Sunday, February 19, 2012

CyberPower CP1000AVRLCD

The CyberPower CP1000AVRLCD Intelligent UPS/Surge Suppresser/Voltage Regulator offers you protection from brownouts, spikes and power outages, and is a great little device for the money.

The unit has a power capacity of 1000VA/600 Watts and has nine NEMA 5-15R receptacles (5 with battery backup, surge suppression and voltage regulation, 4 with surge suppression and voltage regulation only), and it also has inputs/outputs for RJ11/45 and Coax filtering and surge suppression.

CyberPower’s GreenPower technology means that the Automatic Voltage Regulation feature only kicks in if there is a drop or spike in the supplied current, and it reduces energy consumption by 75% over comparable units. Surge protection is rated @ 1080 Joules, and it has an easy to read LCD screen that displays 11 different functions, including input and output voltage, load, and approximate run time on battery given the current load.

It also has both a USB and Serial port for connection to your PC, and comes with a copy of PowerPanel Personal Edition UPS Management software which allows you to status the UPS from the PC and interfaces with Windows power management to automatically close files and shut down the PC.

I have a 20” iMac, a Windows Media Center PC with a 19” LCD screen, a 1 terabyte external hard drive, and my FiOS router plugged in to the 5 battery protected outlets. With all devices powered on, load is at ~ 38%, with peaks of 50% during reboots. Estimated runtime @ 38% utilization is 14 minutes, more than enough time for a clean shutdown. The PC is the real hog at the trough here, though; when only the iMac, hard drive and router are on, estimated run time is a whopping 60 minutes.

The unit is compact and light, weighing in at about 16 lbs, stays cool to the touch, and is virtually silent; all enormous plusses, and it also has more available outlets then most units in its price range. I have our inkjet printer/scanner, another external hard drive and a small digital cable box that I use with the Media Center PC plugged into the 4 suppression/AVR only outlets, allowing me to unplug everything with one swift pull in the case of a severe lightning storm. Pretty cool.

I like this baby so much that I’m going to order another one for my entertainment center. The battery backup will keep my Cable box/DVR and my DVD recorder from resetting, and protect the LCD TV and audio components from brownouts and spikes. It will give me “one plug pull” in an emergency for the entertainment center also. Nice.

The only drawback to the unit is that although it’s advertised as having “widely spaced outlets to accommodate transformer plugs”, that’s not the case at all. I have no idea why they would put this claim so prominently in their product description when it’s so obviously false, but they do. You can plug in 3 standard power cords and 1 transformer block, at best, on the 5 outlet battery side.

One way to deal with this is by using one or two 1’ extension cords for your power block devices, although CyberPower strictly forbids the use of both extension cords and power strips with their unit. Nein, Verboten! Use of said devices will result in the voiding of both the 3 year warranty on the UPS and the $350,000 connected device replacement feature, so proceed down this avenue at your own risk. I can see why they have this caveat; you could plug any piece of crap power strip or threadbare extension cord in and create a massively dangerous situation.

My advice is; if you’re going to bend the rules, do it right. Use a short, heavy gauge cord like the ones referenced above, or a small, high quality power strip, and only use it to allow for transformer plugs, e.g.: don’t use a power strip so that you can plug in an additional 8 or 9 devices into the UPS and overload it. That’s a very dumb and dangerous thing to do. I saw that little light bulb going on in your collective heads; don’t be that chucklehead.

You can find this unit at Staples for ~$120, or online at Amazon ($106) and Walmart ($111) . That’s pretty short money for a little protection and peace of mind.

While we’re on the subject of protection and peace of mind, here’s another helpful little tip; I have a small, open, 2 shelf bookcase with lattice style sides under my desk. All cords, connectors and power strips are on it, protecting them from wandering feet and rising fluids. I have the cords woven through the latticed sides for a little added strain relief also.

Because my home office is in my basement, the bookcase itself sits on a thick block of Styrofoam, so that if there is water, it won’t soak into the wood and wick its way up to the electronics. That’s a little trick I learned from the ServiceMaster guy the last time we had water issues. Also, the PC tower itself is up on a wheeled tower stand. There should be nothing in direct contact with your floor.

Keeping everything up and semi mobile not only protects you from minor flooding, it will also help with heat dissipation and makes it easier to clean under the desk. Beware the deadly dust bunny.

