Office gadgets - Part 2

Archive for the ‘Office gadgets’ Category

I love my PVR

Last month, we bought a personal video recorder (PVR). I tend to be very frugal — perhaps as a result of being self-employed — so this was a rare treat for us. All month, I’ve been singing the praises of our PVR. As a break from the usual discussion here at Consultant Journal, I thought I’d share my excitement:

  • We can pause live television
  • We can start watching something before it finishes recording
  • We can hit "replay" to see a great shot or play again during live games
  • We can use our cable company’s built-in guide to plan recordings
  • We can set up recordings of series, even telling the PVR not to save repeat episodes

I bought the PVR after meeting some earnings targets for 2007. What a great reward!

Fake office noise boosts credibility

Does fake office noise boost your credibility? seems to think so. They’ve created CDs of fake office noise for home businesses to use. By cancelling out the sounds of lawn mowers, barking dogs, playing children and even your dishwasher, you can make your home business sound larger than life. I haven’t checked out the CDs — I just happened upon the website by chance — but it sounds like an interesting way to make your home business seem more professional…if you don’t really care about being authentic and true with your clients.

*Original link was to

Noise-cancelling ear plugs

Discount multifunction printers – buying

Discount multifunction printers. In Discount multifunction printers, I recommended asking your local retailer for a discount. Some of you have written me to ask how to do this. It’s pretty simple.

How to negotiate a discount multifunction printer

  • Research current pricing online, in flyers and stores. Some stores will price match or price match and give you an extra 5% or 10% off, so explore that avenue first.
  • Get a good sense of the printer’s value.
  • Go to a retail store. Ask the sales associate if that’s their best price.
  • In most cases, the associate will ask you what kind of discount you’re seeking.
  • You can try continuing to ask if that’s your best price, but it often works better to just ask for 10 percent off the list price.
  • The associate will probably seek the advice of a manager.
  • You may be asked if you’re ready to buy today, how you’re going to pay (cash will get a better discount, but you may lose the perks of your credit card), and whether you’re serious about buying.
  • Very often, you’ll be offered some kind of discount.
  • If you’re not offered a discount, you may be offered the chance for a price match, as noted above.

Related to discount multifunction printers


Noise-cancelling headphones | Cancelling noise

Noice cancelling headphones — after my piece on noise-cancelling ear plugs, a few people wrote in to recommend noise-cancelling (canceling) headphones. (Sorry — Canadian spelling in use!) Noise-cancelling headphones use a microphone and electronics to create a soundwave at polar oppose to the soundwave coming in. Thise cancels out the noise.

To my surprise, Wikipedia has a fairly lengthy article on noise-canceling headphones.

Have you ever used headphones to block out noise?

Noise cancelling ear plugs | Ear plugs

Noise cancelling ear plugs – via Slate, here’s a clever story about one worker’s use of noise cancelling ear plugs to block out construction noise. (I especially like the discussion on the history of ear plugs.)

I’ve only ever used ear plugs once. I was living in a busy urban area, where road crews were using multiple jackhammers to tear up the street. Unable to get any work done, I raced over to the next-door pharmacy and bought some noise-cancelling ear plugs. Perfect! My problem was solved.

If I ever run into that much noise again, I’ll probably invest in ear plugs again. But, despite living amidst several construction sites, I rarely find it gets loud in my home office.

Best multifunction printer – 2

Best multifunction printer — I recently bought an HP 5610 All-in-One multifunction printer (aff). I have previously noted my disastrous experience with a Brother MFC in best multifunction printer tips. Now that a couple of months have gone by, I’m really pleased that I switched to the HP.

This printer moves quickly, offers a variety of print quality outputs, and loads all the paper from the front of the machine. It’s small and sleek (for a multifunction printer) and takes up very little room on my desk. The scanner is easy to access. Best of all, I’ve been able to use it without so much as glancing at the user manual. The on-screen instructions are great.

Can I say this is the best multifunction printer? Well, so far, I’m not disappointed.

Posts related to multifunction printers:

Free home-based business software

Free home-based business software. When you start your home-based business, it’s inevitable that you may need some software. And, like many business owners, you’d probably prefer not to break the bank to buy it. But where can you find free home-based business software?

Free home-based business software sources

  1. Your own computer. Have you already purchased Microsoft Office, QuickBooks, or other applications? You can set up your own templates for your home-business.
  2. Open-source directories. Try searching open source software directories for free home business applications
  3. Download sites. Get free home-based business software and productivity applications at popular sites like or Tucows.
  4. Beta software. Some developers offer "work in progress" software commonly called "beta". They haven’t worked out all the bugs, so they offer free software with the hope that you’ll advise them of any bugs.
  5. Your bank. Over the years, my bank has offered free or discount financial planning, business planning and even income tax software.

Posts related to free home-based business software

Discount multifunction printers

Discount multifunction printers are easiest to find online, in my opinion. Following yesterday’s post on the best multifunction printer shopping tips, a couple of people emailed me to ask where to get discount multifunction printers. Here are my tips for finding a great discount printer.

Discount multifunction printers — how to find them

  1. Read your local flyers for current promotions
  2. Visit electronics stores and ask when they’ll be running discounts on their printers (in some areas, the stores must tell you if a sale is going to take place soon)
  3. Review online listings for printers
  4. Check eBay and other auction sites for new printers
  5. Ask your friends and family if they know of any upcoming sales
  6. Go to the websites for your favourite printer brands and see if they have any rebates or promotions you can print out and mail in
  7. Take a look at the "rebates" section of your favourite electronics dealers and see if they have any deals
  8. When you’re reviewing online listings for printers, see if there are any rebates listed — check the product info section, in case they’ve hidden the deal
  9. Be patient. If you wait long enough, everything eventually goes on sale.
  10. Register with online coupon sites and electronics dealers, so you get coupons and sales information.

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