Saturday, January 26, 2008

Oy. What A Job.

What with the power outages we had with the big storms a couple of weeks ago, and the promise of more nasty weather to come, I decided it was past time to invest in a battery backup box for the home computer system. At least I'll be able to shut down the system in a somewhat controlled fashion next time the power goes out. And if it's just a quick blip, I won't lose the setting on the electric clock.

Until today, I had an unbelievable amount of equipment plugged into three daisy-chained 6-outlet power strips, with the first one plugged into a surge protector that was plugged into the wall.

Now there are two daisy-chained strips plugged into the UPS, and the entire configuration had to be switched from one end of the room to the other because of distance from the phone jack, not to mention room to park the thing which is as big as a shoe box. That meant crawling under desks with flashlight and screwdriver to unscrew the three-prong adapter from one outlet and screw it into the other.

There are some mighty scary dust bunnies in the nether regions of my under-the-desk corners. But I digress.

While I was at it, I unplugged the modem line from the now-disconnected second phone line jack (seemed a bit of a waste to keep a second phone line when I send maybe one fax a month and I've long since abandoned dial-up internet) and reroute it to the remaining land line, via the new UPS/surge protector that includes telephone line protection. And I finally labeled all of the power cables, including the one with the big chunky boxes on the ends. The only one I did not label was the laser printer's power cable--because it is the sole GRAY cable. All the others are black.

Let's see. At last count, I have plugged in a desktop computer, laptop computer, monitor, laser printer, tape transcription machine, clock-radio, two external USB hard drives, two 4-port mini hubs, a DSL modem, a wireless router, and a lamp. I think that covers everything. The only thing plugged into a wall outlet all by itself is the shredder.

As soon as I plugged in the UPS, the "your building has faulty wiring" light came on.

I figured I've had all the same things (except the battery backup box) plugged into that same wiring all this time, so the building probably is not going to blow up any time soon. Besides, probably every tenant in the place has at least this much stuff plugged in. And let's not even get started on what's daisy-chained together in the living room (TV, VCRs, DVD players, audio equipment, lizard lights, lizard fountains and God only knows what else). These old buildings are extremely outlet-deficient. What do they expect us twenty-first century types to do?

The next project, since I freed up the "squid" surge protector box, will be to transfer some of the mess in the living room over to that critter, another job I am not looking forward to.

Ah, the joys of modern life.


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