Sunday, February 03, 2008

Cutting edge geekspeak...

I really like the Panbo blog which is focused somewhere between cutting edge available technology and never to be available vaporware. Ben Ellison is a guy who knows his way around boats and the water. Add the fact that he is better than most at looking at the overawing output of various Marine Electronics manufacturers and most of the time keeping a good balance of consumer skepticism and onboard utility without going into the dark side of geekdom. If you want sea going electronics geek speak Go see PANBO (HE BE THE MAN).

But since people keep asking...On the geek front here on So It Goes...Well if it's gear for Cinematography, Sound recording or making music...Yes we be geek city! On the other hand all those guitars and cameras don't leave a lot of room for sea going geek stuff and something really has to earn its keep to find space on this ever shrinking CAL 34...

What we do have at the moment is a NASA AIS receiver which talks to our MAC GPSNAVX based chart program which is pretty cool (not to mention cheap) and as soon as someone comes out with an affordable and street legal Class B AIS we will be adding that to the mix. I know that the NASA is not as nice as some of the newer ones available but I have always been resistant to replacing stuff that actually works!

In the cockpit we have an elderly petite black and white Garmin 182 chart plotter which works but we keep looking for a color unit to replace it... We just threw out the Raymarine Flux gate compass as it started getting creative about direction which after all the whole point of the exercise is not being creative! Speed and depth is provided by a Raymarine ST40 BIDATA ( and the speed/log has never ever worked..) Soon to be replaced as well (guess which class B AIS and chart plotter we are not going to buy?)

We have a couple of handheld GPS units as back ups. A tiny $99 on special Garmin and a Trimble Engign handheld that cost a small fortune and was cutting edge tech way back when we bought it in 1992 but still works like a champ!

On the communication front a ICOM SSB which I really will get around to installing one of these days, A couple of Uniden VHF's ( they work way better than the ICOMS they replaced at half the cost)... A Globalstar sat phone which while being problematic to the max does kinda work as long as you don't need to receive calls, get your voice mails on the day sent and are able to keep your calls under a thirty two second length!

Back when our Trimble Ensign GPS was brand spanking new, navigation was a whole different beast... We treated it much like a electronic sextant and we'd take it out and use it once a day when we crossed from The Canaries to Martinique and plot the position on our paper chart... Only when we were a couple of hundred miles away from Martinique did we start taking GPS readings more than once a day. While all the new gear and the "YOU ARE HERE" features are nice but the fact is often more neat than needful and it is important to keep that in mind when outfitting.