Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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06/09/2004: "Computer Dies One Month Past Warranty!"

technorati tags: Despair!

Well, I'm breaking my cardinal rule of not blogging at work because last night my computer that I bought April 30th 2003 went kaplooey. (More on that later).

I went out for pizza with friends last night where I discovered, yet again, that I'm a downer as a person...we were discussing how too much news is unhealthy for a person and one friend who is a Well, I'm breaking my cardinal rule of not blogging at work because last night my computer that I bought April 30th 2003 went kaplooey. (More on that later).

I went out for pizza with friends last night where I discovered, yet again, that I'm kind of a downer as a person...we were discussing how too much news is unhealthy for a person and one friend who is a Buddhist was talking about why it's better to detach and meditate and find inner peace and enlightenment, that achieving personal happiness should be the first and most important goal in life, and my assertion is that that strategy is fine if you're in a developing nation, but when you live in one of the most wealthy and powerful nations in the world, you have a responsibility to stay informed as much as possible which is at direct odds with finding inner peace and happiness.

I know I'd be a happier and healthier person if I wasn't such a news junkie but I need to know what decisions are being made by my government, decisions that affect my life and the lives of billions of people around the globe. We have the right and privilege to vote and too many people take that for granted and vote on issues without having the facts, and it's never easy to find out what the facts are, and you can't achieve it with just one or two sources.

Anyway, I feel badly because I think my friends just wanted to go out and have pizza and have fun and talk about boys and summer plans etc. and I seem to always end up being the buzz kill. Then after dinner I was watching The Daily Show and one of the correspondents was at a fund raising dinner for Dennis Kucinich and afterwards the correspondent was talking to the host of the party who was ranting and raving about this social injustice and that social injustice and the report's voiceover said something like, "I've learned one thing about Kucinich supporters, being around them makes me want to kill myself".

OK, the Daily Show is a comedy, I know, I know, but that hit a little too close to home and I realize that I come across too intense most of the time and maybe I need to tone it down a little.

But back to the computer, I came home from dinner, checked my email, put the Dell on standby and started doing chores around the house in preparation for my family's visit (starting on Friday night) and then a couple hours later go back to check again and I gave my mouse the standard wiggle and there was nothing. Then I hit the keyboard, still nothing. Checked the power supply (it's plugged into a surge protector and backup power supply) all was in order but it wouldn't power on. The fan wasn't coming on, the power light, nothing except for the light for the Ethernet card. Since my computer is one month past it's year warranted, I can break the seal on it and check to see if the connection of the internal power supply is secure between it and the motherboard, drivers, fan, etc. I'm hoping something just jostled loose when I put my subwoofer on top of the tower to watch Black Hawk Down a couple days ago. I've already trouble shooted the power supply from the computer to the outlet, unplugged it overnight and tried to start it this morning, nothing, no beeps, no lights save for the Ethernet card light...I changed the outlet, checked everything I could think of. If I need to replace internal components it's going to suck...I work on a network at my job where everything is automatically backed up and it has made me lazy at home. I haven't backed up anything. If the motherboard is toast, I'm going to cry. Although my video files for Kite Club are on an external hard drive, the nearly completed project itself is saved to the hard drive. I can't access the invitations I designed that I was going to order this morning ironically, I won't have a computer for my family's visit after I promised them all they'd be able to check their email etc. (they're all as bad as me).

Seems a whole cascade of bad joo joo has hit me. Maybe there is a Buddhist lesson to be learned here?

