OfficeMax

Lenovo IdeaPad tablet to sell at OfficeMax for $500?

Lenovo's new IdeaPad K1 tablet could launch soon with a $500 price tag, according to a photo allegedly of an OfficeMax store placard leaked today to Engadget.

With a launch date that Engadget says "looks to be fast approaching," the K1 is expected to be one of the two 10-inch Android tablets that Lenovo has promised will launch this summer.

The alleged placard includes these specs: 10.1-inch multitouch screen, 1,280x800 resolution, cameras in front and back, built-in Wi-Fi, support for Adobe Flash, and up to 10 hours of battery life.

Tech site TechConnect has reported … Read more

Paul Allen revises patent suit against 11 tech firms

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has refiled a lawsuit against several major technology companies over claims of patent infringement.

In his revised complaint filed yesterday, Allen alleges that 11 tech companies and retailers--Apple, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, YouTube, eBay, Netflix, OfficeMax, Office Depot, and Staples--are violating patents granted to him when he headed Interval Research, a small R&D firm that he started in 1992 and ran until it went out of business in 2000.

Allen initially filed the suit in August in U.S. District Court in Seattle. At the time, Allen's Interval Licensing company--which holds the patents … Read more

'Elf Yourself' returns with Facebook and Twitter power

It's that time of year again, when you trawl the Web for unflattering mugshots of your boss to embed on the bodies of dancing elves with the "Elf Yourself" holiday card promotion, going live for the fourth consecutive year on Tuesday. They're the brainchild of OfficeMax, which teams up annually with online animation shop JibJab to bring forth what might be the most successful social-media marketing campaign that the Web has yet seen.

Last year, a total of 35 million "Elf Yourself" cards were sent, and OfficeMax says that since it launched in 2006, … Read more

7 things electronics salespeople won't tell you

Going to a retail store for consumer electronics purchases can be both exciting and frustrating. After working at Best Buy for two years, I have a few opinions to share that you might want to consider before your next shopping trip.

1. We have no formal training in the field of consumer electronics. Upon transferring to the computer department from home theater, I expressed concern to the manager: "Will there be time for someone to train me on laptops/desktops? What do these specifications mean?" His reply was simple: "Just do your best. A good salesperson can just read the labels and compare specs." Ouch.

Salespeople are not necessarily experts in the products sold in their departments, even if they are expert salespeople. Though many express a strong interest in the products they sell, your time spent at a retail store fishing for information about a future TV purchase could be better spent online researching the products yourself (I heard CNET has pretty great reviews).

2. We make little off the big-ticket items, so we smother you with accessories. Remember the story "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie"? Well, if you tell a salesman you're going to buy a TV, he's going to want to sell you a DVD player to go with it. Once he sells you the DVD player, he's going to want to get you to buy an HDMI cable, too.

Managers at Best Buy (and possibly all retailers) tell employees that the store profits surprisingly little from video game consoles and computers. Cables, accessories, mice, and other components, however, have a huge profit margin-- stores can make about $120 from a $150 Monster HDMI cable. Angry yet? The point is, we're going to work really hard to convince you to purchase that big item, but once you've said "OK" you've opened Pandora's Box.

Here's my advice: Grab the big item, and run. Purchase all accessories online, including memory cards, cables, traveling cases, and so on. Amazon, Monoprice, and Newegg are all reputable discount Web sites. You'll find what you need at a much lower price.… Read more

Some companies you can trust, and some you can't

All companies have computer problems, how they deal with them separates the men from the boys.

Netflix

When I was away from home recently for an extended period of time, I tried to change the shipping address on my Netflix account. What should have been trivial became a problem because the Netflix web site made assumptions about the format of the address that didn't apply in my case. Every time I entered the address, their system reformatted it. I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to enter the correct address, so I contacted someone at … Read more

Vista prices fall even further

I expected to see some lower Vista prices in this weekend's ads, but was surprised to see just how low the prices had fallen.

Officially the price cuts announced by Microsoft on Thursday don't take effect until later this year when Service Pack 1 hits retail shelves. However, the company had said that many retailers were offering promotions that bring the software to its lower price.

But the ad at OfficeMax took things a step further. In this week's circular, the office products chain is selling Windows Vista Home Premium for $99. That's $30 less than … Read more