Power Outages and Lessons Learned

We tend to have a lot of power outages here in Anchorage – sometimes due to wet, heavy snow, but more frequently it’s from colliding weather systems sending strong winds down the mountains (often 100 mph or greater). There didn’t seem to be anything that severe last week, but I noticed the lights flickering and dimming a number of times, and an unusual number of light bulbs needed to be replaced around the house.

I’ve been amazed over the years that I’ve never had a piece of computer equipment fail. Not a single hard disk, CPU or monitor. Of course, I have simple surge protectors everywhere – except on one TiVo.

Michele called me at work to report that the TiVo was behaving strangely – lots of pixelation, stuttering and stopping. It would response to commands from the remote control – but in slow motion (sometimes minutes). I had her try a reboot, but the problems persisted.

A quick search over at the Tivo Community Forums made it clear that the problem was due to a hard disk problem. Following a link to WeaKnees.com I quickly decided it was best to upgrade the 80-hour TiVo with a 120gb drive, but since it was Friday I was going to have to wait until Monday for the replacement drive to arrive.

In the meantime, I picked up a surge protector with battery backup for the TiVo, as well as one for each computer, and started a long-overdue backup of some critical data to DVDs.

The replacement drive arrived from Weaknees yesterday, and installation was incredibly simple. It was also an opportunity to do a little housekeeping inside the TiVo – there was some pretty hefty dust buildup inside. Going through the guided setup was easy, but a little slow (I guess I was a little impatient), but within an hour the TiVo was back in business, with season passes set up – all ready for tonight’s premier of the Amazing Race!

I’ll be doing backups on the computers on a more regular basis now – I suspect that my lucky streak has ended, and it’s just a matter of time until something else gets zapped.

Posted on November 16, 2004
Filed Under Computing | 1 Comment


One Response to “Power Outages and Lessons Learned”

  1. Royce on November 16th, 2004 3:08 pm

    A lesson for us all — I will try to benefit from your misfortune and do some checking up on my backups tonight. 🙂

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