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Old 11-30-2012, 02:10 AM   #1
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Default Telephone magic

I just received via email from the US magazine Cruising World, a list of Christmas specials.

Two or three items on the 10 item list talk of phones. One is an emergency phone, one is a protective case for your phone and another is a GPS thingy.

The blurb in a couple of cases suggests that smartphones are the 'ants-pants' in navigation sophistication for the serious sailor.

Given the 'apps' available from tidal data, electronic compasses, through GPS, mapping and nav features, and the level of connectivity; is the time coming (or indeed has it already arrived) where smartphones and a few peripherals are all that is now needed to navigate safely, the waterways of the world?

Plug in a depth sounder, radar array and AIS and fill your boat with all the goodies for just a few hundred, instead of several thousands or dollars.

Not being the most pliable and accepting techie, I remain very cautious...but then again, the gold standard for comms just a few years ago was a valve radio at sea, and a telex onshore.

To paraphrase a quote from a very old guy whose tradesman son's birthday is soon to be celebrated:
"Quo vadis nauta domini "?

PS. I would have used classical rather than biblical latin, 'quod est in vestri posterus nauta homo', (what is in your future sailor man), but I'm not a homo.
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:54 AM   #2
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Just knowing the difference makes you a homo.

I haven't seen any of these toys yet, but I can almost guarantee the monthly service payments will kill you. I'll stick to steam driven instruments for now.
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Old 12-01-2012, 01:19 PM   #3
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by haiqu View Post
Just knowing the difference makes you a homo.

I haven't seen any of these toys yet, but I can almost guarantee the monthly service payments will kill you. I'll stick to steam driven instruments for now.
As retired electrical engineer/physicist I find steam driven instruments very difficult to operate and maintain. I stick to the electronic ones.

Seriously now there is and will continue to be a tension between all the new technological marvels and their complexity versus the simplicity of the 19th century. My approach is the cautious outfitting of my boat with modern conveniences, that I can afford, like refrigerator, GPS/Plotter, Radar, AIS, electric head pump, and recently iPhone. My rule is that I should be able to handle my boat without them. So, I also have a manual head pump to replace the electric when it fails, a sextant to navigate without the GPS, paper charts, etc.

As far as the monthly service payments to GSM provider it is true that they easily bankrupt you but I have found that I, at least in the EU, can keep the minimum monthly fee and then cautiously temporarily upgrade it during my cruising months. The last time I did so it came to about 40 per month. This covered all my e-mail, and weather forecast needs.

Happy sails
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