Panbo

Category: The future

GPS spoofing, will we ever learn?

Aug 5, 2013

GPS_spoofing_superyacht_courtesty_University_of_Texas_Austin.jpgHat's off to Professor Todd Humphreys and his grad students for not only demonstrating that GPS spoofing is possible but for doing so in such a dramatic fashion that they got the whole media world chattering about it. For instance, Fox News led their story with "The world's GPS system is vulnerable to hackers or terrorists who could use it to hijack ships -- even commercial airliners, according to a frightening new study that exposes a huge potential hole in national security."  While I think that's an overheated conclusion, I suspect that we may need an even greater scare to finally build out a secondary form of civilian electronic position fixing...

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My Pebble, more PAN in Panbo

Mar 9, 2013
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I've been waiting so long that disappointment loomed large. It was mid-April last year when I became a Kickstarter 'backer' in the Pebble E-Paper Watch for iPhone and Android, which really just meant that I might get a good deal by buying one upfront for delivery the following September. But I wasn't the only geek who thought they'd sniffed out a bargain. Though Pebble's Kickstarter goal was only $100,000, almost 69,000 backers sent them over 10 million dollars! Which was neat in the sense that the Pebble people could then make the watch waterproof and add other features, but not so great in that suddenly they had a LOT of watches to build, which took much longer than 'estimated'. However, I've been smiling about Pebble ever since I opened my mailbox last week and found the box with "It's Time" printed on it in large, ironic type...

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Navico's numbers, should you care?

Mar 5, 2013
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As a privately held corporation Navico doesn't have to reveal anything about its financial state, but last week it issued a proud press release claiming a dramatic 15% sales increase in 2012, which resulted in revenues of 256 million dollars and EBITDA earnings of 41.4 million. And at the Las Palmas B&G event, the mother company added some claims about what their numbers meant versus the competition, as seen in the slide above. Is Navico painting a fair picture of where the recreational marine electronics market is at? Does it matter to consumers anyway?

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Maretron IPG100, the missing link, sort of?

Feb 12, 2011
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Wow, Maretron just released the IPG100, an "Internet Protocol Gateway" that can take all the NMEA 2000 PGNs on a backbone, turn them into TCP/IP data packets, and serve them out an Ethernet port.  Which means of course that the data can then be routed by cable to a vessel's local network of computers (and other fixed Ethernet gear) and by WiFi to an infinite assortment of onboard mobile tablets, apps phones, etc.  Obvious too is that an IP gateway could also be adept for sending data off a vessel, and commands back, for remote monitoring, troubleshooting, and more.  And Maretron's IPG100 consumes only 0.5 amps of N2K backbone power at most and its $595 price tag includes much more than I've already described.  Or possibly much less, depending on your point of view!...

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Digital Yacht BOATraNET, something truly different?

Jan 12, 2011
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Interesting!  Digital Yacht's BOATraNET -- just being introduced at the London Boat Show -- is a low-amperage 12v Linux server designed expressly to deliver all sorts of NMEA 0183 and/or 2000 boat data, plus centrally stored info and media, via WiFi to whatever assemblage of smart phones, tablets, and PCs are on board your boat.  And you won't need a special app but rather just a new generation browser running HTML 5.  You can also connect a high power WiFi transceiver to BOATraNET so that all your devices can get online via the boat's own hot spot when you're in port.  Can anyone argue with Digital Yacht's characterization of this concept as "revolutionary"?... 

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Gizmo 2010-2011, Happy New Year!

Dec 31, 2010
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I was happy to do some late season cruising and electronics testing on Gizmo this year, and am also happy that she's snuggled high and dry under shrink wrap now that winter -- including at least a foot of the white stuff -- is really here.  But something I'm really excited about in 2011 is my plan to take the boat south next fall.  Oh, I don't intend to stop working; in fact, if the manufacturers continue to cooperate with what may be the industry's longest testing program,  Gizmo's flying bridge will look fairly similar to what I put together this season. (Which, come to think of it, I haven't shown off until now; click above for a bigger image, and be assured that I have hundreds of screen shots yet to sort through and write about.)  The thought of a long gunkholing, blogging, and boat-show-ing circuit to, say, Charleston and back is sure motivating me, though...

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Racer's Edge Laser Wind Sensor

Mar 24, 2010
RacersEdgeFrontView.jpgby Dan Corcoran

Are you able to estimate wind direction and speed from small waves in the water, the movement of clouds, or visual cues from other boats 300, 500, or even 700 meters away? It is a good skill for a sailor to have, but very tough to learn. The Racer's Edge, pictured above, is a high tech wind measurement device capable of measuring wind speed and direction at considerable distances, enabling a sailboat crew to optimize course and sail trim for maximum speed.

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Dan Corcoran (b393capt) | Permalink | Comments (5)

AC on an iPad, Android coming too

Feb 7, 2010
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Jeff Siegel of Active Captain (discussed here recently) is the first developer to submit a mock-up showing what his software might look like on an iPad (in response to my challenge), and it's so intriguing it deserves a quickie entry.  It hadn't even occurred to me that POIs could be neatly listed in the order a cruiser would encounter them along a given route.  They can be filtered, too; in this case only marinas offering special deals are showing.  I believe those deals are examples of the co-op advertising AC mentioned in their recent newsletter, and they look like a win-win thing to me.  Altogether, the Active Captain Companion app, which will likely be free, sure looks like a good use of the iPad's portability, connectivity, screen size, and extra interface options.  Jeff plans something similar for Android phones and tablets using the Layar environment.  I'm hoping we'll see more marine mock-ups for all these platforms.

ARGUS, harvesting depth data the ambitious way!

Jan 13, 2010
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The concept is pretty sensational:  The ARGUS (Autonomous Remote Global Underwater Surveillance) system would equip volunteer vessels with a custom WiFi transceiver that is connected to the nav system for GPS and depth, and that can automatically upload the resulting data files (when possible) to a shore server where it's collated and quality controlled before being turned over to NOAA so it can better manage its dredging and charting responsibilities.  If it all works out as hoped, the volunteers might even get the equipment for free and be able to use the WiFi connection for their own Internet needs...

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Trends in marine electronics, your thoughts please!

Oct 21, 2009
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I'm working on a January Yachting feature about trends in marine electronics, and I'd appreciate your feedback.  One thing I'm fairly sure of is that multifunction displays have come a long way in recent years, and justifiably dominate the mid size boat market.  I took a solo overnight expedition last week, and had to note again that each of the four MFD/radar systems currently installed on Gizmo is pretty darn powerful.  Especially if you imagine yourself five to ten years back in marine electronics.  Note how the Garmin 24HD radome is imaging and overlaying that low ledge seen off to starboard, without any tuning, and also the NMEA 2000 data flowing onto the 5212 screen (and every other display aboard).  Note, too, the iPhone on the dash -- right then running SailTrac, a trip tracking and blogging program I'll write about soon -- and the Standard Horizon HX850S, which also has a GPS and is ready to call in the cavalry via DSC should I screw up.  There are many trends to consider...

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