My Computer Blew Up & Im Living Overseas: I Need A Doctor

Do you know what it would feel like if your business just disappeared with the uncertainty that you may not be able to recover any of it?  Imagine all those important documents in your house if you left during the fire and you wondered whether not if you would not be able to recover all of them, but instead some of them.

This was the vein of my existence on Sunday night.

My laptop is my business and while some think I am playing farmville all day on Facebook, I actually do get some work done, occasionally.  The truth is my laptop is far from perfect and it hasn’t “worked perfectly” for quite some time.

After the thrill of living in Africa it took a beating like an all you can eat buffet in the United States. The unpaved roads gave it a good jolt to the system, the electricity spikes did wonders for battery life, and trying not to get it stolen was only the beginning of the fun.

The insects were so creative in Africa that they refuse to climb on my computer, they climbed inside it instead.

You remember that one time, that Africa took a bite out of my computer?

When I saw an ant crawling inside my computer screen I tried to flick it off only to realize that it was inside of my screen.  Now I have a permanent black dot that will never go away.

Aside from the permanent black streak across the middle of the screen, the corners that look like they have been attacked by the cookie monster, and permanent glares that constantly have me playing squinting games, the computer does its job.

I am still able to make my living day trading and continue to protect my most prized asset, my computer. For without it I would not be able to live overseas and travel as much as I do.  The only reason I refuse to buy another computer is because this one is roughly a year old, built Dell tough.  I was going to make some changes to my travel routine in 2012 but it wasn’t a new computer.

What happened was the computer started turning off randomly.

It happened twice roughly 2 weeks ago.  I decided to give the computer a break by leaving it off the entire night and turned it on the next day when I woke up with no issues for 2 weeks, the problem reappeared last Sunday.  I figured the first time it could have just been a fluke but now there was a second series of events, the problem would only get worse.

Black Dot in picture may be more annoying than it appears

I decided to leave the computer off and take it to a computer shop to see if the crafty Brazilian technicians could find the problem.  In the meantime I decided to freak out and start acting like an insecure 14 year old with a girlfriend  that was going out with her “guy friend”.

I’m sure everyone can relate to that, ladies keep the boy bashing to a minimum.

All kinds of questions raced through my mind about recovering my documents, flying to the United States to purchase a new computer, and why the lady at McDonald’s couldn’t put a double order of chocolate on my Sunday.  It wasn’t a near death experience but close enough.

The problem living here in Brazil is that I’m not able to find a 17 inch computer that costs less than $3,000. Most of the stores and websites only have 16 inch computers available and I need a 17 inch laptop, call me stubborn.

Best picture I could get for the black streak

A 17 inch laptop is big enough so I can multitask and day trade but just small enough to fit into my backpack.

The problem ended up being that there was too much dirt inside the computer and the cooler was failing, cooler being the Portuguese word ventilation fan.  It turns out that the computer was getting so hot it would automatically turn off to protect itself.

I blame Africa.

There were some trips, especially in the rugged and primitive Madagascar, where I would find sand and dirt inside of my book bag after it was lying inside of a truck all day. After washing clothes at a hotel I would only end up having to wash them again the next day because there were so much dirt.

All is well though, they fixed the ventilation fan and now I’m going to be sure to back up my computer every week just in case it happens again.  I said that the last time when I bought 3 different back up hard drives.  I find the easiest thing to do is save my documents in a Dropbox account that is automatically saved online.  I pay around $9.99 a month for an extra 135 gigs of space.

Its time to get ready to crash a wedding next week here in Brazil, should be fun.


  1. I fear my laptop might be heading in the same direction! Although clearly yours has taken MUCH more of a beating haha. Mine just shows me the blue-screen-of-death every so often and tells me there’s been a million trilllion errors of which I can do nothing about. *sigh*

  2. I used to have a 17 inch HP laptop with the same problem, it was always overheating and just turning off on me, mostly when I was in the middle of doing something. I just bought a cheap external hard drive to keep a back up of my stuff that I keep in my car, but I definitely should have some sort of “cloud” back up like dropbox as well.

    1. HP’s are known for that.. I bought two $2500 computers and had to sell them because of that. Never buy HP or Compaq they have a design flaw that makes them overheat more than normal.

  3. Have you thought about going MAC and running dual OS?

    I’ve had my Mac for about 4 years now and I love it. I’m thinking about upgrading to a Macbook Pro and running dual systems. My friend who plays online poker does this. My only concern is the size – I think he has a 17 or 18 inch.

    1. I have considered it Kyle but all of my day trading programs run on Windows so it would be pointless to go and get a mac when I would have to spend more money than I would sticking with windows.. I am interested to see what happens with the mobile realm now that Microsoft 8 is coming out I may be able to trade from a tablet…

  4. I just switched to a 13″ macbook for travel but I’m more into options than day trading (using interactive brokers online or their iPhone app) I hear good things about windows 8 though but we’ll see, I think tablets have great potential for a travelling trader

    Been following the blog for awhile when I can.. just wanted to say you should check out Google Drive especially if you already use gmail or google docs. It’s a new dropbox competitor and 100gb for $5/month. Not sure if it’s better but worth a mention

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