Traveshamockery – Or How I Lost My Digital Life

As many of you already know, the past 24 hours have been quite a trying time for me. Last night I was out and parked my car in what seemed to be a safe area. I was going to be at a show and didn’t want to lug around my laptop with me, so I left in the car covered by a hoodie.

Cat broken into

After the show, I returned to my vehicle to find the passenger side window smashed in, and my laptop bag and all of it’s contents stolen. They attempted to get my Harmon/Kardon Drive+Play system (I would guess they thought it was a GPS), but it is bolted down to the dash pretty tight.

I also have made this a bit more public on my site, but for the past year off and on (more on then off), I have been living and sleeping in my car. Not having a place to store my items, my entire life (especially my digital life) has been compiled and stored on my laptop. It has become an accessory that I found I am unable to live without, and now it and all of its contents are gone. I know there are many who haven’t agreed with my lifestyle choices, but I have my reasons which I have gone into on my LifeAs site.

Last night I was able to find a remote spot of town, but there were people walking around at all hours of the night. With the cold wind blowing in, and constantly having cars and people go by, I was barely able to get any sleep last night. I had to make sure that my vehicle wasn’t robbed again while I was in it.

Inside my bag were the following items:

  • Apple MacBook Pro 2.2Ghz Santa Rosa (including charger)- $1999
  • Nintendo DS Lite (with 8 games and G6 lite imported from overseas)- $129 + Games + $100
  • Apple iPod connector cord + ear buds – $19 + $29
  • Apple iPhone USB Charger – $29
  • AT&T Global Option 3.6 ExpressCard 3G card – $299 Retail + $59/month
  • Bose Quiet Comfort 3 Charger + Battery – $40 + $50
  • The bag itself – $50
  • ..and other misc items.

My entire life was on that laptop, and I haven’t performed a backup in some time now. All of my music, photos, videos, documents, SAVED PASSWORDS, and more were on that computer.

If you have known me or read the site for any length of time now, you know that I am on my computer nearly every moment I am not traveling or working. I honestly don’t know what to do with myself without a computer. I am in the Apple SF store writing this, and trying to cancel the debit card that was in the case.

Car broken into

I know this is a huge thing to ask, but I just recently moved to San Francisco, and haven’t gotten a single paycheck yet. I had to have my best friend from Florida Western Union me the $160 to have my window replaced, as my bank account now reads in the negative figures.

If you find an extra $5 lying around and are willing to donate it to me toward getting a new laptop, I would HIGHLY appreciate it.

I’ve never put a sticker or any sort on my laptop, but if you have a company and what the logo displayed on my laptop, I will post a sticker on it. I travel all over the Bay Area, and to a ton of the tech meetups, so your logo will be visible in a WIDE variety of locations.

I think that the more reasonable thing to do is to try to just raise enough for a MacBook (non-Pro), as the difference in price is around $700-$800. I do need to get a new wireless card, and my old one was ExpressCard/34, which only works on the MacBook Pro, but they have a USB option (which sticks out like a sore thumb), but it does the job. The base model is $1099 (or $999 with a student discount).

I know this is a huge gesture, but I don’t know what else to say or do. I honestly feel lost and alone in a city I barely know. My life hasn’t been coming together the way I planned, but maybe this can be a huge step in the rebuilding effort.

Below is a way to donate via Google Checkout (think Paypal, but Google’s version without fees). I have also included a link to Amazon’s Honor System which provides donations at a cheap transaction fee (paid on my side). There are pre-set amounts in the Google one, and you can choose any amount you want via Amazon. I regret that I don’t have a PayPal account, but these are the options I have left.

I once again thank everyone who has been supportive and left me well wishes today. Until I get a new laptop, updates in tech as well as my life will be few and far between. I apologize, but once I am back up and running, I will be posting a lot more, and have a podcast in the works as well.

Thank you,

Nicholas R. Starr Schuler

$20.00 – Donate $20
$25.00 – Donate $25
$50.00 – Donate $50
$100.00 – Donate $100
$250.00 – Donate $250
$10.00 – Donate $10
$5.00 – Donate $5

amazon picture link thingDonate via Amazon

23 thoughts on “Traveshamockery – Or How I Lost My Digital Life

  1. Rough times, nick, rough times 😐

    Although, here’s a thought: how about you forgo your digital life and start working on a real life? It might seem tough to kick at first (like all addictions), but you’ll find your way sooner then later.

    good luck.

  2. PS… why are you out and about “sightseein” when you should be looking FOR A JOB!!! As you are being all touresty… start filling out applications! Every twitter I get now makes me cringe! Even my husband is starting to think you are a sad sorry man. Tell me ( and I mean if you choose to respond, i welcome it) and maby i should be amazed a the velocity at which you can suck sooo many individuals into aiding your quest for further delusions of grandure. I really want to know if you think you are gonna get by in life with this virtual pan-handling. I will not pray for you, i will not root for you, I will not encourage you no more. You need to wake up, if you want the things that money and polite society provide, you must actually WORK for it, not wait for a hand out!!!

    an ex fan who’s now finds you downward spiral entertaining

  3. Ouch, sorry to hear about this, Nick. I had my car broken into as well, and a friend of mine had her rental broken into when she came to visit me. It’s a huge problem in SF, to the point where I’ve been telling people to leave NOTHING in their cars. The crazy homeless here will break into your car for a napkin. Anyway, don’t let it get you down too much. 😦

  4. Here’s a thought: who’d want nick starr’s notebook? I sure wouldn’t so hey whoever took it must’ve had some interest in your personal life. Congratulations, you have someone so interested in you that they’d break into your car and steal your stuff. Consider yourself loved.

