UPS cable didn't work. A cool work-around
Got me a new APC UPS... problem was, whenever I plugged it in (a USB cable) my system would not boot. Never passed the BIOS tests.
Flashed the BIOS to the latest version. Same problem. Googling, the concensus seems to be that some APC smart UPS cables do not play nice with the USB ports and/or mobos on some Dells.
Got a USB card. Same problem... would not boot to anything.
Was going to get APC to swap my smart cable for a dumb cable... some people say that works.
Then I found this advice in the UPS how-to.
Find an old serial modem. Install powerd. Tell powerd the old serial modem is your UPS. When the modem loses power, powerd throws an INIT, and launches genpowerfail, causing system shutdown to begin. Not especially a pretty solution, but a darn good work-around if you ask me.
My system would then go through the motions of shutting down, and then stop, with the word "power down" on the console. The box was still powered, though. $%@%!, will it never end.
Fiddled with the startup settings. No joy. More googling. Found out that the 'apm' module can power down my box. It's configed as a module in my install, but wasn't being loaded, so I added a modprobe apm on startup, and now, when the power goes out, my box shuts down and powers off. I'm pretty happy with the situation... it's not using the UPS's smart capabilities, but my box will get shut down nicely when the power goes out next time. Fscking A!