The Lappy is Dead. Long Live The Lappy || Charity for a Charity Case

[important]I am absolutely astounded by the love shown here today and hope to repay you all through the work I do. I want to thank everyone who helped either by donating or by simply reading the blog and passing it on. Thank you.

I would also like a special mention to Justin and Jason (JT) who helped me create a Ubuntu boot up Pen Drive (Considering Technology isn’t much of my forte) allowing me to keep updating the blog until the laptop arrives. I would also like to thank the tiny Internet Cafe who basically gave up a massive amount of their bandwith to fix up a linux USB for me. Any money donated from now on will go to charity. [/important]

My laptop died last night, it died in ignominy.

It’s an old HP Pavillion, nothing new certainly and it’s pretty old (verging on its 7th year which I hear is like 300 years old in terms of laptop age) but this is where the problems start. There are effectively no parts that can fix it. The basic issue is that the hard drive is “super fucked” and I am currently facing the Sam Vimes theory of Economic Disparity. Trying to fix the laptop will cost me more money than the laptop is worth and at the moment I cannot afford to fix it anyways because the place that fixes things of this nature is “miles and miles away”. I know it’s a stop-gap. I knew I was on borrowed time, I just didn’t expect the laptop to crash in the middle of work.

My work is constantly saved to an external hard drive (I keep patient files! I need serious back ups). So I just have to redo a couple of hours of it. Not a big issue…

What I have lost are the few shows I have that I watch in my downtime, the ability to play my DVDs and the few games that distract me from work. What I lost are my photographs and the few art pieces that I have done. I have also lost my primary method of writing which complicates matters. You see, the income I was earning from the blog was being ploughed into (ironically) a new laptop. I had hoped that my Laptop would make it another year at least before I had to change it. I was wrong. The laptop is dead.

I won’t lie. I can (probably) manage without a laptop. But it’s not the kind of managing people back home consider as acceptable. It makes my education harder but I can just rely on physical media (AKA books) for that. I can travel (it’s around 30 minutes to get to this place but it costs money to sit here) to an Internet Cafe to use the net and can check my emails and even fire off a short one from my phone. I can even update the blog like that but it does mean that posting any serious articles is straight up out. Any article above a certain size simply cannot be done

I have been effectively hamstrung as a blogger. The best I can do is work on articles piecemeal over 2 or 3 days to get them out by beg/borrowing/stealing internet on PCs when I can. It’s not “ideal” but it is doable.

So I am asking for help. I need a new laptop. I need to basically raise 600 pounds for a half decent laptop that I can use for everything from work to blogging, to watching YouTube videos of cats and defeating the zerg. I have looked through laptops and the problem seems to be that everything that is relatively future proof at least for the next 3 years is in the 600 to 800 pound range. And even custom building a laptop (A cheaper option than many standard purchase laptops because for the same price you often get a better spec) shares the same problem where something relatively future resistant and capable of medical usage is around 700 pounds.

I have 200 pounds roughly from the blog income and from my savings towards a laptop. I require 600 pounds to make the grade for a laptop that does the job and a bit more. I am basically at 25%…

And what makes me worry was the treatment Greta Christina got for using such charity on something as important as shoes and feel odd to ask for the same for something as silly as a laptop. So I am asking for help. Help that I sorely need and it feels awkward asking because of pride and because normally I am the one being asked. So please help out. In any small way that you can. If we hit the target of 600 pounds, I will pledge any excess to a charity that is very close to my heart.

The Spastic Society of Tamil Nadu saved my family, my Uncle was injured severe in a car accident. He is partially paralysed when a truck hit his tiny car. He was a geologist and even helped find oil for a living before his accident. He spent 6 months paralysed in a bed on the edge of death, he then picked himself up. He taught himself to write with his other hand, he taught himself to speak again, to feed himself, to dress himself up.

There were no physiotherapists and no such luxuries as leg braces. My uncle refused a wheel chair, he instead rode a bicycle. A two wheeled bicycle. He is the most determined and bloody minded person I know off. And he works for the Spastic Society of India, a charity that is dedicated to a very Indian response to disability. It’s attitude can be described as “fuck all the naysayers you guys can do whatever you feel like. We shall train you.”. It’s given disabled people who often were thrown out onto the streets to beg a second lease of life. Any excess above the laptop mark will go to this charity. In addition I have heard what Justin Griffith does with his blog income and I agree that once I start earning a salary as a doctor I will do the same as him. The money generated by the blog and by donations will go to a medical charity or into a FTB disaster relief piggy bank to be broke open to throw money at natural disaster relief on behalf of atheists as a whole.

