include: our host Mosso, AppNexus, SmugVault, Wuala and Etelos on the business side. Dell should stick to making the great, really great computers they make and their awesome tech support.
When I was interviewed last week for a podcast with a semi-corporate audience, the moderator asked me at the close for my last words of advice. My advice was one word: Think. We have seen time after time where large companies forget to think and screw up. Today, when a corporation screws up, it will be shared with the world in minutes. No more waiting for the daily newspaper to tell us of the screwups, no more evening news. Immediate.
A former Dell employee submitted a post to Consumerist on June 14. The submission discussed 22 confessions (or tips) on dealing with Dell… things ranging from how to get the best price to backup disks to support plans. Pretty interesting information.
So what did Dell do? Someone in Dell corporate saw this post and got on the ringer to legal. "We can't have this here, get someone to demand a takedown stat" and Consumerist received a take-down demand letter shortly thereafter. Close to 6000 diggs across the two posts.
Consumerist exchanged emails with Dell legal counsel several times and basically said they would not take it down. They claimed all of the information was factual and that they did not solicit the information.
Last evening, Dell finally posted on their blog that they made a big mistake. Digital Media Manager Lionel Menchaca explained their goof-up. I wish he would have stopped there. An apology with a "but" means nothing in my book. The Dell attempt at an apology went half way with me as Lionel decided this would be a great time to go point-counterpoint on the confessions.
Most people here and here seem to think Dell did a good job in apologizing. Ars Technica notes that they receive these take-down notices on a regular basis. The issue is that you can't burn the Internet press plates. Once out, it's out.
So my advice to Dell is simple: Think. The truth is that if we all just thought a bit more before responding, the world would be a much better place. Everyone reacts with emotion (we are humans right?) and that's when the issues begin.