  5. I’m surprised that anyone leaves ANYTHING in a car at all, in any city. We are permanently reminded in the UK never to leave anything on show – a few years ago my fiance’s company car was broken into right outside my mother’s house, simply because he’d left just his suit jacket hanging inside. They obviously thought he would have left money in the pockets, or something. We found the suit discarded in a garden a few metres away.

    We don’t leave the iPod on show (or even the charger or iTrip), my DS, mobile phones, even money, business cards or house keys – it was warned on the BBC a while ago that most people have ‘HOME’ stored in their sat nav. If you’ve left your house keys in there, guess what? You just gave the thief your home address and an invite. And we are very careful about making sure his hi-visibility jacket he needs as a building project manager, is not on show in the boot of the car – thieves catch a glimpse when they walk past as you’re busy putting stuff in there, and know that hi-vis jackets often mean site tools, worth a lot of money.

    Please Nick, don’t ever leave anything AT ALL visible in your car again – that’s what the boot (trunk) is for. I would be utterly devastated if I lost my Mac, so I can sympathise. SF is much, much safer in my opinion than London or major cities here, but I still followed the same rules when I was there. Thieves don’t consider that you have a life, or how much the theft will cost YOU. Yes I know, material possessions don’t matter etc, but when you have your work and so much info on there, they do.

    There are some cool backpacks on the market for laptops, if you get enough bucks left over from the fund, so you can carry it everywhere and not leave it in the car. I’m so glad people are willing to help – all the little donations add up 🙂

  6. I found this link: for Verey Apple Mac theft recovery software.
    “When stolen, Vereyâ„¢ will start recording via a connected video capture device (e.g. iSight) and send emails to the owner’s email addresses. The email will contain the necessary network information: IP address, machine serial number, MAC Hardware Address as well as nearby wireless networks and video clips captured by the camera.
    Vereyâ„¢ I will also limit the usage of the machine by locking up the machine after a certain amount of time. During lock up, the machine screen will shows details how to contact the owner and other information set by the owner.
    Vereyâ„¢ has the ability to integrate with your Twitter account, this way you will also be able to receive alerts via IM, SMS, email and the web.”

  7. Dude that sucks!!

    The thing Steven said about the napkin is true.

    I saw a stencil in the SOMA some time back that said, “Secure your car and person.” I always wondered how to secure your person.

  8. You do have auto insurance, right? Comprehensive?

    So then … how much is your deductible? After all, that’s what insurance is for. I remember reading that you upgraded your insurance policy to pay for your cracked windshield.

    Oh, you don’t have insurance? Well then.

    Be thankful that the only life lost that evening was your digital life.

  9. Your car’s auto insurance DOES NOT cover anything that is lying in your car…ie not bolted down. If they would of taken my car stereo that would of been covered.

    The only type of insurance that would cover theft of something in your home or vehicle is home owneres or renters, which I don’t have for obvious reasons.


    *Sharp intake of breath*

    C’mon dude, you shouldn’t leave your home in an unfamiliar place, you’re just asking for trouble, you honestly didn’t expect something like this?

    Ok, I’ll level with you, I have sympathy for your possessions being stolen, I know that sucks, it’s happened to me, my suggestion to you though; Get an apartment, some kind of household, get a safe, whenever you don’t need your important things, put them in the safe, it’s as simple as that.

    A tech god like you should be able to find a job to pay for the apartment, even if you don’t live in the damn thing and want to live in your car (though I really can’t think of ANY reason to), it’s still storage space.

    Traveled to the golden gate bridge recently? I hear the view there is lovely.

    Take care.

    Tomalonge. x

  11. A few years ago, my brother’s backpack got stolen out of my mom’s car when she was parked in SF. I know it’s nothing like a laptop, but when you’re in 2nd grade, your backpack truly is your life. Anyway, I feel your pain, or at least I do vicariously through my brother.

    You should be sleeping in Southern Marin! Bridge tolls would suck but at least Sausalito and Mill Valley are much safer.

  12. I know this is one hell-of-a-late reply, but I was clicking around twitter, DD and noticed your site. I think i might have heard about this on the D&D show, but it’s a long time ago and I can’t remember.

    I hope you have got a replacement computer by now, and i wish i could help, but I’m sorry to say that my bank account is pretty much scraped these days. I have however clicked a few links, and hoping that this will help somehow (at least it might help if a lot of people follow my example)

    I see that you have had a little discussion about insurances in the comments. In Norway we have a “travel-insurance” that can be used for things like this. (If someone steal my computer when I’m traveling to work the insurance will cover it.)

    Do you guys have anything like this over there?

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