You Get What You Pay For

Happy Labor Day everyone!

So I spent the first day of my holiday weekend recovering from a Windows update. I’m really at my wit’s end with these updates that are rolled out before being thoroughly tested. I’m supposed to be an end-user, not a beta tester.

In the Spring of this year, I lost a laptop that was only about 18 months old to a service pack that was being pushed out. I was was left with the option of either re-installing Windows 7 on that machine ($100), upgrading that laptop to Windows 8.1 ($200), or just getting a new laptop altogether ($300). Since I didn’t really know for sure if the first two options would work, I opted for the new machine.

I was so mad at Microsoft that I bought a Chromebook (Ha! That showed them!). Actually, I was pretty impressed with how much I was able to get done in Google’s web-based environment, but it wasn’t enough. I really needed the Microsoft Office Suite and I missed logging into Second Life, and these things aren’t possible on a Chromebook, so I decided to keep it as my back-up laptop and get another Windows laptop.

Things were going along fine for a few days, until I had to deal with my first, and then second Windows update…all within less than two months. Both times my graphics driver, Chrome browser, and Adobe Flash player have been corrupted to the point I had to uninstall and re-install them. The first time Gimp (which I use for digital art) crashed, and I had to re-install it (so far, so good the second time on that app). Both times I had to uninstall and do a clean install several times on Second Life until I could finally log in to the grid (yes, I now understand that a clean install includes manual deletion of all Second Life files – even in the hidden folders). Both times I’ve had to spend about an hour de-fragmenting the hard drive (did I mention this laptop is less than two months old?).Now, anyone who actually knows something about computers has probably figured out from reading this that my tech skills are remedial. My specialty is the “re-boot” and when that doesn’t work, I’m at a loss. I have to Google whatever I think the problem might be and research the forums to see what other people have done to fix the problem…and hope they know what they’re talking about. So these types of problems are extremely time-consuming and stressful for me. I am a bit exasperated, however, that these issues, even with Windows 8 and 8.1 seem to have been common knowledge on the web for almost a year, and they are still happening. What’s up that that, Microsoft?!

I realize my biggest problem is that I’m expecting waaaaaaay too much for a $300 laptop, but that’s the budget I’m on right now. When I try to get advice from other people in Second Life and from other digital artists, they just say they use a desk-top PC for gaming and digital art, and then they rattle off a bunch of jargon that is way over my head about bandwidth and RAM and “real” graphics drivers. When I mention I’m still using Gimp, instead of Adobe Photoshop, the conversation is usually over.

Yes, well, first of all I don’t have room in my space for a desktop PC, and I’m just not able to justify spending $1,500-$2,000 on a decent gaming machine.

And there’s no way I’m going to add somewhere between $20 and $50 to my monthly budget to use Adobe Photoshop…especially seeing how well Adobe does NOT survive Windows updates. So, I’ll just make do with Gimp for now. It’s not ideal, and there are a lot of bugs, but it’s free, so who can I really complain to?

Life is like this, isn’t it?

I’ve been asked by several people lately over on Fiverr, to write “about” pages, product descriptions, biographies, privacy policies, terms and conditions pages…they want all of this to be written from scratch, out of thin air, for brand-new companies with brand-new websites, for the cost of a $5 gig. Will I do that? Hell, no! Each one of those pages is a project that would take several hours worth of communication to develop then write. I would be suspicious of anyone who says they can provide this type of content for this price, as it is very likely that the content is either scraped from a competitor or some sort of stock template that is being duplicated all over the web.

All of this has me thinking very seriously about my recent goal of writing a novel. That project hit a stall when I got into the third chapter and found myself completely bored with the story. I’m not sure if that was because the story just really wasn’t that interesting, or because I already knew how it was going to end, or because my ADD was making actually writing down the details incredibly tedious.

Anyway, at the same time, I had been researching what is needed to really do a good job of publishing a book. It’s expensive, and this is another area in which you really do get what you pay for. I’m fine with the self-publishing option, and was planning to put the book on Amazon, but doing that well costs money. You really need a good editor, and a good proofreader, and it’s a good idea to hire someone to help you with the formatting of at least the first novel to make sure the reader’s experience is what you want it to be. Plus, there’s the cover. Are my artistic skill really good enough to do that myself? Maybe not yet.

As I understand it, the profit to the new sellers on Amazon is around $1 per book sold if they’re lucky. Math is not my forte’, but I can see that I would have to sell A LOT of books just to break even. I will say that I have gained a whole new respect for those who are doing this successfully…and even for those who have tried and are still waiting for success to come. I’m not sure it’s worth it for me at this time.

