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Keep on Moving

My article on moving in TidBITS-301 spawned many responses from readers, including more stories and advice regarding original boxes, explanations of electronic companies, explanations of IKEA, other moving horror stories, and lots of good advice. Without further ado, then, here are a few of those responses.

Naomi Pearce <[email protected]> suggests:

If you save your boxes in a garage, or basement, don’t put them directly on the floor. Throw some boards down and put the boxes on top of the boards, otherwise air won’t circulate underneath the boxes, and they will get wet and mushy quickly. I don’t know how they collect water even when there aren’t leaks, but they somehow do.

Mark Lilienthal <[email protected]> writes:

As a member of the Canadian Army, I am moved often, by professional movers. Each time, when shown the stacks of original shipping cartons in my basement or attic, the movers express both appreciation (less work) and relief (less potential for damage). I have the original shipping cartons for all computer and electronic equipment and, once the equipment has been certified (a requirement for insurance purposes), I pack it all myself. Nary a problem yet. In fact, my venerable Mac Plus, ImageWriter II, and a hard disk have been sent back and forth to an oversees posting by mail in their original shipping cartons.

Jack Jansen <[email protected]> writes:

There is actually another very good reason for keeping original boxes for computer hardware, aside from being handy when you move house. If you’re trading your Mac in for a new one, I have found out having the original boxes can give you a much better bargaining position.

Dennis Whiteman <[email protected]> writes about boxes and cables:

I’m as bad as you are about saving boxes, but I had a unique experience with this right after I moved. I had stored all my boxes (and old tax records) in a closet underneath a staircase in my new two story house. Two days after I moved in, the ground floor of my house was flooded and all my boxes were soaked. It took a week for everything to dry out. Needless to say, I moved all my computer boxes upstairs where they would stay dry.

My next move will definitely involve sorting out the cable that hooks my router to my ISDN line and the ones that connect my computers to my 10Base-T hub. Plugging the wrong cable into the wrong place on my Ascend Pipeline 25, I’m told, will fry it. Good advice! Plus, that snake nest behind my desk can get really scary.

[To add to that advice, be especially careful to label power adapters for things like modem, bridges, and Ethernet adapters. They often have the same size plugs, but don’t always output the same voltage. Pushing 12 volts through something that expects 5 volts can do serious damage. I know, I just accidentally toasted our Sonic Systems microBridge/TCP by incorrectly using the power adapter from Tonya’s Duo’s SCSI Ethernet adapter, and I’m rather displeased. -Adam]

Rick Holzgrafe <[email protected]> writes:

After the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989, I had to rake up the remains of my office, box it, and move it all to a new building. I put all the cables and mice and such in a single box.

Out of 29 boxes, that was the one box that the movers lost.

When I arrived at my new location, I couldn’t boot a single machine. I spent hours running around the building, cadging a power cord here, a mouse there, just to get one Mac up and running. After some days I liberated enough cables, mice, network connectors, etc. ad nauseam to get my entire office back online, but I never found the missing box.

Good advice: Don’t carry all your eggs in one basket. Don’t put all your company execs or project engineers on the same flight. Don’t keep all your backups at a single location. And don’t move all your cables in one box!

Edward Reid <[email protected]> corrects my retelling of how the electric company cycles power after an outage:

The electric company does not cycle power unnecessarily. If they wanted to burn something off a line, they’d keep the power on. However, the concentrated current would damage or weaken the lines. In any case, it’s much easier for them to just reach up and pull (or saw) the branch away – they have the equipment and skills to do so safely.

Here’s how it actually happens. When a branch (or anything) touches two wires, it creates a fault (short circuit) and trips (opens) a breaker. Usually the branch continues falling, or is blown off the wires by the shock of the current that goes through it before the breaker trips. These faults are common occurrences. Suppose the breaker just stayed off (like the circuit breakers in your house do). The time the power is out at any given location would go up dramatically and the electric company would spend a lot of money (your money, as a customer, to be precise) sending linemen out to reset breakers when the faults had cleared themselves within a couple of seconds anyway. So the protectors on the power lines are designed to re-close several times after opening, typically at about one-second intervals. If the fault hasn’t cleared, you see the phenomenon of the power going on and off several times. Usually it stays on after one or two tries; occasionally the fault does not clear and you have a true outage. If it weren’t for this retry logic, you’d have a long outage every time you had a major flicker.

That said, I can’t agree more with your recommendation of UPSs, except that I recommend a UPS for almost everyone, and certainly for everyone who uses a computer for several hours a day. They’re not even as expensive as you imply. An APC Back-UPS 200 provides 200 VA (volt-amps), enough to handle a basic new Macintosh, and costs exactly $100 from Lyben, including shipping. A 280 VA unit costs $110, a 400 VA costs $153. This is a far cry from "several hundred dollars." If more people knew how cheaply they could get a decent UPS and were encouraged to do so, a lot more Macs (and PCs too) would be properly protected. [People, consider yourself encouraged! -Adam]

Anders Stegen <[email protected]> writes to provide some background on IKEA, the furniture and housewares store we mentioned last week. Somehow we had a feeling we’d hear from a number of our Swedish readers on this one.

I’m pleased that you found what you needed at the IKEA store. IKEA in Sweden was started by a money-cautious, self-made man called Ingvar Kamprad. He’s world famous (well, within Sweden anyway) for supplying good quality, cheap furniture which you take home and put together yourself. (He’s also famous for always using tourist class and inexpensive hotels when travelling, despite his now substantial fortune.)

Oh, and if you were wondering where the name comes from, IKEA takes the first initials from: Ingvar Kamprad Emmaboda (the name of the family farm where Ingvar started his first mail-order company at the age of 15) and Augunnaryd (the name of the small village where it was located).

Rolf Adlercreutz <[email protected]> writes:

IKEA likes to name their product lines, mostly with first names. Most Swedish homes have, for example, at least one bookcase named either Billy or Sten. So your computer desk is not trying to jerk you around, it is just named that way. Jerker is a Swedish male first name. It’s not too common, but not unusual either.

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