Replies: 13 Comments

on Wednesday, June 9th, John said

Ok, being a former comp. sci. major (yes, I made the financially irresponsible decision to switch to fine art from comp. sci.)and current general tech head, maybe I can help. First, you put your subwoofer on top of the computer?! Speakers, and subwoofers create MAGNETIC fields. Just like you shouldn't use refridgerator magnets to stick papers to your case, you shouldn't place speakers or subwoofers on top. But, what's done is done. First, I don't know exactly why this will sometimes work, but it does (I think it has something to do with quantum physics, paradox, and gremlins) unplug your computer from the wall, unplug the monitor, unplug the key board, mouse, speakers, ethernet, and all your other peripherals (while you're at it unplug your router and cablemodem to let them cool down for good measure too), unplug all the peripherals power supplies, reset your surge protector (if it has a reset button) and unplug it, reset the UPS and unplug it. leave it all unplugged for at least a minute, preferably more. allow any components that are warm to the touch to completely cool off before proceeding. Then go back and plug your peripherals in, and then plug the power supplies in (if you unplugged the power supplies from the bits themselves instead of from the power supply, make sure you know which suppleis go to which components, plugging one in incorrectly, even for a second could fry a component). try to power it on. If that doesn't work, then crack open your case, and from the way you said you would do that, I assume you know your way around the inside of a computer, and it could be almost literally anything that is causing the problem, check to make sure the cords to all deviced and boards are tight, perhaps unplug them and re-seat them, while you're in there might as well blow the dust out, make sure there's nothing caught in the fans as that may prevent the fan from spinning, which may prevent the machine from starting, etc. it could be that the connection on the motherboard is blown, since you have a dell, the only way to fix that is to get dell to service it, it could be that the power supply itself is blown, since you have a tower case, I assume the power supply is at the top, and thus is the most likely component to have been affected by the subwoofer (tho, since it didn't happen right away, I doubt that that had anything to do with your problems), if the power supply is blown, then you have to get a new one, I don't know if dell uses standard power supplies, they probably do, tho PC makers will make anything they can custom so you have to go to them for parts. however, if the power supply or the motehrboard is blown, there's no way to tell which one is dead just from observing it, the way to tell is to get another power supply with a compatible motherboard connection and plug it in. Oh, and of course I think of the simplest solution last, make sure the external power supply switch is switched on (some, if not all newer computers have a switch on the back of the power supply). If you're machine is dead and you won't be repairing it, your files on your hard drive are still most likely intact, to retrieve them, although it's a bitch and a half to do it, remove the hard drive from your machine, look at the jumpers, change the jumper settings from master to slave, and plug it into another computer's IDE chain as the slave to another master hard drive, boot up the other computer and transfer your files to your external hard drive, or cd or dvd or whatnot. Oh, there are otehr things that could be wrong that are preventing boot up, your processor could be dead, if that were the case the machine would get power, but the screen would be blank (tho fans would be running) and most likely all that would happen is it might beep. If you're using a non-usb keyboard the keyboard controller could be dead, tho fi that were the case, the machine would boot and tell you there was a keyboard error. Try all that, call dell or a local tech shop. Most places usually do either free estimates or cheap estimates. If the power supply is dead that's a 40 dollar part that you can replace yourself (tho you may need a professional to determine that) if it's the motherboard the part could cost hundreds of dollars (especially since they would probably have to get it from dell, and may need to upgrade your processor as a board compatible with your processor may be unavailable), and if ti's the processor, that's a part that could be replaced by yourself, but it's such a simple job you might as well have someone else do it since if they screw it up, it's their fault. There's so many different things from different vendors in a modern computer that even the most innocuous thing could cause a total failure.

on Wednesday, June 9th, John said

Whoops, didn't mean to write a book there. :)

on Wednesday, June 9th,">Elise said

Thanks a lot John, when I got my MLIS I was on a systems administrator track, that's what I thought I'd end up doing, working in library automations department...but I got into instruction instead and I like it a lot though I miss mucking about with computers and I haven't done much work with PCs (I was primarily a Mac girl) and you can't open a Dell without negating the warranty so I haven't peeked inside this one at all yet and I'm feeling a bit out of practice.

Good suggestions all, I have a wireless mouse and keyboard (logitech) it was my first thought actually but there was no fan, no beep, no powerlight etc. on the tower so I ruled that out. I was going to disconnect everything tonight. I didn't have the stomach for it last night, I had just cleaned out my fridge (terrifying really) and was a little fried. I agree that sometimes powering everything down, then taking everything apart and putting it back together again will magically cure some computer problems, but I have my doubts that will be the case in this instance.

As far as putting the sub woofer on the tower, that was a bonehead move and I even thought as I was doing it..."this is probably a bad idea" to be honest, I don't know why I did it. I never thought about the electromagnatism factor. grrrr so much to remember.