End Of Transmission.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Oh My

Obviously things didn’t turn out quite as I had hoped last Sunday night.

I was so jeeped up about the Super Bowl, and the Patriot’s chances, that the loss really hit me hard. When the game was over we sat there in stunned silence for a few moments, and then snapped off the TV and quickly went about cleaning up. I figured if I got right to it, I’d wear myself down and be able to crash.

I hate cleanup, especially scrubbing the broiler pan after making ribs, but I launched into it with great fervor. After that, I used some of the leftovers to make lunches, set up the coffee maker for the morning, and then refilled our pet’s food bowls. I did everything and anything I could to take my mind off of the loss, and to keep myself from watching the news.

It didn’t work. Sleep just wasn’t in the cards for me, not yet anyway. I ended up turning on the tube again and browsing the web for a while. Not a good idea.

What’s happened to people? Civility and good manners seem to have gone out the window, and everyone feels that it’s their right to say anything they want under the guise of “reporting the facts”. Pushing their own agendas and grinding their little axes while they rip people to shreds. It’s really sad.

I stumbled across a stunning rant by a Boston Globe writer that really turned my stomach, and finally convinced me to shut down the PC and go to bed. It was that bad. The guy trashed Brady’s play in the game, which is fine. If that’s the way you feel, if that’s the way you saw the game, then spout away, that’s what sports writers do. What wasn’t fine was his diatribe on how Brady’s career is over, and how he’s embarrassed himself and his fans.

He went on to say that Brady is an embarrassment to Mr. Kraft and the whole Patriots organization, that his play was hideous and he single handedly lost the game, comes up with a few really interesting and original names like Tommy Boy, Boy Wonder and Prince Valiant, infers that Brady’s lifestyle and living accommodations are part of the problem, and wraps up with the thought that it might be time Brady hung up his cleats and handed the reigns over to Mallett. Ryan Mallett. That one was actually pretty funny. Problem is, I don’t believe he was trying to be.

The article caused quite a stir, and the next day he was on local radio defending his actions and proclaiming that people didn’t “get it”. He said he was trying to emulate our displeasure, sort of a fan’s take on the loss, and that he knew it was over the top, but went with it anyway because that was his hook, the outraged fan. Needless to say, the interview only stoked the fire. He then went on to print an apology of sorts on, which made it even clearer to me that he was the one who still didn’t get it.

In his “apology”, he bemoans the fact that people were angry with him, that they called him a no talent hack, likened his head to a cue ball and wished him ill will. He also extrapolated that most people were angry with him because Brady can do no wrong in some fan’s eyes.

Here’s the thing; he thinks it hurts when people call him names and demean his performance on a personal level, but he doesn’t see the connection to his article. What he wrote was mean spirited crap and very personal, and yet he whines because people responded in kind. No sir, he just doesn’t get it.

It’s not so much this one article that bothers me, though. The real problem is that guys like this have become the norm. These last few days have been chock-a-block full of small minded pettiness. Some schmo lays in wait for Gisele outside of the family viewing area, baits her, and then films her reaction on his phone. Sad, right? Not as sad as the fact that it was a lead story on the Today show the next morning. I can see the NY rags running with it, but the Today show? And they run it before they get to the Josh Powell story. Amazing.

A losing team dares to celebrate the end of a long and hard fought season, and once again someone records it on their phone; 3 days of news stories. No one cares that these guys have been in virtual lock down for the last 2 weeks under intense mental pressure, or that this might be the last time they see each other for quite a while.

Nope, sensationalism is what it’s all about. Get it any way you can, and cash in, baby. Be the first on your block to bring someone down and you win a prize; instant notoriety. I’m disgusted by it all. We’re the ones that supply the prize, though, so we need to take some of the blame ourselves. We need to stop reading/watching when things start to turn ugly, and we need to hold to that thought and continue to boycott the writer/reporter until their parent company takes notice and fixes things.

We also need to make our feelings known, whether it’s with a comment on the site, or a phone call to the paper or station, both are equally effective. It’s all about ratings, no more, no less. You can’t rant or be trashy when you do it though, otherwise your voice amounts to nothing more than spam. The Globe writer I referenced above has already felt the power of his audience. His article, and the anger it incited, will follow him for quite a while. That’s a start. Inch by inch we change our world.

