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Old 04-15-2008, 02:53 AM   #29
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I am very new in this forums so please indulge me. While perusing I stumbled on this topic and I could not resist adding my few pennies worth, especially since I noticed that so few of you seem to use Apples.

I have been working professionally with computers for over 30 years. Most of my programming experience in the last 20 year is with the Unix operating system. But since the first Apple Macintosh was released back in 1984 I was completely taken by its elegant design. Since then, I have owned several different models. Now we have 4 Macs in our house.

It was natural for me to use my Mac laptop in my boat. As far as the hardware goes I never had a problem. I keep the computer on the boat for 6-7 m/year and it has always worked flawlessly. But, as several of you have pointed out navigation and cruising commercial software is predominantly made for the Windows systems. This was so frustrating to me that I almost, I say almost, bought a PC for the boat. I did not. This was back in the middle ages of the late 90s.

Since then several things have changed. First Apple switched operating system. Their new system OS X, is Unix based. This means that I can program the beast with ease. But more important I can use or port a vast number of public domain free software developed for Unix. They do include mapping and and navigation mostly used by scientists. The second development was 2 years ago. Apple changed processor from Power PC to Intel. This translates into the capability of a Mac to operate with both the Mac OS AND Windows.

So here is how I use it. I mostly run the Mac OS with its easy of use, lack of malware, stability etc. If I need a program which is not available for the Mac I look into the Unix pool. But if there is a good program available only for Windows then I can use it too.

Many times in anchorages when people hear that I know something about computers they often accost me with various problems. Most of them seem to stem from the fact that these are people who know very little about computers, and who are not inclined to duel deeply into them, yet they have chosen one of the hardest to learn operating system and struggle with it.

Ultimately there "right" computer is the one that gets your job done with the least amount of fuss. If you are familiar with a PC then that is right for you. If you are familiar with a Mac then that is for you. BUT if you are not familiar with either then do yourself a favor and do not get a PC.

Sorry for the long lecture.
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Old 04-15-2008, 07:31 AM   #30
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Thank you for that very informative insight!
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Old 04-16-2008, 11:28 PM   #31
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One thing I'm seeing more and more of from cruisers out there is high quality media in the form of DVDs, video, and electronic photo albums.

The Mac has a well-deserved reputation as a superior tool for capturing, editing, and outputting different types of media. So if you are looking for a computer that can run Windows-- and all the Windows-based cruising software-- AND want to be creative with all the media assets you gather along your route, the Mac is the way to go. Because of the effort Apple and it's software developers have put into developing the interface and workflows, you're much more likely to find yourself enjoying the experience of working with your media. On top of that, you can rest assured the operating system is not going to let you down, or rile you up. I've been on a Mac since 1984 creating media, and more recently on OSX creating educational multimedia and in all my thousands of hours at the keyboard, I have not had to dicker with the OS in any way. If it freezes, something that happens very very rarely ( a handful of times in ten or so years), I simply reboot and all is well.

The dream set-up (cost is an issue for new- used can be much cheaper) for me and my boat is the MacBook Pro 17" with a large external drive, an external keyboard, the Boot Camp program to run Windows XP, Apple's Final Cut Express or Pro for video and Aperture for photo editing, and serial adapter to accept serial connections from nav-related hardware aboard.

One final note: The quote below is from the Apple site. It mentions two attributes of the laptops important to the cruiser.

"Every PowerBook also includes Apple's patent-pending Sudden Motion Sensor technology which integrates a tri-axis accelerometer to help protect a spinning hard drive if the notebook is accidentally dropped. Apple's revolutionary backlit keyboard with ambient light sensors for working in low-light conditions is now built in to all 15- and 17-inch PowerBooks and is up to 10 times brighter than before.

Warren Fraser

s/v Voyager of Yokohama
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