Here We Go Again!

Most of my regular visitors have no doubt been surprised that there have been no new posts on this site since 21 June; there're not alone, I am as disappointed and frustrated as they are. The explanation for this sudden pause, however, is probably not a surprise; to make a long story short, a few weeks ago I encountered a set of what I initially thought were minor computer problems. Because I already had several nearly-completed essays scheduled for the start of July, and because I am a firm believer in the old adage that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure", I decided to take my laptop to a repair shop well in advance of the July 4th Holiday weekend with the idea of replacing my increasingly tired hard drive and, since my computer was already going to be on the work bench anyway, of adding a few other upgrades while I was at it. Unfortunately, once the technicians at the computer shop set to work, they discovered that, besides a hard drive that was on its last legs (which I already knew), my laptop also had an insideous and difficult to diagnose "mother board" problem (which I did not know). In short, my computer (with all of its hundreds of document files, etc., etc.) was on the verge of breathing its last! Because of the holiday and the repeated diagnostic tests that had to be run (my computer has recently decided to turn itself off for no apparent reason) all this took two weeks; thus, I only received this dire prognosis yesterday afternoon.

What all this really means, of course, is that, in order for me to resume blogging on a regular basis, I will have to invest in yet another computer; for what it's worth, I have now already burned through two "high end" laptops in six and a half years. In the meantime, I will be able to respond to comments and to generate a few short posts on my wife's machine, but I really have a difficult time writing on her computer because of the way that her keyboard and "mouse" are set up. That being said, it looks like my wife (she's the computer expert in the family) and I will be shopping for a new computer this weekend. Which should mean, with a bit of luck, that I should be able to resume writing by the first of next week (all those software and file transfers, after all). This time around, however, I think that I will turn my attention towards acquiring a bulkier (but more robust) desktop; given my past experiences, laptops just don't seem to be working out that well for me.

Needless-to-say, given my past luck in the "computer department", if any of you, my readers, have any thoughts on this issue, I invite you to comment or to make suggestions: hopefully, of course, before I actually take the plunge and buy another machine!


  • Two computers in six years is not so bad... a new computer every three years is a pretty good rule of thumb.

    I hope/assume you have/had everything of importance backed up?

    Not that it appears to be an issue, but have considered storing your files "in the cloud"? I use Google Apps and like it a lot. One advantage it has is that my documents are available to me wherever I am (assuming an internet connection of course). Also, there is Dropbox which is a great "in the cloud" storage site.

    Even though I backup my files religiously, I still appreciate the piece of mind knowing my files are "in the cloud" and always available. (Assuming of course the vendors don't go out of business or have a catastrophic hardware failure. Sigh... There's always something to worry about, isn't there?)

  • Yes! -off PC storage! is the answer. Your documents are precious. I lost 5 years of family photos! Ugh. THREE HDD fails. Impossible. But it happens. As costs go down so too does quality.

    Invest in a mainstream computer that has changeable everything motherboard etc. If you are not tech savvy then buy one from a major retailer like Fryes...NOT BEST BUY. take the insurance. Find a person you trust to monitor manage your pc. - relatively cool location, dust free, remember to turn it off, they dont like being on 24/7. Regardless of what ANYONE says, its not a mainframe. If you want more help ping me at me email address or leave me a not on my blog with a direct email address. I love your blog, and writing style. I would be happy to help. email:

  • Greetings Kimbo:

    Thank you for your sympathetic words and for your suggestions, all of which seem more than reasonable.

    As you currectly inferred, my documents are all safe. After my last bad experience, I went to the trouble of doing regular back-ups of my files; hence, I currently have everything backed-up off of my machine.

    So far as my current situation is concerned, my wife seems to think that a desktop would be a better bet this time around. I opted to purchase the first laptop years ago with the thought that I would ultimately be doing a little "live-blogging" from a few of my favorite wargaming conventions. Unfortunately, declining health (I'm pretty old, after all) combined with a visceral (and increasing) distaste for air travel has put most of the more distant conventions out of reach, at least for the time being.

    In any case, I will start looking for a replacement computer this weekend. Thankfully, my wife is tech-savvy enough to install all of my old programs onto the new machine once we get it home, so my downtime shouldn't be that extended.

    Thanks again for your interest and advice, and
    Best Regards, Joe

  • Greetings Sharp:

    Thank you for your kind words and for your offer to help; I appreciate both.

    Your point about heat and dust really goes to the heart of my problem here in Phoenix. Since, even with the airconditioning running, my machine tends to get a little warm in the course of a typical day, I don't know what would really solve the problem [I already use a "fan base" but I'm not convinced that it really does that much good]. My main problem is that I tend to spend a lot of time every day (12 hours plus) at the keyboard, first doing my initial writing and then, of course, going back to edit and re-edit my essays (as well as tracking down illustrations) before I finally get them in what I consider to be good enough shape to publish. What this means is that my computer seldom gets much of a chance to shut down and cool off.

    In any case, I will keep you posted as to my progress (such as it is) at this end.

    Thanks again for your several suggestions and for your offer to help!

    Best Regards, Joe

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