Blind Author Needs a New Computer Rig

This is a mirror of my GoFundMe (https://www.gofundme.com/blind-author-needs-a-new-computer) but also includes a Paypal link (which I frankly prefer): paypal.me/ashabardonuk

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Hi, my name’s Asha.

In 2011, I bought my second iMac.

Yesterday (5/3/2018) it died. Even if I can get it fixed, it’s a patch job and the clock is officially ticking.

I started thinking about the pros and cons of what to get next–then I remembered I’m broke. I retired in 2012 due to disability (I was diagnosed with Bipolar–Type 2 and high-functioning autism spectrum disorder) and have been trying to deal with life with a chronic illnesses ever since, including long-term anaemia.

I’m registered blind and this makes buying computers interesting, even ones from Apple which have all the awesome accessibility options.

I have the other RP: retinopathy of prematurity. This means I have no depth perception and I only have one semi-working eye. It also makes me short sighted which means I need things to be super close in order to see them.

For the last few years, my computer has sat literally in front of my nose and I still have to amp up the zoom settings wherever possible.

Basically, my visual impairment is very specific, I need things BIG. 27″ of screen is no longer enough and as much as I love iMacs, once a single part goes, you’re screwed.

So I want to buy and customise a new rig around an Apple device, probably a Mac Mini or, worse case, a new iMac. I want it to be as future-proof as possible and last a good five years. I also use Apple and all my apps are based around the OS so an £800 PC tower just isn’t an option.

Getting a new rig would involve:

  • A large screen (at least 30″ with really good resolution): £500+
  • A maxed out Mac Mini or, if it’s not updated by the point I need it, a 27″ iMac: £1500-£3000
  • A microphone and webcam: £100
  • A secondary screen for using media (prob a 50″ smart TV connected to the main computer): £600
  • Sundries (cables, a decent set of speakers, a lamp): £100
  • Anything more will go to paying GFM’s cut which, as I understand it is, 2.5% per donation, plus 20p. See:  https://www.gofundme.com/pricing

Why do I need this?

I have two passions: the first of which is writing. I was a journalist first but then made my way into fiction. I’ve published several novels, written hundreds of short stories.

Here are some of the projects I’m working on:

The second is my side-gig, a hobby I have helping adapt manga. From a practical perspective, while I have a laptop, doing this on a tiny screen is just impossible. I can do it in a pinch but not permenantly. I need to be able to see and read the Japanese scans and because of the way I need to resize them, I need more screen real estate than I have.

Because of my disabilities and my attempts at getting out of manic-induced debt, I simply don’t have the cash to replace my largest piece of kit. At nearly eight years old, my iMac has served me faithfully but now I need something more.

My income is fixed and I don’t have the six months I need to save for a new rig. I need everything sorted by May in order to be able to continue writing and my side-gig with no distruption. Because of my income, I’m hesitant to accrue more debt, especially as it’s taken me nearly four years to drag myself out of a mire as it is.

So, I want to ask for help. I need to write to stay sane, I need to so my side-gig in order to be able to earn a little extra to–as my Nanna would say–‘afford some jam to put on my bread’.

I’d appreciate any help you can give, even if it’s just a shout out.

* * *

One of the things I’m currently doing is looking at a replacement rig, this is basically researching prices, makes and models, as well as bearing in mind that it’s March and Apple usually announces stuff at specific times in the year so saying a Mac Mini will cost just over £1600 might not mean that’s how much I end up paying for one, especially if it is refreshed this year.

My new rig is also more than just more than a computer. I realised I need a new desk to put it on: my current one is a decade old and … well bowing. You can see where the weight of my old one has warmed the whatever laminated wood it was made with. A new desk, a good one from Viking Direct is just shy of £200.

The rest of my initial list is the following. This is a guideline, it will change, but I like having an idea of cost. It also includes random ephemera like a surge plug and a desk lamp (which is also kinda important as I have photophobia and need a very specific kind of light to be able to see, I also need it behind me as light in the face means an instant ‘do not pass go’ and involves migraines. Those are not fun.

Mac Mini (2011) – https://www.apple.com/uk/mac-mini/ (£1,636.00)

40″ Philips BDM4037UW/00 40-Inch 4K UHD 3840 x 2160 Curved LED Monitor – Silver –https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01KUQJ414/ref=psdc_428652031_t3_B01MSYXDC7 (£558) – OR –

Samsung C32F391 32-Inch Curved LED Monitor – White Gloss – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Samsung-C32F391-32-Inch-Curved-Monitor/dp/B01DTLSQA2/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_img_5?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=7WW9X1F6810X9PP3WD0E (£260.73)

Logitech Z200 Multimedia Speakers/PC Speakers – Midnight Black –https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00FSF2OSS/?coliid=I225PLEE5GOBMU&colid=1O8K11RBNQSUP&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it (£26.99)

Samsung UE49MU6500 49-Inch Curve TV – Silver – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06Y1QJC3G/?coliid=IQI9E3TX35PBS&colid=1T230OVCHQEZQ&psc=0&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it
(£559.99)

Desk Lamp – http://www.optimalowvision.co.uk/product.cfm?prod=369&dept=367 (£70.00)

WD 8 TB My Book Desktop Hard Drive – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LWVT81X/?coliid=I2U5ONKZJM0MTP&colid=1T230OVCHQEZQ&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it – (£179.00)

Extension Lead – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XPMQ14S/?coliid=I90N083QHCYVN&colid=1T230OVCHQEZQ&psc=0&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it (£17.99)

A webcam and decent microphone is also on the list but I’ve not researched those yet

This list, which is neither final nor complete, tots up to £3250. It doesn’t include GFM’s fees or other things which may crop up. But, for the sake of transparency, I wanted to post it to give people an idea of my ideal wish list, even though it’s going to be sometime before I even think about going shopping.

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