My Vague PC Plans

Bit tired today. Doing the podcast always takes it out of me but I also wrote an article yesterday. Today, then, is a bit of a rest day, which means catching up on all the jobs I avoided yesterday. In between, I escape to draw up plans to build a new PC. It’s something to look forward to.

Except, in a way, I can’t say that I am.

I watch videos on Youtube of thrusting young snappers, full to their gleaming gums with American beans, as they throw hardware around as though it’s sliced ham. Processors and motherboards go screaming across the screen, giving you the distinct impression that there’s nothing as easy as building a PC. And, in truth, they might be right. The beauty of PC design is that pretty much everything you need to do as already been made idiot-proof. Cables only connect to the thing they need to connect to. Devices can only slip into slots one way. The whole thing could probably come together if left long enough in a room with a million monkeys.

That’s not the problem.

The problem is that the CPU alone can easily cost upward of £200. A decent motherboard is £100 for the base models but, really, you’re looking at £200 for something with enough quality to last more than three years. There’s one thing I’ve learned in a lifetime of using PCs. Never ever skimp on the motherboard. Everything else relies on it and the cheaper types come with all manner of horribly cheap capacitors that are certain to blow. Spend the extra and get something that can last. My current Gigabyte board is about 12 years old.

Where was I? Oh, yes. The parts and putting them together…

Then there’s the cooling solution, the memory chips, and the hard drives, which these days come as small sticks called M2 drives, which fit neatly into the motherboard. It’s all relatively easy to do if it weren’t for the awful fear that one mistake and you’re going to be hundreds of pounds out of pocket.

That’s something that these Youtube types don’t convey: what it’s like to build a machine for which you’ve scrimped and saved for months, and which you desperately need for your work.

At the moment, I can’t afford to start. Nor do I intend to even begin unless I know I can cover the basics: case, motherboard, power supply, memory, and the all-important CPU. It’s also a terrible time to be looking to upgrade, given the state of the world and the difficulty of finding work. As I’ve said before, very little of the work that consumes my week earns me anything. I wish it were different. It also looks like the government’s help to freelancers will not help me. If I were a window cleaner or taxi driver, it might be different. Writer: no chance.

That makes me wonder about people. There are some who seem to do something and money flies towards them. Celebrities use children’s publishing like it’s a hole-in-the-wall machine handing out easy money. Half of them don’t even draw the books that have their name on the cover. There’s something distinctly dodgy about that.

I was watching the thing that Jeremy Clarkson did with Andy Wilmott, the producer of Top Gear and now the Grand Tour. They chatted on Youtube, with people putting questions to them. And what I find astonishing is that people pay to ask the questions. There was one guy paying £50 a time to ask a question, knowing that paying didn’t automatically ensure that the question was asked. Perhaps I’m missing something.

Not that I’m against people creating anything earning from their labour but it reminds me of the old saying that those who have the most get more. I love producing the podcast but its hard work. Wiser brains than mind would know how to moneterise it but, then, wiser brains than mind wouldn’t be in the game of trying to write or draw for a living. They certainly wouldn’t be writing blog posts that nobody bothers to read…

Yes. That’s my way of reminding myself that I shouldn’t linger here too long. There are better uses of my time.

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It’s a cool domain name and it was available. Yes, I know. Available. Crazy, isn’t it?


Yes. It also helps that it’s also my favourite satire written by Alexander Pope, one of the most metrically pure English poets who also knew his way around a crude insult or two. If you’ve not read it, you should give it a try.

So this is satire, right?

Can’t deny it. There will be some. But it’s also an experiment in writing and drawing, giving work away for free in order to see how many people are willing to support a writer doing his thing. It’s the weird stuff that I wouldn’t get published elsewhere in this word of diminishing demands and cookie-cutter tastes.