Ex Trailer Trash

Dell or No Dell

Warning: while I’m doing my best not to let it get out of hand, this entry has a fair amount of geek speak. But there are cool pictures at the end, if you scroll down.

It’s taken a few months of dealing with their tech support, but Dell finally replaced the motherboard on my 3.5-year-old gaming laptop, sending a tech to the house this afternoon. My “gaming” on it hasn’t involved anything more exciting than Wordle, but I need the high-powered video card and other gee-wiz techie stuff to handle Photoshop and my publishing software. The lappy has now been zipped back up and all updated nice and purdy – including another upgrade to Windows 11.

All the crap experiences I reported a few months ago with Windows 11 could be traced directly back to the issue with the motherboard. And let’s face it, for better or worse, any upgraded machine will also get me Win 11, so I figured what the hell, might as well…


Now we wait to see if the mobo did the trick. If not, this is the last hurrah. I’ll bite the bullet and order a replacement computer, probably this business-class monster¬†or one of its kissing cousins. Photo at right – link goes to the details on Dell’s website.

Over the past 2-3 months, I’ve been on chat with tech support countless times, on the phone with tech support a few times, they’ve sent two people to the house, and I shipped the thing to Houston for them to fix it. This is also the second time they’ve replaced the motherboard in this computer. First time was not long after I bought it.

Like I said… if this doesn’t do the trick, I’m throwing in the towel on this ‘puter.

Thankfully, so far so good with the new mobo. It even seems reasonably happy with Photoshop again, which is the litmus test. We’ll see how it handles when I start working with a bigger file, later tonight.

While I sincerely hope this fix took care of the recurring crashes, the service plan and warranty are up in a few more months. First time this acts up once those are gone, I’m looking at a new machine.

Quick lesson in tech 101, which will hopefully help make sense of the geek-speak.

Think of the motherboard as your house’s framework. The case is the equivalent of siding and shingles – necessary to protect from the elements, but that’s all it does. The framework of a house – the studs, rafters, etc – holds the plumbing, electrical, etc. Same goes for the motherboard: it’s a panel in the computer where the keyboard, monitor, and power plug in and connect to the processor. (The processor is the computer’s brain. It’s about an inch square and 1-2mm deep.)

I promised you pictures and you get pictures.

My older daughter – the one who owns the event planning business – has discovered how addicting it is to play with a good image editor program. I bought her Affinity not long ago, and she’s beginning to explore what it can do.

However, she’s been working with it less than two months. I’ve had *mumblemumble*WAY-MORE*mumblemumble* with Photoshop. She asked me about some specifics and I made specifics for her. I hand-drew this lacy rose pattern. It’s intentionally a bit lopsided. Incidentally, while I put this on a black background to show it better, it’s actually a brush so can be duplicated, re-sized, rotated, etc., to her heart’s content.


I’ve been on an AI-graphics kick lately. Some of the results have been bizarre but a few of them turned out surprisingly beautiful.


If I do use this as a book cover, I’ll also have to overhaul the covers for the previous two books in the series. And I’m okay with that.

The following were all created with the same AI art program as I used for the book cover mockup. I typed in what I wanted and the AI server created them. (Click to enlarge.)


These all are variations I chose, modified, and enhanced. When you type in what you want to create, you get back a set of four images the computer thinks you want. You can then choose to enlarge, enhance, and save the individual images; do a spin-off new set based on any one of the images; tell it to re-do the whole thing, or type in a whole new set of directions to restart the process from scratch.

This program really shines for fantasy concepts:


The wizard dude above will need some tweaking – I’ll need to paint him a face, for example – but the concept is beautifully executed far as it went.

If you want to check out some of the amazing things other folks have created, you can see a gallery at midjourney.com. You have to sign into Discord (free) to see. And keep in mind, some of the most spectacular human faces on the gallery were made with a beta version that’s not widely available yet.

Late edit: the motherboard didn’t resolve the issue, so looks like I’m going ‘puter shopping. Wish me luck.

5 thoughts on “Dell or No Dell”

  1. Good luck with computer shopping! I only understood a tenth of what you wrote, but it sounds like you know what you’re doing so it should be fine.

    God, I wish I had your PS skills. I literally just tried for the first time last week to use that program to merge two photos together. After hours of watching YouTube vids and even more hours pouring over head-scratching, jargon-filled, unhelpful Adobe tutorials, I managed to…fuck it up royally. Well ok, maybe not that bad. But it looks like something my cat threw up instead of a toy goldfish being pulled out of a glass custard bowl. (What’s been even more vexing than trying to figure out what the hell “masks” and “layers” are, is the fact that when I try to import a photo into PS, it opened my picture first in some other program that looked like a slimmed down version of Lightroom. Half my time was spent just trying to GET the picture to PS, not even edit it! I absolutely suck.)

    Your creations look AMAZING. They also make me worried that AI is the death knell of photography, lol. Of course, they said that about painting, when photography was introduced….

    1. Thank you for the compliments. I’ve literally been using Photoshop over 20 years now and still learning things it can do. I bemoan not being able to draw better, because I USED to be able to draw better. I minored in art in college. :/

      AI art excites me, but it has distinct drawbacks. For younger people’s faces, they tend to all look alike. I mean, identical, not just vaguely similar. There are some commands to help with that, but 99.9% of the process is learning how the system “talks.” Even then, it’s not (yet) good enough to use its images as-is. There’s a lot of terminology I’m still learning, all needed to get the effect I want. And soon as I learn it, there will be more to learn.

  2. Bummer about the computer. Did the tech look at the fan and heat sink? Pretty obvious consideration but 2 motherboard replacements is either bad design or something like heat or power.
    The AI images are very cool!

    1. Yeah – not an issue with the heat sink and doubtful the power. This machine is one of the few laptops with two large fans, both of which definitely work. The tech also specifically mentioned reworking the heat sink. (It SHOULD be part of a mobo exchange anyway.) The machine’s not getting hot – I watch that. Only other thing I can think of is maybe the RAM or the graphics card have issues. While not all crashes happen when I’m using Photoshop, it definitely comes into play for most of them.

  3. The pictures are awesome…I really like what you can do with them. The explanation helped but I sure am not a computer wizard in any way.
    Good luck finding your new ‘puter”.

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