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October 1, 2010

Food Contamination

by Randy Cassingham

When people talk about food safety, usually the topic is food for humans. But in the Spring of 2007, the topic expanded with a huge recall of pet foods -- for dogs and cats -- after the deaths of hundreds of pets from kidney failure were linked to their food, which was contaminated by melamine. The contamination was found in pet foods in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and South Africa.

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April 2, 2010

"The World's Most Advanced E-Book Reader"

by The Barking Unicorn

"The World's Most Advanced E-Book Reader"

That's what Barnes & Noble says it's selling. I idly tried it at their downtown store today.

"Press button at top ↑ to open book" its screen read when I picked it up.

"There is no button above this arrow," I told the lad behind the counter.

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October 16, 2008

VistaPrint: Bait and Switch?

by Randy Cassingham                                                        Update: VistaPrint Responds

This isn't the usual, uninformed whine about VistaPrint -- that (sob!) they charge shipping and handling on their "free" stuff. No, they have to stay in business, I understand the game, and that's fine (and still a pretty good deal) -- it's how they stay in business.

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February 14, 2006

Put a Sock In It!

by Randy Cassingham

Some packaging really makes me ...well... cranky.

Take these two packages of socks, for instance, that I bought from the same store on the same day. Both are packages of six pairs, and both are the same size. One is easy to get into, the other is not.

Far from it.

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February 4, 2006

Saying Goodbye to Hello Direct

by Matt Deatherage

I spend most of every day researching and writing, and the rest of the time I'm either taking care of the back end of my business, or sleeping. Most of the time, I keep the ringer on the phone off, because interruptions can be costly. I go to bed late and get up late because it's easier to write at night, so I don't want calls from the office forwarding through in the morning hours anyway. We have 24/7 voicemail if any of our customers find that e-mail really won't do.

Back in October, I started getting phone calls from some out of area number. The name was something spammy, like "marketing" or "research". The callers never left voicemail, and usually called between 9AM and 10AM every day, before my reliable waking hours (most days, I go to bed at 4AM). Sometimes I'd get 2-3 of these calls per day. Sometimes I'd get calls I'd have to answer before I'd be at work, so I'd have to forward calls to ring at home -- and then it would be these annoying mystery callers. I'd hear the phone ring at 8:30 or so in the morning, so I'd wake up but couldn't get to it before voicemail picked up and they'd hang up.

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January 15, 2006

Home Depot's Public Relations Backfire

by Randy Cassingham

A lot of public relations professionals are just that -- professional. Sometimes, though, an inept practititioner -- a "flack" as they're often known -- tries to intervene and ends up doing more harm than good.

In my column This is True, which reports on strange-but-true articles from newspapers (with a usually funny "tagline" added on after the story, as a comment), I wrote this item about a criminal's attempt to steal from Home Depot. It was in the 30 April 2000 issue:

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