The donation link for the laptop is below.

Donation Link for Avicenna’s Laptop

In exchange for that?

A few people have wanted to know where I got the graphics for my blog. Honestly? They are my work. You may have seen some of them before as I was one of the contestants on Greta’s cover design contest (I actually have her book which probably cost her a fair bit to send).

So I will relinquish all rights to the cover graphics, since quite a few people have wanted to use it for various memes or if you want to simply want to cover up the blog title and use it a s a desktop wallpaper or whatever. It’s free for use. In addition any other graphics I produce from from now on will be provided on a full commons license for usage by the community as a whole.

The High Res Donation Link Graphic



You are free to borrow this for nefarious porpoises

[error]Update – Jason and Justin have been helping me try and restore some function to my laptop by booting Linux from a pen drive. It means I can possibly have basic Internet to keep the blog ticking over. To everyone who donated I wish to thank you for everything you have done. I just finished making the pen drive with the help of the lovely people who own a Internet Cafe and am on my way home to see if it works.[/error]


  1. says

    It’s a combination of two things.

    I do need a relatively beefy laptop for work. The chromebook is great for the blog but not for work. I would have to get a laptop for work or spend time at the Internet Cafe. This way I cut out the need to juggle two different laptops…

    And Indian support for anything not WIndows or Linux is “terribad”

    (BTW thanks to all the donors, the current total stands at 110 pounds. You guys are amazing)


  2. says

    If I may offer a suggestion, Natalie Reed (fellow FTBlogger) is in danger of being without a home; maybe you should consider chipping in on her behalf instead? (Or, to satisfy both, offer her half of the proceeds?)

    Just throwing it out there.

  3. says

    Dear friends:
    warm greetings, in the precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ , who is coming very soon,
    I am Evangelist and translate some English Tracts to Amharic Language as well as I am studying
    in Adama Science and Technology University. I will graduates in the next year on June 2014.
    According to my academic advisor, personal computer(laptop) and digital camera are needed for my research work and to present term paper for the next many courses.My income is very small. Therefore, I can not buy these materials,that’s why I send you this E-mail.I need your help.Please help me, if you have second hand laptop and digital camera.

    Thank you for your understanding,

    Kefelegn Sahle

    From Ethiopia

    Contact address
    kefelegn sahle
    P.O Box 260
    Zeway- Ethiopia

  4. julian says

    You have my sympathies, sir. Sadly my last free ten bucks went to getting that deadbeat Lousy Canuck to WIS.

  5. says

    #5: haha, topic related spam, and so wrong…

    OT: A beefy laptop will indeed cost more than the entry-level stuff costing 300GBP or the like, although I’m wondering what demands the work-related software has (stuff that really likes to eat resources like compilers, 3D-modelling software, desktop publishing and the like do not seem to have much medical application). Anyway, chipped in, hope you reach the 600.

  6. says

    Would like to donate but same as Julian with xmas, shoe-gate and WIS donations I need to wait til pay day next week now. Not sure how long you are open for donations but I’ll donate anyway — can go to pay for the next one.

    Unlike the pitters who seemingly don’t think you should have a decent laptop until you have solved all the worlds problems I reckon I like your writing enough to punt a few quid your way as payment. However have you looked at the 2nd hand options? Not because it would be cheaper necessarily but I’ve always bought an ex-business second hand Thinkpad in preference to a new Dell/HP etc as they are better built. Would still cost 500+ but you get a 1K+ laptop for the price and unlike a Mac its not just the name you are paying for — they are rugged and really last years. T-series are great…. Worth looking into as resellers often provide 1yr guarantees as well…

  7. Angweke Okoloni says

    Dearest friend! My greatest warmth and sympathy for your lappy or brokenness. Truely sadness is in my eyes and I shall give you 5 lappys and all you desire as soon as I reclaim my kingdom in Namibia.
    Send me your bank details and as soon as I have the crown on my rightful head I will fill your bank account with many monies and lappys also.
    Thank you for your praise.
    Angweke Okoloni Prince of Namibia.