Personally, I put things to the Oh My test. I have this friend; she’s a very prim and proper person, a librarian by trade. She’s actually the archetypical librarian; when she shushes you, you stay shushed. Whenever she hears something unseemly, she says “Oh My”, and then claps her hand over her mouth. When you hear her utter those words, and that hand comes up and the eyes darken, you know it’s time to change the subject. Simple and effective, so effective that I’ve begun to get a mental image of her whenever I read or hear something that offends my sensibilities. I’ve had quite a few of those Oh My moments this week, hence this lecture.

As for the Patriots and my feelings post Super Bowl, I say this; you can’t let a single loss erase a whole season, even a Super Bowl loss.

I was both angry and upset immediately after the game, there’s no denying that. They could have won if only they had made a few more plays, or a few less mistakes, but they didn’t, and although I was bitterly disappointed, they were in it until the final seconds, and no one on the team can be accused of not giving it their all. That’s what really matters.

I’m not going to dissect the game, the sports writers already have that covered six ways to Sunday. Suffice it to say, it was in their grasp and they couldn’t close the deal. Credit has to go to the Giants, also. They made the plays that mattered, and it kills me to say it, but they were the better team.

I take solace in the fact that on the whole I thoroughly enjoyed the season, and this team gave us way more than we could have ever hoped for. Play was uneven at times, but fun to watch none the less. They just weren’t deep enough in some spots and it showed. On the plus side, Brady, Welker, Gronk, Hernandez and Wilfork all were human highlight reels throughout most of the season, and that bodes well for next year.

A smart and aggressive off season that involves some key additions from both the draft and free agency is the ticket to success for these guys, and I’m confident we’ll see it. Although I don’t agree with “the writer that shall remain nameless” when it comes to Brady, I do think that the window for team success with Tom at the helm is narrowing. With that in mind, I’d love to see Belichick trade some of his picks for a couple of impact players, someone to make a difference right away. I’m thinking a legitimate deep threat (sorry Ocho), a dominant pass rusher and a lock down corner would round out this team nicely.

They’ll be back next season, and I’ll be there to cheer them on, and they’ll be back to the big dance again, too, you can bank on it.

And so will the Giants.

That is all.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Twitter Campaign: Do Your Part for the Pats!

The Patriots players are all big twitter users and have been tweeting away the hours leading up to the big game. Now’s your chance to let them know you’re behind them today, and if we can get one of the hash tags trending worldwide pregame, it will be a huge boost for our guys!

Tweet the following to all of the players, as well as all of your followers, and be sure to pass the word along on all of your social media sites:

#BeStrongPlayStrong #MHK #GoPats

Here’s my latest list of Pats Player's Twitter handles, if you have one that isn’t here, pass it on:

@Edelman11 @deionbranch84 @StevanRidley @wilfork75 @WesWelker @RobGronkowski @AaronHernandez @ochocinco @LightFoundation @SterlingMoore @bspikes55 @bhoyer8 @PatsLB96 @Dane_Fletcher @TiUnderwood @GaryGuyton59 @McCourtyTwins @RustyBenson35 @mr_carter93 @KyleLove74 @TheLawFirmBJGE @Ryan_Mallett_15 @danny__woodhead @JamesIhedigbo @ZoltanMesko @ShaneVereen34 @Arrington24_7 @SergioBrown31 @patriotscannon @NMcDonald65

And here are a few for the media, and some big Pats fans:

@PatsGuy4ever @scottzolak @rcolvin3 @Toucherandrich @GreshandZo @sportsguy33 @NEPatriotsNFL @mindykaling @HeyCollins @7BOOMERESIASON @Rodney_Harrison @HeathEvans @boblobel @RochieWBZ @RealTroyBrown80 @DaRealOtisMoss @AlbertBreer @FredTaylorMade @MikeReiss @mrs75 @FelgerAndMazz @Marc_Bertrand @SarahSFrench @ddreyeron7 @aallredon7 @ConanOBrien

Let’s do this! Go Pats!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Not Such Deep Thoughts: Special Countdown to the Super Bowl Edition

That old clock on the wall can’t move fast enough for me this week; I’m just wishing the hours away. That’s the way it is when the home team is in the big game, I’m tense and nervous and I can’t relax, and there’s a million thoughts swimming through my head. Maybe if I get some of them out, it’ll help, so let’s get right to it.

