Dull Computers

Dell may have “led a sales revolution in the late 1990s,” says John Dvorak in MarketWatch, but the “crux of its problems” a decade later is that it’s “still living in the 1990s.” In an industry where times “change fast and hard,” Dell appears “more stodgy than ever.” Trying to order from Dell’s Web site, you wouldn’t know that today’s consumers are looking for either a laptop or a “modern power user’s” preconfigured “complete high speed” desktop machine. But Dell also doesn’t seem to realize that successful computers now are more than utilitarian machines—they are “objects of desire.” If it can’t fix that, it “may as well rename itself Dull Computers.”

Shopping for online discounts

“Budget-minded shoppers” might be missing out on online sales, says Jayne O’Donnell in USA Today, but they needn’t be. As many as three-quarters of online stores “offer a place to log in a discount code before checkout,” and there are several sites that will help you find active discounts, “if one exists.” One recent survey found that the average savings from these codes is $29, well worth the “minute or so” it will take to find one. If you can only enter one discount code, see which one—a percentage cut or free shipping, say—is more valuable. But try to “stack coupons,” too. And search multiple sites for the best codes. You won’t always find one, but “it’s worth checking.”