BootsnAll Travel Network

Computer problems…


I picked up the Samsung laptop from my friend in Goa, India. He had bought it when he was living in Korea. It was a pretty good deal for $250US as he was a DJ so on top of the laptop I was able to pick and choose any music and movies off his portable hard drive. The system itself was pretty good for a home system as it was a 15.4” Wide screen with a Bose style sound system. For traveling however it was definitely bulky. With the cable and inverter it was about four kilos or basically the same weight as all my other belongings in my pack. Buying that laptop also created another benefit as I was really not happy about the doubled pack weight so I ended up buying my first motorcycle, Schwinn. Later that evolved into a Russian Minsk motorcycle (Sasha) and finally a “be like a local” scooter (Amo). Had I not purchased the laptop I world have been bussing it the whole time and would have most likely ended my trip after year three as I had become very negative about the whole local transport thing.

The benefits of the laptop were significantly higher as I was on such a long trip. For a shorter year or so and definitely had I not been writing such an extremely in depth blog, the laptop would have been much less significant. With the newness of traveling wearing off and the challenges being nominal, the laptop provided an outlet for my traveling wary lifestyle and also allowed for a small sense of back home normalcy ie. Tv. Playing games, watching videos, wifi Internet access occassionally, writing (blog), and photo storing/editing became a benefit and with the use of my own transport, came at no extra burden. Outside of those benefits, the initial cost of the laptop itself was paid for in savings from the ocasional free wifi I got from hotels or cafes.

The problems were minimally due to security issues and the worries of not wanting it to get stolen versus carrying nothing of value and not carrying if someone stole my unwashed, worn out clothes. Outside of the laptop, my backpack itself was the most expensive thing that I was carrying and now that it had gone through a lot of wear and tear, most thieves probably wouldn´t have wanted it. After a while, I even gave up on the worries and didn´t go out of my way to secure it. There were some extra costs that did add up when things broke.

– $20 Repair hard drive (Nepal)
– $50 New hard drive (Nepal)
– $60 New hard drive (Cambodia)
– $7 New portable keyboard
– $25 Repair ac/dc port (Bangkok)
– $70 Repair video card (Bangkok)

So in the end I ended up doubling the initial cost. On paper it works out to be a lot less of a good deal, but I had also remembered taking that laptop up over five 5000+ meter mountains, through pouring rains, in freezing cold rooms where I used it as a heater in bed, over the most inhospitable hot and dusty terrain, and countless hours of Counter-strike fun. Basically, I abused the shit out of it, and like the motorcycles of the past, I felt a duty to help keep them running. Good times.

In the end, and at its end, the last repairs which I did in Bangkok lasted about three weeks before the screen went black and there was no way to fix it. The laptop is dead. The final blow was that the night before it died, I had written up and prepped photos for the last of my Thailand travels. I was a bit tired and lazy so I neglected to shut the computer down. Prior to that I had installed an alarm clock on the laptop (an ingenious program) and had set up the laptop to never shut off or go into sleep mode. The monitor itself would go off when the screen was closed, but the computer itself would stay running. I am pretty sure I ended up cooking the video card by doing that. Anyways, the next morning the screen was black and there was no way to get at my files. It was heart breaking, even more so than knowing the laptop was dead. To be honest, I was just going to wipe my hands of the whole blog. It took a lot of effort to write up those last entries (okay, not a lot by other peoples standards, but it was really tough for me), and I wasn´t going to do it again. And if I couldn´t finish off the Thailand section, then I couldn´t go on any further. It was to be the end. After some problem solving I came up with the idea of buying an adapter that would allow me to plug the hard drive into an adapter which could connect to a usb port. Problem solved. I had seen them in Bangkok for a few dollars, but where I was at the only option was to spend $22. So, that is why the prior entry saying those had cost $22.

This entry was going to be more about the repair troubles that I had in Bangkok and the related issues corresponding to my prior entry about getting anything done while traveling. It seems kind of worthless now but in short, my repair time in Bangkok consisted of eight visits to Patnip Plaza (Mega-computer shopping mall), first time to drop the laptop off, second time as the repair lasted a half an hour, a third time when I wouldn´t take it back as their ¨repair¨came out the same as the second time and was already screwing up, and fourth time when the video card started going bad. Each of these was followed by a return to pick up so in actuality I had to drive my ass across Bangkok traffic no less than eight times to get the thing running and in the end it lasted three weeks and a waste of $100.

So in the end, I am writing this all up in an internet cafe, which actually is better because like what I found when studying in College, you are about three times more efficient studying in a secluded cubicle in the library versus in front of the tv or other distractions. Quality wise I don´t know if there is much more benefit as I pretty much just one shot write something and don´t take the time to review it (come on, I´m not charging anybody to read this). I´ll just have to see how this no laptop traveling is going to work out. I can tell you though, I am carrying bare minimums again and I like it. If I miss it, they have those little netbooks for a few hundred that I could always pick up, we´ll see how it going.

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2 responses to “Computer problems…”

  1. dan says:

    Hey, your vast audience really appreciates the crap you go through to keep writing this thing. You’re the best.

  2. snarky says:

    Agree with the above! We’d miss your posts (and knowing you are still alive out there).


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