While I ponder that, let’s let Jason Charles Miller sum things up.

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12 thoughts on “You Get What You Pay For

  1. …there is no bugs with GIMP. I don’t know where you took this. Maybe it has something to do with you computer skills… I am using GIMP on everyday basis, at home and for job, and I would afford to get Photoshop.

    But GIMP is perfect. If you need help, just ask opendigitalart.com

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    1. Well…alrighty then. I stand corrected.

      I was not aware that there was such a thing as a bug-free, “perfect” open source software program, but I’m certainly glad you showed up to straighten me out on this matter!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Don’t worry… There is always that kind of user to sully the reputation of free software… Until they found that the bug is in their head. If you can’t manage update with windows without crashing everything, you should look at yourself.

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        1. Meho, there’s really no need to be so rude. My experience is my experience, and I’m entitled to relate my perception of that experience just like everyone else. I’m the first to admit that my computer skills need a lot of work. I’m working on that, and getting better, but there’s no such thing as a perfect software program.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. i sympathise, having recently suffered a huge PC meltdown, one which left me a gibbering wreck, despite the fact that i’d firmly classify myself in the ‘geek’ category – the sort who will happily babble on about bandwidth and graphics drivers, and even more arcane nonsense, without a care in the world. So yes, these things happen: you’re absolutely right, life is like that sometimes.

    i use Adobe CS6 for graphics work – it hasn’t let me down yet, but that could change at any moment! Unless you’re looking for integrated workflow across mediums, and high-end pro graphics tools, Gimp should be more than up to most tasks, and if it works for you, why not? (Especially if you’re familiar with the interface and layout). As for this ‘perfect’, bug-free software mentioned elsewhere – where can i find it, please? 😉

    Keep at the novel, i’m sure you’ll get there when the time is right. Becoming bored with one’s characters is perhaps an occupational hazard – mine tend to routinely bore me rigid after a few thousand words, usually bringing the whole thing to a grinding halt!

    s. x

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Jenn- Tish was able to get her hands on a free copy of Adobe Photoshop CS2 – let me know if you’re interested and we’ll get you hooked-up. Also – what a coincidence – I almost bought a Google Chromebook when I was searching for tablets last week. I really love the one I got (Samsung Galaxy Tab 4) and am very impressed with the Android operating system. Yes – computing and software can be very expensive – I’ve poured thousands into my studio here over the years. I have one of those liquid-cooled behemoths. But I’ve had really good luck with Dell computers outfitted with Intel processors and Nvidia graphics cards running Win 7. As for the Gimp vs Adobe argument – I’m a die-hard Adobe user. But have a friend who swears Gimp is great. Who knows? I think software is always a personal experiential choice. Take Care!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Free? My ears always perk up at “free,” and of course I’m interested. My ex was always waning to download “free” software on my computers, leading to many animated discussions over the difference between “free” and “pirated.” I think pirates are scary…unless they’re Johnny Depp…but enough about me, and why I now live alone. Anyway, yes, I’d be interested in checking out CS2. You all have my email, and I’d always be happy to hear from you and/or Trish (with or without free stuff).

          Yeah, I really liked the Chromebook. I’m trying to convince my (computer averse) parents to take mine, because it would be a great one to learn on, and perfect for someone who just wants to email, surf the web, write an occasional letter, and exchange photos and videos with friends. It’s also great as a back-up or second machine, and perfect for travelling because the fact that you don’t really store much on it limits the risk in case it’s stolen. It’s super fast, and for the price, it’s hard to beat, especially for someone who operates well in a web-based environment (which I do, most of the time).

          I had a Dell exactly like the one you described, and yes I LOVED it. It was perfect, and actually much better than Windows 8.1 for me…right up until Microsoft pushed out that last Service Pack. Oh, well, nothing lasts forever. 🙂

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  3. Your observations about writing & publishing are right. Writing a novel is time-consuming; requires extensive research; demands a lot of the author; and takes about three years. And I hear from my author friends, you cannot make a living at it. And publishers are fickle right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really do have an enormous amount of respect for those who stick with it. While a handful of writers become wildly successful financially, I’m sure there are other reasons that many find the pursuit fulfilling…especially now that self-publishing is becoming more mainstream and increasingly respected. I’m just wondering if when it comes to novels, I might be a better reader than writer. 😉

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      1. I 20,000 words for the same reason you gave up yours, boredom.i’m better suited for the shorter story. Barbour Press published 7 of my short stories for 2 anthologies. I love blogging. Fulfills my need to write.

        Liked by 1 person

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