  8. Martha says

    I have a fantasy in which every time Pitchguest and his ilk show up to try to silence people– or just to be obnoxious– that I make a small donation to a charity that he’d absolutely hate. If we FtB readers did that on a larger scale, with a total donation count on the side of participating blogs, I wonder if that would get them to shut up? Or at least to go back to the moldy place from which they came?

    I’ve enjoyed your writing, Avicenna, and am glad to make a small donation. Good luck, and keep fighting!

  9. says

    Why Angweke Okoloni! It has been a long time since we have talked! Of Course my friend! It is good to talk! Do you remember the days where we went laptop shopping? Oh how the shopkeepers tried to make us buy inferior products! Bah! We said! BAH AND HUMBUG! You mere mortals know not of who we are! Or why we are even Here! Here we are (in PC World), Born to be kings! We’re the princes of the universe. Here we belong, Fighting to survive this sale period, In a world with the darkest powers of internet purchases, And here we are, We’re the princes of the universe, Here we belong, Fighting for survival and purchases, We’ve come to be the rulers of your world, I am immortal, I have inside me blood of kings, (Yes I do) I have no rival (I am sorry Angweke it’s just the way it is), No man can be my equal, Take me to the future of your PC world, Born to be kings, Princes of the universe, Fighting and free, Got your PC world (and my credit card) in my hand, I’m here for your love (and your cheap laptops) and I’ll make my stand, We were born to be princes of the universe,
    No man could understand. My power is in my own hand (the purchasing power that is), Ooh, Ooh, Ooh, Ooh, People talk about you, People say you’ve had your day, I’m a man that will go far, Fly the moon and reach for the stars (I may have been very very drunk when I bought that laptop but you know how stressful boxing day sales are), With my sword and head held high, Got to pass the test first time – yeah, I know that people talk about me I hear it every day, But I can prove you worng cos I’m right first time, Yeah. Yeah. Alright, Watch this man fly, Bring on the girls we will prove to be better than the stereotype that women are good at shopping, Here We are. Born to be kings. We’re the princes of the universe and we do not run from sales. Here we belong. Born to be kings, Princes of the universe. Fighting and free, Got the world in my hands. I’m here for your love, And I’ll make my stand, We were born to be princes of the universe.

    Oh those were good times Angweke. Although my taste in facial hair was pretty questionable…

    Your’s sincerely

    Avicenna (Esq.)

    Prince of the Universe, Tamer of dogs, petter of cats. Board Monitor

  10. says

    Just curious…how much have you donated to Natalie, Pitchguest?

    Curious because she hasn’t put out a request for donations and doesn’t seem to have a donation button or tip jar anywhere on her blog.

  11. julian says

    I have a fantasy in which every time Pitchguest and his ilk show up to try to silence people– or just to be obnoxious– that I make a small donation to a charity that he’d absolutely hate.

    That’s not particularly constructive. Really shouldn’t make charity work about spiting others especially when those others probably support many of the same charities we do.

  12. glodson says

    I wish I could help. I just started classes, and I need money to give for books. I will try to pitch a few bucks your way when I can. Good luck.

  13. Cuttlefish says

    Actually, PZ, Natalie does have a tip jar, in the “Reference” box on her blog. Just not a separate flashy button deally.

    Avicenna, I’ll be putting some money in for your laptop–paying forward the generosity my readers showed when I was in a similar situation 5 years or so ago.

  14. crowepps says

    Thanks, oolon – I had thought I made a small donation to Natalie and realize now that I instead donated to FTB. No problem as that also is a good cause, but I am grateful to now be aware how to donate to Natalie *personally* in addition to chipping in a little here.

    I find it kind of weird that some people seem unable to grasp that these donations are entirely *voluntary* and unlike the various scams referenced above, don’t involve lying to or cheating anybody. Especially considering the various SCOTUS rulings in the last few decades, which have declared donations of money constitutionally protected as a manifestation of the Free Speech they insist is so important.

