Tag Archives: macbook

In the Amazon, down with trees, up with packaging

A photo illustration of some recent Inverted Soapbox mail order purchases:

This was the box in which my 13-inch Macbook arrived:


This is the box in which the Caselogic neoprene sleeve ordered from Amazon for said MacBook arrived, a week later:


With this much packaging:



Which, all laid out, was about 15-20 feet worth of air-filled plastic pocket wrap.

Here is how the box for the original laptop fits inside the box used to ship the product intended to cover and protect said laptop:


And here’s the laptop sleeve, on top of the box of the computer it is intended to protect, inside the box in which the sleeve arrived:


So, I hardly need to say, I found all this above ridiculous, beyond ridiculous, into new levels of post-diculousness, that a company as savvy (and surely conscious of its overheads, if not the environment) as Amazon would make such a foolish choice in shipping strategy, especially considering they’re named after a FRIGGIN RAIN FOREST. Because truly, what could have happened in the mail to a product that had the sole purpose of acting as a protective covering to another sensitive product? If the sleeve truly lived up to its product description on the site, Amazon should have been able to just slap a stamp and address label on it and send it on its way, or at the very most cram it into a pyrex envelope. Instead, by some accident or obtuse reasoning, they packaged the protective sleeve in more protective packaging and a gigantic box, creating more waste, more cardboard that has to be shipped then hauled off by carbon-spewing recycling trucks, and took up more space on the UPS van so that fewer items could fit in a single load, thusly creating more trips and more gas miles, etc etc.

I don’t have much to add to this beyond that I encourage everyone to take note of their packaging when it arrives, and not to hesitate to give Amazon or whomever a blogful of your thoughts on the matter when necessary. As you do in this low-transaction cost age (thank you Clay Shirky), I immediately took to the Amazon web site to find the nearest feedback forum to vent, and immediately found a “Leave packaging feedback” option. It looks like the below and lets you tell whether the packaging was too small, or way too big, though there’s no option for “Captain Planet’s Mullet of Shame.”

The screen and my comments, are this:

As I said above, Amazon is mostly a lovable company, but I would certainly have spent the extra money to buy this in a store to save on the packaging alone. Clearly Amazon must be conscious of packaging issues since they have a feedback option dedicated to it, so why did they still decide to ship in this fashion? I’m not expecting a response from them, though I would be eager to hear their response.

Whattya think, Cap’n?


Federal bailout for the handwriting industry?

Mourning the Death of Handwriting [Time]

I know I gave up on handwriting long ago. If I handed you one of my reporter’s notebooks and you could decipher more than four or five words per page, you are some sort of secret codemaster who should be immediately sealed in a crate and sent to wherever that place is that Jeff Goldblum went when he took down an entire invading alien species using 1996 pre-broadband technology (“The alien ship is MacBook compatible! Is there anything Steve Jobs doesn’t think of?”).

I smile a bit at this, as I consider it a small victory against all those bullish things in elementary school that we always had a hunch had nothing to do with our real education, such as neatness and cursive skill, the things my report card always suffered under while the actual grades for the classes were doing more than fine (Next up we will finally lose the social stigma against “not being quiet”).

The more time I spend typing, the worse and worse my handwriting gets. Related: the more time I spend my days writing, the more my verbal

communication skills atrophy to a barely intelligible level of conversational grunts and shrugs not dissimilar to early hominid base interactions. My last gf was frustrated by this, so I wrote her an email trying to explain it. Surprisingly, her frustration levels did not ease.

Worse yet was my former roommate and coworker Justin Paprocki, whose handwriting was some sort of proto-Arabic twisted snake of a scrawl, resembling more the blips on a geriatric patent’s heart monitor as she was suddenly seized by nightmares than any actual language.

But in a weird twist, I still don’t have a tape recorder of my own, even though I have long since established a blog and a twitting thingy. And maybe some of my best writing (that you’ll never see so you’ll never know if I’m telling the truth) is spread scattershot in convulsions of black ink and greasy margin smudges like rotten infestations on the husk of dead tree I carry around in my moleskin. A lot of this writing comes in the technology interstitial periods — on the train, waiting for a plane, sitting in the corner of a bar by myself and pounding away at the daily therapy.

I can’t remember how to write a capital ‘Z’ in cursive to save my life either, but I can’t imagine a day when writing by hand isn’t the most direct conduit that best represents my attempts to shoot down the passing flock of thoughts flying by, as inefficient and scattershot as it may be.