Scott Hanselman

First, turn off everything that beeps

July 13, '07 Comments [20] Posted in Musings
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The power went out today in our neighborhood. I found out when I got this SMS and email from our home:

Scott's Main House: The Panel reported a Power Failure at 12:45 PM on Thursday, July 12 2007. This is a monitoring message from Alarm.com.

One day I'll blog about Alarm.com and how much they rock. Anyway, later I got this message:

Scott's Main House: The Panel had its Power Restored at 1:41 PM on Thursday, July 12 2007. This is a monitoring message from Alarm.com.

I wasn't concerned, of course, because if you remember, Dear Reader, I, as recently as April, put everything of importance of the house on an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). That included the TVs, DVR, four computers, the routers in the wiring closet, everything. They are beefy, and could last the hour the power was out.

However, when I spoke to my wife around 2pm, and she complained about some irritating beeping in the house this afternoon, and wanted to let me know that she went around the house, looking for the beeping, and turned each of the strange beeping devices off.

She reported to me that the gray boxes did stop beeping after she turned them off, but that the house was eerily quiet and that nothing electrical in the house worked. Perhaps we'd lost power at some point, she suggested.

Mental note - Tell wife when I rewire the house.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. I am a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Friday, July 13, 2007 8:29:19 AM UTC
You put the TV(s) on a UPS?

I really don't know what to say about that.

Perhaps you should seek help?
Friday, July 13, 2007 8:50:37 AM UTC
:P

Putting the TV on a UPS, especially a good one, "cleans" the power and prevents damaging brownouts. If you talk to anyone with high-end a/v equipment, they'll all have power cleaners, often in the form of a UPS.
Friday, July 13, 2007 9:58:54 AM UTC
Hmm, perhaps UPS systems should come with GSM+SMS ability and send text messages rather than play annoying beeping noises :)
Friday, July 13, 2007 9:59:54 AM UTC
Damn, I suck. That's exactly what alarm.com was doing for you. Oops.
Friday, July 13, 2007 12:11:08 PM UTC
The moral of the story: Wife should know everything what their husband is up to :)
Friday, July 13, 2007 1:30:49 PM UTC
I had this happen to me as well. I wasn't home and the beeping was disturbing my housemates, so they turned it off.

These home-based UPSs (or all of them for that matter) should have a way to acknowledge the beeping. Maybe they could even communicate through the power lines so they could all be simultaneously shushed.
Friday, July 13, 2007 1:44:41 PM UTC
Check out http://ucontrol.com. This advanced home security service works over three communication channels - broadband, digital cellular and traditional phone lines. It also allows you to remotely control and access your existing alarm system via the web or your cell phone. The best part is their monitoring fees start at $19.95 per month. You can choose a month to month or contract plan.
Tom
Friday, July 13, 2007 1:49:13 PM UTC
Scott, I just have to tell you that as a brand new reader (got here from Atwood's excellent blog) I am getting a kick learning about how you interact with your wife. I am NOT trying to sound disparaging, but it seems to me that you allow yourself to geek out as much as you want (no iPhone yet, though) as long as you can do it under her radar.

I think it's hysterical -- I do many of the same things with my wife, but due to her quitting her job to stay home 2 months ago, it's getting very very difficult. I no longer am able to go drop a couple hundred bucks on some new toy that will revolutionize our lives (even if she doesn't realize how cool it is) because it's much harder to explain away the lack of funds in the budget.

Anyway, I really enjoy your blog, and I hope you continue to intersperse your posts on the tech world with your personal touches. I really enjoy them.
Matt
Friday, July 13, 2007 1:57:02 PM UTC
Putting TV on a UPS also makes good sense if you are in a tornado danger area. Storms that cause tornados often knock out power beforehand, and tornado alarms sometimes aren't very audible. Having a TV on so that you can stay tuned to local emergency stations, and watch local radar, is helpful.
Friday, July 13, 2007 2:56:37 PM UTC

LOL. We all make this mistake. She won't understand (or won't care) until it really matters.
Uslacker
Friday, July 13, 2007 3:10:09 PM UTC
Heh. "The best laid plans of Hanselmans gang oft agley"...
Friday, July 13, 2007 4:45:35 PM UTC
There is a quite smart move to annihilate the wife factor: buy the gadget you are enamored with, and just pretend that you are offering it to HER. Use your best disarming smile when you tend the gift. That worked quite well for me. Warning: there IS a downside... After a while, there is a slight possibility that your wife will slowly morph into a geek herself, which in the long run could very well spell disaster for you.
Friday, July 13, 2007 4:49:40 PM UTC
Oops. Wrong thread. The previous comment was about your attempt to get an iPhone, of course. But now, to be on topic, I could just ask you if you are planning to hook your brand new Newton on your UPS. :-)
Friday, July 13, 2007 6:21:43 PM UTC
That's painfully funny, my wife and coworkers have done the same thing. The APC starts beeping relentlessly and the immediate reaction is to turn the damn thing off. This is, IMHO, a huge usability problem with these devices. I wish they had a switch to disable the audible alarms.
Matt Young
Friday, July 13, 2007 7:09:07 PM UTC
LOL! Awesome! I'm glad I read this, I've been considering a UPS or two for my place. I could totally see my wife doing the same thing. And since my wife is nearly impossible to be mad at, my head would simple explode! :)

What kills me is when these UPS beasts go on the fritz. It's impossible to get them to shut up!
Friday, July 13, 2007 8:00:07 PM UTC
The wife factor has a lot to do with using or not using technologies (latest or not) based on how much the do or don't understand.

I have UPS's for the office and fortunately, the power does not go out very often, because the wife either yells for me to get the beeping to stop or goes on the proverbial easter egg hunt for where the units are located (they are not easily accessible because I experienced Scott's problem a couple of times too many).

Yesterday, the wife received a pop-in alert in her browser that told her that her hard drive was filled with unmentionable data that could cause all kinds of problems. She immediately called asking what she should do. I am glad she decided to ask rather than just push ok buttons.
Saturday, July 14, 2007 4:33:38 AM UTC
Great story. Some (all?) of the APC models will stop beeping if you press the "on" button during the outage.
Jamie da Silva
Wednesday, July 18, 2007 1:54:26 AM UTC
In a past job, I was the IT guy at work ... back when small business servers were kept in the main office with the rest of the employees. I got a call at lunch that the computer system was down. None of the terminals worked. When I arrived at the office, I found someone had turned off the server. Under the hot lights of interrogation, I found out that it was making a loud screeching noise, so they turned it off. Coincidentally, the terminals stoped working after that.

I found out two important pieces of information that day ... my hard drive was going bad ... and I needed a server closet. Ahhh, the good ole days.

John Brown
Saturday, July 21, 2007 2:46:56 AM UTC
This story is so good I just read this post to my wife. She enjoyed it too. She said "This sounds like something that you would do!"

I just replied, "Scott is uber geek." :)

Monday, July 23, 2007 12:16:44 AM UTC
Awsome. I can see my wife doing exactly the same thing if there were beeping noises.

Mental note to self: disconnect or disable the buzzers/speakers of any UPS devices in my home if at all possible.
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.