  15. Martha says

    @Julian #13. I strongly disagree. Perhaps I should have made it clear that I was assuming this was a charity for which socially conscious atheists and skeptics would gladly contribute. It would be a concrete way of fighting back against the harassment while raising money for a good cause. I know I’ve wanted to have such a mechanism when I see bloggers I respect being harassed or the same old tired arguments dragged out over and over again to try to derail any argument that could possibly be construed as pro-feminist. It would also be a good way of pointing out to those holding leadership positions that the pro-social justice crowd is not as small as they seem to think we are.

    If it also convinces the harassers that their strategy isn’t working and makes them go away, all the better.

  16. cyberCMDR says

    I’m glad someone helped you get a pen drive set up with Linux. Some versions also have tools to recover data from bad hard drives (depending on the failure mode), so perhaps some of your data is recoverable. If the hard drive isn’t totally fried, you might be able to reformat and re-install if you want to keep the system as a backup. Usually though, it’s best to replace the drive if it is acting up.

    I might have an old drive I’m not using, if you want me to send it to you. They’re easy to install, usually just a few screws to remove to take them out. If the shipping costs aren’t too high, you could send me the drive and I could try to recover the data, move it to the new drive and send it back. Can’t promise a quick turnaround (quite busy right now), but I would get to it as quickly as I could.

    Good luck!

  17. davidhart says

    So, I actually arrived here after you’d already met your target, but have nonetheless chipped in a little for your SSTN charity, simply because, by calling it ‘the Lappy’ I infer you are a fellow fan of the Homestar Runner canon. Call me capricious if you will :-)

  18. says

    PZ: If you must know, 50 bucks. I don’t have a lot of money and it’s not much, but 50 bucks from 10 people and you have quite a bit. Besides, it was just a friendly suggestion if you noticed, I didn’t say avicenna shouldn’t stop the donation drive if he didn’t want to – only either that they might consider to donate to Nat instead, or failing that offer her half the proceeds.

    True, I was a bit frustrated but now you’ve decided to help: great. I’m glad.

    Oolon: *shakes head disapprovingly*

  19. julian says


    HINT: remember when you guys started calling Greta Christina a con artists and, you know, said all that shitty stuff about her b/c she asked fr a few bucks and bought some shoes a few months later?

    Well Natalie remembers and that might have something to do with this.


    Sad. I was gonna post “Well we’ve all learned something valuable today… Let’s go drink. I’m on pain meds so you’ve got your DD!”

    Shame I never get to make that post…

  20. says


    Tell you what, julian; if it turns out that Natalie has lied about her situation and is in fact in no financial grovel at all, then I might have something to say. Until then, the two situations are totally different, and it’s not like I’m doing this out of spite. In the end, though, I don’t really care what you think my motives are.

    As for sharing a drink together, not like I wouldn’t like that either, but with all the bad blood between us and all the drama still looming around the corner, I doubt that’s going to happen anytime soon. Still, you’ve begun to see the cracks in their omniscience so maybe there’s hope yet. Cheers.

  21. julian says


    Greta Christina did not lie about having her uterus removed. She didn’t lie about her family situation. And she didn’t lie about where the money was going.

    That sort of unabashed slander (actual slander. you’re accusing her of fraud) is why there’s bad blood.

  22. says

    About Greta Christina? Nothing. They’re two different situations. The urgency for Christina may have been exaggerated, but I don’t want to make it into a contest and I don’t want to make my wish to contribute to Natalie in any way a ‘gotcha’ or a ‘one-up’.

    I wanted to help Natalie to improve her situation. That’s all.

  23. Suido says

    If you’re so far over the limit that you buy a laptop and end all poverty, I don’t mind if you buy shoes.

    Just sayin.

  24. says

    You should switch races to zerg and start winning the last bit of tournament money still out there for Wings of Liberty while zerg is still OP before the next expansion hits and zerg becomes the worst race again.

    A zerg

  25. Karen Locke says

    Love your blogging. Pitched in a bit; I’ll also suggest that you consider donating some of the excess to Natalie Reed. I pitched into her tip jar last week, but there’s only so much one can do.

  26. says

    Appreciate it a great deal regarding discussing this kind of with folks you probably recognize what you will be conversing close to! Book-marked. I implore you to furthermore talk over with this site =). Organic beef have a very hyperlink modify plan of us


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>