A Hiccup on the Technology Front

I own no computer, and no smart phone and no tablet. I do have a hard drive full of data from my defunct computer, a 6 year old ipod nano, a kindle, and a 2 year old nokia cell phone. I sometimes use paper maps.

My computer died in Turkey, on May 1st, 2012. The screen started losing it’s light after a few minutes, but sometimes it would work for an hour. I would be in the middle of doing things, typing or clicking even, and it would just go out.  I have yet to buy a new one.

Before it broke, my computer was having trouble overheating, but the internet in my building was also a nightmare. You would think that a university in a developed country would have fully functioning internet and electricity, but you you be wrong. Sometimes the power would go out 5 times in one day, we would reset our clocks, wait 10 minutes, and maybe the internet would return, maybe the power would go off again. I also did not have wireless in my apartment. There were rumors it was because they thought it would give them cancer, especially bad for pregnant women. I instead used a 25 foot Ethernet chord. This long cable replicated the wireless experience of using the computer while cooking instead of confining me to a desk in the corner of the room.

But in May I couldn’t see my screen.

Naturally I panicked. I spent 5 hours in a friend’s apartment attempting a reinstall of SnowLeopard on my computer, using her functioning Wifi and her computer to google my problem. I emailed my dad and brother frantically to seek their advice. The solutions were not promising: replace the motherboard, buy a new screen, use a flashlight to see the screen, reboot and hold down the power button until it beeps and then type in a letter D and see if diagnostics work. I tried the later, and it failed to fix the problem. I tried restarting it, and the RAM (command+option+P+R to reset MVRAM and PRAM).  This bought me 50 minutes of well lit screen. The flashlight trick was useful; reading my computer by flashlight allowed me to back up my hard drive.

I took the computer to a service center next to Kent Park and CEPA mall, they were certified in Apple products and spoke English. After 5 days they told me it would cost 900 TL to fix because they need to replace the motherboard. That was too much for me. I was on a budget, trying to save half my salary each month, and a surprise expense was not an option. I took it home and backed up the hard drive one more time through the dark screen.

Since I had a computer from work I was able to maintain a semblance of normality. My friends went through a diaspora after college. One in New Orleans, a few in Boston, DC, New York, Seattle, San Francisco, and more went abroad like me. I had also started dating a Brit, and my family was a 7 hour time difference away. I had a skype subscription to make unlimited calls to landlines, 10 dollars for an hour on the phone a day. My computer and my internet were my only connection to people I love.

So I relied on massive clunky Windows machine.

When I got a job offer in Hong Kong, I asked if they expected me to have a computer of my own. They said they would supply a computer for work use, and I could take it home as well. Relieved, I decided to put off the computer purchase until after the expense of moving.

I have now been using a Dell from work (another Windows) for three and a half months. It has been fine, I’ve been writing on it, using skype, etc. I haven’t uploaded my music library or my old docs yet; I’m waiting until I purchase my new machine. Consequently I can’t look up a bunch of things or update my iPod. I’m stuck with the same 658 songs on my bright pink nano that I bought with the laptop nearly 6 years ago.

This situation has suited me just fine. I quite enjoy having fewer items in my possession. But the other day I became aware of a slight problem: this computer has no disc drive. Last May I decided not to get an inexpensive tablet, or a macbook air because I need a disc drive, yet this computer has none. I was going to read some terms and conditions that came to me on a CD when I discovered the issue. I had to have a hard copy sent. After a frustrating phone call in broken English, I still don’t know if I’m getting it in paper.

This also means I will not be able to install any of my software on this computer. No drawing programs, no drawing tablet install, no photoshop and no uploading music from CDs that I don’t actually have.

I was going to do a post today with a diagram, but I realized that shall have to wait, I will, for now, start drawing on paper and scanning it in on the scanner I do not have… One day I will start doing digital drawings again. I will have to rejoin the legion of people with real technology.

My goal: buy a computer of my own before the new year and install my software and upload my music and begin uploading actual drawings. All before Dec. 31. Exciting times.

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