Jewish World Review Feb. 13, 2003 / 11 Adar I 5763

Moving adventures

By Mark Kellner | Relocating, across town or, as I recently did, across the country, is not without its challenges and rewards. The discovery of a new neighborhood and meeting new neighbors, finding your way to the office, even the inevitable cleaning and rearranging of a home office all have their advantages.

Along the way, I picked up some lessons and experiences that might be useful if you have a move in your future: one report states that 20 percent of Americans move each year; in the late 1990s, the IRS reported that 5 million taxpayers send in returns from new addresses each year. (Those numbers may have slowed in the current economic downturn; then again, it may spur more people to move.)

SAVE ORIGINAL BOXES, IF YOU CAN: This will earn me the enmity of many a spouse - including perhaps my own - but having original boxes for computers, printers, monitors and, particularly, delicate items such as an Apple iMac or a laser printer, can help make your life much easier when it comes time to move.

Yes, you can get large size boxes at the U-Haul (stet) store, and yes, there are alternate packing materials that will probably secure your stuff, particularly for a short haul. But I felt much better about sending my personal "treasures" across the country in their original boxes. Where I'll put those boxes now is, of course, another story.

If there's room, it's a good idea to pack like items together. I threw a printer cable in with my printer, the mouse I like to use in with the iMac, and so on. If, like me, you have a bunch of devices, try to put the power strip in with one of the main items, so you can easily set up a multi-device configuration on arrival.

ARRANGE FOR YOUR INTERNET SERVICE EARLY, IF POSSIBLE. On moving day, I had a stroke of luck: Brian from Comcast Cable of Montgomery County happened to be on site, and we were able to get service turned up that day. Our phone service will be on shortly - installation schedules, don't you know - but at least we were able to e-mail family and friends and let them know we were OK.

One of the nice things about the Comcast deal - doubtless the product of a couple of years' experience helping new customers get settled - is that the firm offers a "self-install" kit that includes a Motorola Surfboard SB4200 cable modem and connecting Ethernet and USB cables that can hook up to a cable outlet in the room where the computer will sit. I was able to get online with the Mac in a few moments; Windows XP users could have the added option of a USB connection for their systems.

USE AN ONLINE CHANGE OF ADDRESS SERVICE: You can have the U. S. Postal Service process a change of address, electronically, for a $1 fee, by going to the Web site and filling out the change electronically. By typing in the new information, you reduce the chance that someone will misread your handwriting, and you can be sure of what you are entering before you approve the change. The Postal Service will send a letter to your old address in order to verify that you are really making the change.

Many magazines and other businesses will let you enter address changes online as well. This not only saves time, but, again, allows you to control how your publications and bills are addressed, so they reach the right place at the right time. In the worst of cases, e-mail to the magazine's customer service department or publisher should yield results.

Moving is, I'm told, one of the most stressful of life experiences, after to losing a family member or getting married. A little planning and preparation, using your computer along the way, can make the change easier and perhaps even fun.

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JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.

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Browser for Mac users has good start
New Adobe software organizes photos
The year the PC grew up
PC meets philately: one hit, one miss
Digital Nikon camera a winner, at a price
Honey, they shrunk the COMDEX
Last-minute ideas
Microsoft's Tablet PC has promise, problems
Upgrade with a plan
Palm's New Tungsten PDA Shows Its Mettle
Nobody asked me, but ...
Love, in Quicktime
T-Mobile's sidekick a good partner
Put on a (happy, unwrinkled, tanned, whatever) face
Apple software upgrade very useful
I came, I saw, iPod
How's that? A tech critic reflects, briefly
Satellite radio gets favorable reception
HP's desktop printing marve
Mac satisfaction --- and some really good software
Off to college ... with eMachines
Have PC, must travel
After Shot manages your digital camera images
X200: Mobile worker's fantasy
Beware: Consumers face a fee for printing own checks

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