November 2009 Archives

Lenny's interface testing, flawed?

Nov 30, 2009

How does the old expression go..."He who giveth can also be an annoying butt?"  Here's my problem:  Last week Lenny Rudow wrote one of the most imaginative electronics pieces I've seen since, well, Lenny himself started flushing handhelds, but I think the premise is flawed. Before contemplating my two cents, though, please check out the article yourself, offered gratis by Mad Mariner... 

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Ship Finder 1.7, 50 freebies

Nov 30, 2009

I've enjoyed the Ship Finder AIS viewing app as it's gained features and available feeds, and particularly like how the latest 1.7 version draws targets with their reported heading (and course predictor lines if they're underway).  How nice then that developer PinkGrapefruit Designs is letting Panbo give redemption codes for free copies to the first fifty iPhone-owning readers who email iphone at{12:30 pm EST:  Sorry, the codes are 'sold' out.}

Giving Thanks, a holiday break

Nov 25, 2009
Roy Delgado Thanksgiving Cartoon.jpg

There's a fair bit of hokum wrapped around the Thanksgiving holiday we're about to celebrate here in the states, which I'm particularly aware of as I just finished Nathanial Philbrick's excellent Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War.  But it's always good to get together with friends and family.  And to give thanks.  I have much to be grateful for, like all of you who read Panbo, and especially the ones who take the time to participate in the comments sections and forums.  It may get contentious sometimes, but it's good.  And a specific thanks to Roy Delgado, who made me laugh twice; first with the cartoon above, and then again when explaining how he'd hoped it might the one that finally got accepted by the New Yorker magazine...after nearly 20,000 submissions!  I'll be back on Monday, and iPhone users should come by early, as I'll have 50 treats to hand out.

Standard Horizon GX2100, AISrx/VHF combo for most any boat?

Nov 24, 2009

I consider this fairly big news. Not only does the GX2100 combine full featured Class D VHF with a true dual AIS receiver in one box with a fairly big screen, and include most all of the nice added features the pairing can support, but it does it all for $400 MAP (minimum advertised price).  That's a lot of features per gear dollar, and I'm going to list most of them because they're not online elsewhere yet:

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Raymarine E-Wide hands-on #1, & money talk

Nov 23, 2009

Raymarine product manager Mark Garland and marketing manager Jim McGowan kindly came to Maine last Thursday and swapped a new E140 Widescreen for the C140W I used for radar comparisons all summer. They were lucky in terms of testing-on-the-Bay weather, but not so lucky in terms of dire sounding Raymarine financial news that I felt compelled to drill them about. I'll save that for last, though, as the E Wide is definitely worth top billing...

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Kees at Mets, almost like walking the show

Nov 19, 2009

Wow, Kees Verrujit, our N2K Panbot in an attic, has out done his own reporting on last year's METS, and he even shot some videos for us.  A collective tip of the beanies to Kees, please: 

In general the feeling was quietly positive. Everyone still around will probably be able to weather the remainder of the economic storm. Attendance today was lower than the earlier two editions I visited, but then this was my first time visiting on the last day so I can't say for sure how busy it was. Sorry to say, there was no big big news. Still there were a number of exciting new developments. I've kept those to the end of this long mail!

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AIS over NMEA 2000, concept defended

Nov 18, 2009

The screen shot above shows MaxSea TimeZero Explorer running on Gizmo this morning, much like I showed last week.  In this case you can see how I'm cranking up the radar gain, a neat right click and mouse wheel maneuver, because I'm trying to see the ship coming down the Bay. Which was really asking too much of the superb DRS2D radome because there were so many large obstructions between Gizmo's slip and the Kristen Knutsen. What's really different about this screen is that the FA50 AIS data is finally getting to MaxSea TZ, which should have just happened given that the transponder, like the radar, is plugged into the same Ethernet switch as the MFD and the PC...

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New Garmin 6- and 7000 series, & Class B AIS 600

Nov 16, 2009

Garmin just announced several new products which will be shown when the doors open at METS tomorrow morning. The 6000 and 7000 series are very much like the successful 4- and 5000 series except that apparently they've got enough processor speed to warrant a new expression for how fast and smoothly they pan and zoom charts -- Garmin G Motion. They've also got backlighting that dims down more than the originals, and backlit keypads. And the big mama 15" touch screen 7012 and 7015, which will retail for something like $7,000, have a feature that's a first for MFDs, I think -- VGA input, so a user can use them as a monitor for a down below PC. Interesting!  They also have four regular video inputs, and I'm told that all the new machines can display video input full screen (which was a problem). Though it's not in the press release, I also understand the 6- and 7000 series will have limited distribution, which means they're mainly meant for installer/dealers, a crowd Garmin has slowly been winning over. Garmin's new Class B AIS is no slouch either...

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SailTimer, gone iPhone & handheld

Nov 16, 2009

I first heard about SailTimer -- a set of algorithms for calculating sailing tacks, including total distance and tacking time to destination (TTD) -- back in 2006.  And it did indeed become a very interesting feature of NavSim's SailCruiser.  But developer Craig Summers was not done there.  His Indepth Navigation company now offers a free, and very simplified, iPhone version of SailTimer as well as the $14 app illustrated above.  Frankly, even the paid app doesn't seem as full featured as the online SailTimer demo yet -- you don't see what your calculated speed is, for instance -- but I know Summers is working on it.  In fact, SailTimer 2.0, with tacking lines drawn between those pins on the map, is due out this week.  And then there's the "Sailing GPS"...

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MaxSea Time Zero, live at last

Nov 13, 2009

It took Furuno and MaxSea quite a while to actually ship Time Zero software in the U.S., and it took me a while to clear enough disk space to load it on that oldish HP laptop, but the long wait did not end in disappointment.  My first impression is that TZ charting and radar run beautifully, and with amazing responsiveness even though the laptop barely meets the suggested minimum specs.  The photo above is also another testament to the DRSD2's close range resolution; not far beyond my bow you can see the two boats on floats and shrink-wrapped schooners that are being cleanly targeted.  And don't presume the GPS is off because Gizmo seems to be ashore...

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