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Monday, July 20, 2015

R.I.P Shawn’s Dell Latitude D830

My Workhorse in better days
A couple of weeks ago my Dell Latitude D830 bit the dust. The video card on the motherboard died.

As an A+ Certified IT Technician there wasn’t anything I could do to fix it. Once the motherboard is gone…the computer is pretty much DEAD.

I’m gonna miss my old laptop. My Dell Latitude D830 was my primary computer from October 2008 to January of 2015. It was the computer where I started the SJS DIRECT imprint, the computer where I learned how to format POD Paperbacks, design covers, and eBooks.

The Dell Latitude D830 was the computer where I learned Adobe Acorobat and Adobe Photoshop. In the past seven years I’ve become quite proficient. at using both software packages to create .PDF book interiors and covers for all my titles.  

It was also the laptop where I refined my writing craft. On that laptop I learned more about screenwriting, teleplay writing, the novel and the short story. With the help of online friends I learned more about writing and writing techniques.

Cover design on the old Dell
Thanks to all I learned about digital publishing on that computer, I cleared the backlog of manuscripts under my bed and published paperback editions of All About Marilyn, The Temptation of John Haynes, All About Nikki The Fabulous First season, The Thetas, The Isis series, and eBooks in theThe Simp Trilogy. Over the last seven years using that computer I expanded my catalog to almost 50 different titles.  

The Dell was the computer where I learned the ins and outs of book promotion. It was the computer where I learned how to write press releases, and strategies for targeting readers with promotional campaigns for books.

On the Dell I learned more about social media and met lots of great people. In the last seven years I’ve met a national bestselling author, models, actresses, lots of awesome comic artists like Terry Beatty, Mike Williams (Artist on the AWESOME Deak Sledge strip) , and Bill Walko (artist and writer of the GREAT Hero Busine$$ strip), reconnected with classmates from CES 132, and met lots of great men and women all over the world on Facebook and YouTube.

On that laptop I expanded the audience for my blog from a hundred hits a day to over one thousand hits a day. At one point the blog was averaging 5,000 to 6,000 hits a day! With the blog now at well over a million hits, has grown in popularity and now has a growing following of regular readers. 

While my old laptop was a solid performer for the last seven years, it did have its share of problems. The DVD drive died. But thankfully it was under warranty and I got a new one. Unfortunately when the extended Warranty ended, the cooling fan died. And I went through FIVE count em’ FIVE AC chargers. And finally both hinges that held the screen up broke. For a time I had to literally prop the laptop up on pillows or my briefcase just to use it to write. 

As an A+ Certified IT technician I fixed quite a few things on this laptop to keep it running over the last seven years. I replaced the cooling fan. Replaced the broken hinges with new ones. Partitioned and formatted the hard drive TWICE and reinstalled ALL the software TWICE. I’d have to say I learned more about PC repair fixing this laptop than I did in my PC repair class. I don’t know if that’s a testament to my skills or Dell’s poor build quality.  

I’d love to replace the motherboard in this Latitude, (You can donate through the PayPal link to help me do that)  but with me STILL being out of work, money is tight right now. Even with me selling toys on eBay I’m still living day-to-day. And with this computer being seven years old I don’t know if it’d be worth it to invest in another motherboard.

For now I’m working from my Macbook Pro, a computer I bought as a backup in 2011. I remember being in a jam in August of 2007 when my first laptop, a Dell Inspiron 2500 died. And I had to live without a computer for a year. I was right in the middle of revisions on All About Marilyn when that laptop died. That was one of the worst experiences in my life.

Living without a computer put my entire life on HOLD. I couldn’t get e-mail, or communicate with anyone about jobs, queries, or even access the budding world of social media. I swore I wouldn’t be stuck like that again. Which is why I bought the Mac as a backup. Living without a computer means you can’t do anything and these days. With most of the job leads online and most of the business going on with e-mail and social media having no computer is a death sentence.

My Dell Latitude D830 opened up the world to me and allowed me to connect to a large international audience of readers. It was a tool that allowed me to build a publishing imprint and an eBook business. It was a tool that allowed me to reconnect with people and build an audience of readers. It was a way to make friends with people all over the world. If I had a full-time job I’d replace it in a heartbeat. Buying that computer was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. It helped me move my writing career forward.
R.I.P old friend. You helped me come a long way...

I’d love to buy a new PC to replace the broken Dell, but until I have a new full-time job I’ll have to make do with my Mac. Thankfully I have Parallels Desktop installed on this Mac and Windows XP with all my old software on it like Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Photoshop Elements on its partition. So I’ll still be able to publish books like Spinsterella this Halloween. I’m still persevering, still pushing and still trying to keep going like God told me…

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