If I do go inside, I'll be sure to ground myself as the computer is sitting on carpet and that is one rule I learned the hard way. In some ways, computers are really hardy and not as fragile and intimidating as people think, but in other ways, it can often be hard to isolate a problem and sometimes going in and mucking about can create further problems. I mean, buying a new Dell on special could almost be cheaper than replacing a bunch of individual components and sending in for servicing. I was talking about it this morning with a co-worker who built his own machine and I was starting to realize how screwed you can be for going with a pre-packaged deal with a lot of cheap propriatary components.

Anyway, live and learn. I've had two offers from techys here on campus to come by and look at if I can't fix it myself. I prefer to try things myself first so I'll print out your comment to take home with me and give it the old college try tonight. It's amazing how disconnected from the world I feel being without my computer at home for less than 24 hours.

how pathetic I am!

Thanks again, I really do appreciate the advice.

Oh, and as for the trading cards, it does sound like a good idea. I found this printing company that makes business card sized refrigerator magnets. Something like art trading card magnets would go over real well...don't you think?

on Wednesday, June 9th,">Jackie said

E: At work, our new computer stations are all Dell Dimension 4500s. When my unit was only a few months old, I came in to work one day, turned on my computer, and...nothing. The CPU light came on, but the screen stayed black. Come to find out the video cards in all our brand new Dells were crappola, so our tech guys had to replace some, and sometimes, I just have to uplug the CPU from the wall for 30 seconds, and then all works well. So you may just have some lemony parts in your Dell. Anyway - good luck - hope it's not too major! :(

on Wednesday, June 9th, John said

Art trading card magnets would be very cool, then you've got a built-in means of displaying them, as long as people don't stick em to their computers. :)

In the end if you have to replace a bunch of expensive parts it will almost certainly be cheaper to just get a new one. OR Take the working components from your existing computer and use them to build up a new computer.

Hey, with no computer at home for a while think of how much more painting you can get done.

I don't know if you've seen it, but you should check out this story:

on Wednesday, June 9th, John said

Oh, about grounding yourself. Just set the box up on a counter or desk or tabletop, keep the cats away, and if you plug the computer into the outlet, and touch the metal part of the case with one hand, while working with the other, you will be grounded (even if it's powered off, even if the power supply is toast, the case will still be connected to the 'ground' on the electrical outlet) No you can't electrocute yourself doing that, unless you open up the power supply and stick your finger where it doesn't belong, or stick one of the power cords in your mouth, etc.

on Wednesday, June 9th,">Elise said

HA HA! I think that's hilarious. It sounds like somebody is taking themselves too seriously, and it wasn't the artist! I mean, come on, artists are supposed to be rebels and attack the establishment, I think that it was cool he was able to pull it off (no pun intended).

And yes, the magnets are more expensive than regular trading cards, obviously, but worth it I think.

Here's where I found them:

And thanks for the words of encouragement Jackie. I'm so sad right now over this, I really do think I need to learn the Buddhist ability to not get attached to material goods. sigh...

on Wednesday, June 9th,">Stacy said

Your business cards look great, you look like youíre doing an amazing job with your show pieces. They would look great as trading cards/magnets too. Iíve printed some artwork on magnets and the print quality seems even better than on paperÖ

What time did Jennifer go to the opening? Iím not positive, but it looked like the auction did relatively well from what I saw after the show. I saw that your acrylic piece sold, but quite surprised that the other didnít. The general feelings I got from the items were that they were pretty average, but your framed drawing stood out. I contracted the shortlived norovirus off the cruiseship, so I was stuck at home sick for the day. It really sucked and what was worse was that I was just about recovered when the show was about to open (but still contagious). HmmÖ What did Jennifer think of the show altogether? Iíll have all my stuff up there for this month (nothing sold), so just drop a time and date, and we can meet there sometime if you want. Iím usually downtown everyday from noon to late evening.

on Wednesday, June 9th,">Elise said

Norovirus? Yikes, that's scary. How do they diagnose something like that? Do you work in a gift shop downtown? I think I may have come in there a few years back to videotape some of the bear knick nacks on sale for a music video I was shooting? Or that may have been another student?

