Here are some more ways to get better organized
A few weeks ago I did a column on New Year's resolutions and got so much positive feedback I thought I'd suggest some other ideas to make 2007 a better organized year.
Years ago we were all promised a "paperless office". Fat chance! It seems that paper is here to stay, to the point where we now need paper shredders to rid us of all that hard copy. However, before you toss that old invoice, it might be a good idea to make a digital copy of it. For that reason I'm going to suggest a device that will help you both keep computer records and make copies.
I'm talking about a multi-function device that copies, scans, prints and even faxes.
All-in-one units used to be pretty crummy -- you'd be better off buying a separate printer, for example, but as technology has gotten cheaper, these have evolved into essential home-office products.
One of the least expensive is the HP Deskjet F380 All-in-One, which costs $80 and does an acceptable job of scanning, printing, and copying.
However, you get what you pay for, and if you want something better, consider the HP OfficeJet 5610 (which also faxes) for about $125, or the Canon Pixma MP830 for around $250.
Now let's get back to backups. In an earlier column I suggested that you back up your data to an online service such as Mozy. However, I didn't mean to imply that a local backup for your PC wasn't a good idea. In fact I've been a proponent for years of external drives such as Maxtor One Touch series, which has drives ranging from 160 to 750 gigs that connect to your USB port. Prices start at around $120 for the 160 gig unit.
Also consider the Seagate 250GB model for around $130, or the 500 gig "My Book Essential Edition" for $280 made by Western Digital.
If you don't want to spend the money on a service or an external drive you can always store your data on CDs, but if there's stuff that you want to keep forever (like those baby pictures!), beware, because CDs may start to degrade after a few years.
If you're serious about storing music or photos for the long term, it's better to spend a few more bucks on high quality "gold" archive quality discs that have a longer shelf life.
Also, be sure and store them in a cool dark place. Heat and humidity, which we have plenty of in Hawaii, can cause chemical changes that will corrupt the recorded data.
Finally, are you tired of paying all those bills via snail mail? Would you like to keep better track of your checks? Nowadays many companies allow you make payments online, but it's easier to have a service that consolidates all your "payees" into one system.
For that, check out Paytrust, at www.paytrust.com. With it you can receive and pay all your bills online. It works with any bank and any payee you may have. They offer two plans--- $4.95 a month or 50 cents per transaction, or $12.95 a month, which gives you 30 free transactions.
Your local bank also should have a service that can pay your bills electronically.
is general manager of digital phone at Oceanic Time Warner Cable. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org