Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Value of a UPS

Sorry, United Parcel Service, I'm not talking about you today, though I have had good service from you over the years.  I'm talking about that OTHER UPS -- the uninterrupted power source, a peripheral for your computer which is essentially a battery backup.  It comes on immediately when it senses that the elecrtic power is going off, and gives you time, if not to keep working, then to save your work quickly and shut down.

I live in a rural area in northeast Florida served by an electric cooperative.  We get good service, on the whole, from Clay Electruc Co-op, but occasionally, and for some reason more often during the summer, we are subject to very short blackouts.  The electricity will pop off suddenly and unexpectedly, and then quickly come back on. 

It is brief, but it is enough to trip a computer off.  And just a few minutes ago, I had just finished a particularly difficult transcription from a probate file for a resident of St. Augustine who died in about 1809, which constituted a half hour or more of work for one page.  I was just finishing adding the source citation and was just about to save the file, and the electricity tripped off.  It rapidly came back on, but it was enough that my work was gone.

Not only do we have these little blackouts, we are in Florida, the lightning capital of the world, where we also have frequent afternoon thunderstorms in the summer.

For one thing, I suppose I should save every 10 minutes or so.  For another, I asked my husband to buy me a UPS.  He sees the value in it, for he has one for himself.  I just hadn't asked for my own before, but just a few minutes ago, my need for one was made quite clear!

All of us who use computers in our genealogical investigations and who live in areas where the electricity is subject to frequent interruption should have a UPS.

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