Over the holidays we bought a APC home battery backup system for our “server” iMac. This came with their PowerChute software, which allows the backup to notify the computer when the power goes out, so the computer can shut down semi-gracefully when the battery gets low during an outage.
I was debating whether to install this software (which in theory supports Mac OS X), so I did some Googling first. There wasn’t anything very concrete, but there were some suggestions that Apple had included this kind of software in OS X at some point, and that Apple’s was much better than APC’s.
So I plugged in the provided cable that ran from the battery backup to a USB port, and Lo! and Behold! it immediately recognized the battery backup and nifty new options appeared in the Energy Saver panel of System Preferences! I set it to shutdown when the battery was down to 95% of capacity, and unplugged the battery backup from the wall, and it shut down beautifully. Without APC’s software.
Thanks to all those that contributed to the many technologies great and small that allowed me to figure this out quickly and without having to call people, or post questions, or any of those annoying things.