Why would a small business seeking to move office computers select a transportation company whose expertise was honed by shuffling satellites for NASA? Because a carrier that can cradle the innards of earth orbiters does equally well with desk-bound PCs. So notes Kevin Cornwell, CEO of Three Way Corp., based in Sunnyvale, Calif., the country's foremost specialist in electronic-goods transport. All computers should be moved by experienced hands, he insists. And out of more than self-interest: moving a computer from the air-conditioned atmosphere of an office into the heat of summer (or from office heat to winter temperatures) can easily damage delicate parts.

As office machinery has become increasingly micro-circuited, more and more movers have been proffering kid-glove treatment. Vans fitted with air-cushion suspension and temperature- and humidity-controlled interiors cost at least 40% more than the standard variety. But not only does the extra fee (Three Way tacks on 52¢ a mile) guarantee that your computers will light up when they're turned back on, it can save the day should the unexpected occur. What if, for instance, you can't get into your new facilities when the truck arrives? The trailer can be detached from its cab and, tapping its own source of fuel, can be kept operating as needed to protect sensitive equipment.

It may be worthwhile to call in a specialist for even a small computer collection. For example, Three Way's less-than-a-truckload policy (a truckload is 28,000 pounds) lets you move a mere 500 pounds. That adds up to about six desktop computers, a fax, and a copier. Plus a painting of the founder; considerations that pertain to fragile electronics hold also for moving fine art. -- Robert A. Mamis