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UPS : Uninterruptible Power Supply
This handy device, supplied by Xytron Data Recovery, is an uninterruptible power supply. The idea is that you can have a computer plugged in, and then if the electricity fails, the computer stays on! So, instead of being unceremoniously cut off in mid-flow with the obvious risks of data loss, the computer is kept on, even though the room lights are off, and it's now possible to do something sensible such as finishing off what you're working on and shut the computer down cleanly.
Uninterruptible power supplies have been available for a while now, but they have previously been huge, possibly expensive, and not always particularly efficient. Yet this UPS by Trust is quite small and lightweight, and affordable. In fact, I think it may be possible at some time to perform some trick with a UPS which would show off its abilities in a spectacular style by using it as a portable mains supply which can be carried around!
Another thing about the Trust UPS is that it comes complete with an insurance policy! According to the wording, if you use the device as recommended by the manufacturers, they will insure your computer equipment for 20,000 euros, against being struck by lightning and against any type of mains spike or outage causing damage to your computer. That sounds amazing!
I've read the smallprint and it seems to be genuine, and although I could raise doubts about the exclusion clause of any kind of mains adaptors being used (doesn't everyone use adaptors?), and the prospect that Trust could (in theory at least) send their appointed representative round at the customer's expense, there is no reason to suppose they would actually do this, and the clause is probably there just to cover them!
I wondered about the adaptors and at first I could see no reason for this. Taken literally, any installation in which 4-way mains sockets, adaptors, multiple connectors, etc are used, voids the insurance. But surely as it's a UPS, no amount of dodginess in the wiring is going to play it up? But on thinking about this again, although Trust have nothing to fear from adaptors BEFORE the UPS, a problem could arise if the customer puts adaptors AFTER the UPS, because any faults in the wiring could cause a failure which the UPS can do nothing about.
Plus, on the matter of whether the customer may have to pay for the time of the qualified engineer to inspect the installation and to leave the whole system offline for several days, there is an easy way to tell whether we need worry about this or not. The uninterruptible power supplies are likely to be so popular that there will soon be a lot of them in use, and then sooner or later a few people are going to try to put in claims, and we will see for ourselves what people have to say about what happened. My own opinion is that there won't be much of a problem, and if anyone is struck by lightning I'd guess Trust will be happy to pay out, especially as there will be a lot of good PR to be had!
Watch this space for further updates on the interesting developments about the Trust UPS. I have no reason to doubt it, and plenty of reasons to trust it.
Also see Xytron Data Recovery, and this portable USB disc drive by Western Digital
Incidentally, the photo of the UPS (above, left) shows it in use, live, under the tables with the computers on at Zyra Internet. It's like a 4x4 being shown off in rugged terrain rather than in the showroom. The fact I have a lot of untidy wiring involved in my computer system doesn't affect the use of the UPS at all. The server it's protecting is connected by a basic euro cable to the UPS. If the power fails, the server stays on!
Another good point that was made: If you live in a reasonably free society, it's up to you what you do on your computer and no-one should bother you. However, if you live in a Police State (eg. the old Soviet Union before it was liberated, North Korea, or the UK if it keeps going the tragic way it seems to be going in 2009), it's worth knowing that one of the things the enforcers do when they raid you is they cut off the power. In the old Soviet Union that meant you couldn't get your naughty capitalist VHS tape out of the videotape machine. Later police states have been known to use the same tactic to try to snatch your data before you have a chance to take defensive measures. However, a UPS can be helpful in such situations, as you can see the pre-UPS lamps go off, and you can see it's a raid, so you have a chance to do something about it. Note: If you have nothing to hide, you should still take paranoid measures to hide the nothing really well, thus keeping the enemy busy chasing ghosts.