Over at Gear Diary Kerry Woo is unwittingly making me feel guilty about my computer setup - yes, I'm surge protected (well, not me personally) but seeing them review Belkin's Battery Backup with Flashlight reminds me that should the power go out it'll instantly take the PC with it. UPS (uninterrupted power supplies) used to be huge, ugly grey blocks that lurked in the corner, but Belkin are making overtures for more visible areas of the house with a design that's both vaguely attractive and also includes a handy battery-powered torch.
With only four battery-protected sockets (plus a further two which are surge-protected but not UPS linked) this isn't going to be suitable for even the smallest of office environments, and Belkin warn only one computer system should be plugged in at a time, but come the fateful day when the power dies on you it'll give you up to twenty minutes to finish what you're doing and shut down safely.
Belkin include PC software that can monitor the Battery Backup and automatically shut the machine down if you're not there to do it manually; it's not, however, compatible with Macs. Less platform-specific is the loud buzzer which warns you that you're running off-grid. Finally, the detachable flashlight magically turns on as soon as the power goes out; handy, but I have to disagree with one of Kerry's comments in the review:
"It’s never fun to panic in the dark!"
Obviously you've never taken a walk through the park at night, Kerry - you bring your flashlight and I'll bring the thermos! The Belkin Battery Backup with Flashlight retails for a not-unreasonable $99.99.
The Belkin Battery Backup with Flashlight review [Gear Diary]