The whole Pats Giants rematch thing is both the best and worst possible scenario we could hope for; Its prime fodder for the media, the source of endless discussion amongst fans, and a game that will surely draw mega ratings, as both teams have huge television markets. These two teams also have a history of tight hard fought games, which brings with it the promise of must see TV and a big payday for both the NFL and NBC.

The other side of the coin is a little ugly for us Pats fans, though. The Giant’s seem to have the Patriot’s number of late, and while the prospect of the Pats getting a little revenge really floats my boat, thoughts of the ’07 loss to this same team keep creeping into my brain and crowding out all of the happy. I’m also getting more than a little tired of listening to all the talking heads; Can Brady still do it? Is Eli the next greatest thing? Will the Gronk be able to play, and if so, can he make a difference? It’s been way over the top.

Speaking of the Gronk, and his impact; there’s not a doubt in my mind about his status. The kid is a football machine. I'm convinced he's a cyborg, and I swear, if you peeled back a flap of his skin you’d hit metal. Nothing could prevent him from being on that field from beginning to end on Sunday, except maybe Bill, and that isn’t gonna happen. You have to love him; he’s just a big goofy guy who lives for football, and he will not be denied.

While we’re on the subject of amazing tight ends, I think Hernandez is going to be a big factor in the game. While Gronkowski is number 2 on the list of most receptions by a tight end in their first two seasons, Hernandez isn’t far behind, coming in at number 5. He gets a little overshadowed by his teammate at times, but he’s a force to be reckoned with, none the less, and I think he’s going to excel on Sunday.

I’ve been honoring Wes Welker and his playoff stache campaign, #TheWelker83, by not trimming my beard or mustache for the last couple of weeks, and I’m beginning to look like a cross between Teddy Roosevelt and some guy who lives under a bridge. On the plus side, I’m really looking forward to my wife’s 7 layer dip, and this bushy baby is going to be a great flavor saver. Mmmh.

Speaking of Wes; we all know he’ll come through in the clutch, that’s his thing, but I have the strangest feeling that we’re also going to be talking about Chad on Monday. He’s just too good of a player to completely disappear the way he has, and I think his time has come.

I’m a superstitious guy and everything has to be just so on game day. Usual seat, usual clothes, you know the drill. Are you listening Bill? The grey hoodie, please. No substitutes.

Deep down, I have a pretty good feeling about this game. I think the Pats have the perfect mix of motivational tools at their disposal; revenge, validation and inspiration. You know that both Belichick and Brady still feel the sting of the ’07 defeat like it was yesterday, and all the crap in the media this week only serves to intensify those feelings. They’re going to play like a team possessed, mark my words. Belichick has been cranking the heat at their practices, and even simulating the extended half time, presumably in an effort to condition the team to the strangeness that is the Super Bowl. I really like this, and it makes me think that we’ll see them come out in the hurry up right from the start. A fast tempo, different formations, and a good mix of screens and draws will get the G-men back on their heels early, and really open things up for Brady.

On the defensive side of the ball I think both Big Vince and Spikes are going to be ferocious, and in Eli’s grill constantly, and I’m convinced that old Bill will have a trick or two up his sleeve with the coverage that’s going to confuse Manning and allow the defensive backs to shine. He knows what he has, and what the Giants can do, and he’s had a lot of time to think on it. You can’t continually beat Bill. He makes mistakes, but he always learns from them.

There’s also the fact that this Giants team only went 9 and 7 on the season and are far from the powerhouse that the media and their fans make them out to be. They’ve done a good job containing the Pats recently, but they are not a great team. They’re a standout in a weak NFC who’s on a late season roll, no more, no less.

Of course, I could be all wrong, but I’m betting on that third motivational factor to pull it all together for the Pats; inspiration.

These Patriot players have a deep devotion to Mr. Kraft, and they’ve watched him be strong all year. He worked hard to pull players and owners together to save the season, even though his heart was breaking, and he continues to be strong for them even now. How he gets through some of these interviews without breaking down is amazing to me, and should be an inspiration to all. I know it is to the players, you can see it, and I know they’ll be drawing on that inspiration this Sunday. Being strong, playing strong, both for themselves and for the Kraft family.

Go Pats!