4.5 mice. ; Sophisticated Circuits, 425/485-7979, www.sophisticated.com; $179
If you’d like to have your Mac restart after a crash or power failure but don’t need the PowerKey Pro USB 650’s six programmable power outlets to do it, then Sophisticated Circuits’ Kick-Off 1.5 is for you.
The Kick-Off is a mouse-size, transparent plastic nodule with a USB cable and a power cable; just plug your computer into the Kick-Off, connect the USB cable, and configure the software–version 1.5 now supports OS X, as well as OS 8.6 through 9. (Unfortunately, though, no OS X server applications support it yet.)
The Kick-Off doesn’t offer the scheduling capabilities of the PowerKey Pro, but it can monitor server applications for crashes or detect any application crash in OS 8.6 through 9. It can then restart those applications, or restart the machine after a predetermined number of program crashes.
Like the Admin version of the PowerKey Pro, the Kick-Off will power cycle your Mac and send a start-up signal via USB if it can’t communicate with its software for a certain period of time. The Kick-Off has LEDs that tell you its status at a glance, such as normal operation, computer asleep, outlet turned off, and so forth; however, the unit inevitably seemed to tilt so that the LEDs were out of sight-a downside of its rounded shape.
At $179, the Kick-Off is certainly not a casual purchase, but it will bring your computer back online after a power failure and help keep it running, and that alone can be priceless.