Anyway, Jennifer and I didn't talk at length about it, she was in a hurry so she didn't really say anything and maybe she went through early? I'll ask her.

Since the drawing didn't sell, will I get that back? Let me know. I'm surprised too, I would have guessed the drawing would have sold before the acrylic but there's no accounting for taste.

Sorry to hear you didn't sell anything at the opening. Selling art is a tough gig. I'm actually not looking forward to my opening because after all this work if I don't sell anything it will be a let down (not to mention a bruise to my ego) but no one said being an artist was going to be easy, of fun for that matter.

Well, I'm off work and on my way home to see if I can fix my computer. I'm taking the day off on Friday to clean my house and to go sailing if the weather cooperates. Is there a way I can get a hold of you on Friday if I can make it down town? Let me know.

And I'm glad you're feeling better!

on Wednesday, June 9th,">Stacy said

I was hanging out with some people who work downtown who had it, then I started feeling awful the next morning; saw the news of the outbreak and had the exact symptomsÖ :( I donít work downtown so that mustíve been someone else.

I will ask Heidi what she plans on doing with the pieces that are still there, and see what you should do with yours.

It is such a bummer that I missed the chance to get any feedback/comments and interaction. Also, like you were saying, since the public doesnít know me, it would have been interesting to hear what people had to say without knowing I was the artistÖ so all Iíve got are the ďkudosĒ type compliments that Heidi and James Voelckers have told me, no in depth analyses :) Oh well.

Since you have already had a show at JAHC and elsewhere, I am thinking that youíve probably started developing some loyal followers. Iíve been noticing general trends in spending habits among the types of artist names we got here by going to all the exhibits and reading as much local news and literature as possible. In other words, the more you exhibit here the more chance of making sales. Of course thatís the obvious, but dev/sustaining that ďfollowershipĒ is the key. Youíve got a distinct style, I think Juneauites will eat it up. Well, thatís my theory. I actually havenít had the chance to talk to too many Juneau artists personallyÖ so I donít know. Juneau is a funny place. What do you think of our art community? Another question, how important is it to be prolific as an artist?

Did you have a time in mind for Friday? 1:30? Doesnít matter to me at all.

on Thursday, June 10th,">Elise said

If I've come to any conclusion at all, it's that you can't predict what will sell and what won't. I think the more shows you have and the more you establish a following, the better your chances will be.

Having gallery representation and all of that helps too. I'm reading a great book right now called "how to survive and prosper as an artist" that is making it seem possible to survive outside the traditional gallery representation art market.

I think ultimately, people will have to like and want to buy your work. I'm trying to do work that I like, because as I've said before, when I've tried to do what I *thought* people had responded to the best from a previous show, it was a big old bomb. So, no more catering to the public, they either want it or not and I'm really steeling myself to the possibility/probability that I won't sell anything next month.

If that happens, this time I won't quit painting for 3 months, I'll just continue to work and promote my stuff even harder, perhaps send out slide outside of Juneau for shows, that kind of thing I keep planning on doing but never get around to.

I personally think Iím not asking enough for my paintings considering all the time and cost of materials etc. Iím probably only breaking even, but I think if I priced them at what I think theyíre worth (as the book demands we do) they would never sell. But again, they may not sell anyway. Ah hell, who knows right? Iím just making this up as I go along.

Iím not sure about Friday after all, my family is arriving Friday night and now it looks like Iím going to have way more chores to finish up than I had previously thought. Maybe I can see them later in the month? Does the gallery have regular hours outside of the opening?

on Thursday, June 10th,">Stacy said

The gallery doesn't open, but I have a key and have had people making appointments. So whenever is fine with me. I was planning on working on art inside the gallery to attract people and to keep it open daily but there is very little foot traffic that it is not worth it.

on Thursday, June 10th,">Elise said

OK, I'll get ahold of you tomorrow if I have time...maybe email me your number so I know how to get hold of you since I won't be able to go online from home. In fact, that won't work either because I won't be able to open the email to get your number. Maybe leave it on my machine. 364-3694. I have so much to get done tomorrow I'm not sure I'll have time but I really would love to see it, even if only for 10-15 minutes.