A screenshot feature, do it!
Whereas I got the week started on what’s largely a trade subject, let me add an unsolicited suggestion to everyone who makes plotters, multifunction displays, or any other marine electronics with a dedicated screen and some sort of accessible memory. If possible, please add a screenshot feature! My intent is obviously selfish; dumping .jpg or .bmp files to a CF or SD card is so much easier than photographing displays, and the results so much better for web and magazine readers.
My wishes aside, though, companies that develop this feature—I’m thinking of Raymarine and now Lowrance, seen above—will not only see their product screens shown better, but may get publicity they never expected. I’m remembering an article I saw somewhere which, while on the general subject of route building, was illustrated almost entirely with Raymarine E-Series screenshots. I knew why immediately. (And if there are other marine machines that can make screenshots, please tell us.)
On E– and C-Series, and probably G’s (?), you just hold down the Data button until you hear a second beep, and there’ll be a .bmp file on whatever CF card is inserted (as long as it’s not already full). My understanding is that the feature was initially built for the benefit of Raymarine’s own marketing department, plus writers, but eventually it was realized that many regular users like to save screens, plus it can be useful for trouble shooting. Lowrance apparently just added that “Snapshot” feature to its operating system, and when enabled you save a screen just by hitting the power button (but you have to disable the feature to get dimming back). Many Lowrance units have long had the ability to save streaming sonar imagery along with track data for later viewing at home, with free software, or playback on the machine split screen with a chart replay if desired. It’s cool, but it’s the snapshot feature that will soon help me show you the Lowrance Broadband Sonar in action. It is disruptive!
PS Today is supposedly the day the FCC may permit Class B AIS. Cross your fingers, and please be in touch if you find out what happens before you see it here. Update: What I’ve heard is that the FCC Chairman dropped the AIS issue off today’s agenda, for reasons unknown. There was also a chance that the Commissioners would just sign off on AIS B without discussion, but that has happened yet either. The FCC AIS B saga continues…