Although I bought an APC 600 UPS a few weeks ago, I didn't bother to get the interface kit that would allow it to communicate with NT. That feature allows NT to shut itself down "gracefully" if, during a prolonged power failure, the UPS sent a signal notifying NT that it was running out of juice. Then, when power was restored, the computer could reboot itself and NT would pick up where it was when it shut itself down.
I didn't think this feature would be very important to me. In the nearly ten years I've been in this neighborhood, the power has never gone off for more than a few minutes, well within the capacity of the UPS to handle the load without needing to shut the server down.
So last night, of course, a car plowed into a utility pole down the street from me, knocking out all electric power to my neighborhood for an hour and a half. I was awakened at 1AM by the charming sound of my UPS beeping insistently. (I should point out that I do not sleep at my office. In fact, I don't even have an office. WebFeats International is headquartered right here in my home.) When power wasn't restored right away, I shut off the server and went back to sleep, and didn't power it back up until I woke up later (much later) this morning. So the server was down most of the night -- which would not be an acceptable situation if I were really in business at this point.
So, I ordered the UPS interface kit from APC today. There goes another 45 bucks. Hey, it's only money, right?
Speaking of money, I also went and bought an inexpensive ($200) window air conditioner today. I now have two Pentium PC's in the bedroom that serves as WebFeats International Headquarters; being upstairs, that room has always been fairly warm, and the two PC's warm it up even more. I'm not sure my central A/C unit could keep that room comfortable when the temperature hits 100 degrees (note to my European readers: don't worry, that's Fahrenheit), as it often does throughout the Dallas summer. And if I did crank up the house A/C high enough to keep my "office" cool, the rest of the house would be sub-Arctic. Ergo the window A/C.
Besides, I'm quickly running out of ways to spend money.
Which is probably just as well, as I'm quickly running out of money to spend.
My DAT drive arrived today, as expected. It took me a little while to make NT realize that it was there; finally, I figured out that I had to tell NT that, not only did I have a new tape drive, I also had a new SCSI controller board. Once I explained that patiently to NT, NT agreed to let me back up my hard disk. And it actually worked the first time I tried it. Now all I have to do is figure out how to automate the backup so that it kicks off at, say 1AM every night (if people will stop driving into local utility poles, that is), and I'll be all set.
Yesterday, I had pretty well decided to process credit cards through Commercial Bankcard in Atlanta. Today, I got a call from FirstNet, a Dallas-based company that also arranges credit card processing for Net-related businesses. (I have no earthly idea why they called me. I sent Email to a slew of companies whose web pages I stumbled across; FirstNet must have been one of them.) Their rates are actually a little better than most of the other places I've spoken with, and I like the fact that they're local. They faxed me some info, and I'll talk to them again tomorrow. I suspect I'll file an application with them ($75 fee), and we'll see what happens from there. If it works out, I'll be ready to process credit cards in about two weeks, which is just about when I hope to be ready to launch WebFeats. Good timing.
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