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Old 03-11-2011, 07:30   #16
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Re: Tablet or Laptop for Navigation ?

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Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
If you're going to include moving away from the US at all in your sailing, you'll need a satellite connection, and that can be pretty expensive. You can buy a Garmin 441 for around $450 and connect that to a laptop. I just saw a Toshiba laptop at Best Buy for $399. The Garmin comes with satellite ability. I think you'll find that satellite connection for a phone or tablet (or computer) would be pretty expensive.
Satellite communication and satellite weather reception are two different things. The Garmin can display the latter (with external receiver) but so can a PC.

OTOH if you want full Internet further out than about 15-20 miles offshore then you will need a different setup -- very expensive and that's a topic for a different thread. Near-shore you can get cellular broadband in most "developed" countries, especially near major metro areas. Again, many options for that depending on your specific needs.

A PC can take advantage of every option. An iPad or Droid tablet is more limited. They have their uses, but I wouldn't consider one as a "primary computer" at this point in time. The technology is too limited.
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Old 03-11-2011, 08:00   #17
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Re: Tablet or Laptop for Navigation ?

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Originally Posted by SailFastTri View Post
I'm using a netbook with Coastal Explorer, integrated with Class B AIS which also feeds GPS info, and I could add other data streams for all instruments via NMEA (not needed). I use a Verizon 5-spot so I have Internet to all devices while coastal, out to 15+ miles max.

iPad is nice but it's much more limited for software and integration choices, plus you need the 3G model or external GPS which is sort of a kluge. If you already own one for other reasons then why not? But I wouldn't buy an iPad today just for navigation.
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A PC can take advantage of every option. An iPad or Droid tablet is more limited. They have their uses, but I wouldn't consider one as a "primary computer" at this point in time. The technology is too limited.
SailFast, can I ask you a question.... do you actually own an iPad and install the nav software and did you try that out on passage? From your postings I deduct that you don't have an iPad but at the same time your statements sound like you have made an extensive comparison.

I do have both and came to the conclusion that I want both. I can now even have my radar image overlay on C-Map charts on my iPad, wireless. This even works with an non-3G (= no internal GPS) model, but it needs my MacMini running TimeZero to feed it.

Charts that cost a fortune on PC/laptop are very affordable on iPad (or other Android tablets) so that you do not need to divert to illegal copies (think $40 for Central America instead of $300+) when the budget is tight.

I think all the posters in this thread that are pro iPad also have laptops and used those for navigation too...

ciao!
Nick.
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Old 03-11-2011, 08:24   #18
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Re: Tablet or Laptop for Navigation ?

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
SailFast, can I ask you a question.... do you actually own an iPad and install the nav software and did you try that out on passage? From your postings I deduct that you don't have an iPad but at the same time your statements sound like you have made an extensive comparison.

I do have both and came to the conclusion that I want both. I can now even have my radar image overlay on C-Map charts on my iPad, wireless. This even works with an non-3G (= no internal GPS) model, but it needs my MacMini running TimeZero to feed it.

Charts that cost a fortune on PC/laptop are very affordable on iPad (or other Android tablets) so that you do not need to divert to illegal copies (think $40 for Central America instead of $300+) when the budget is tight.

I think all the posters in this thread that are pro iPad also have laptops and used those for navigation too...

ciao!
Nick.
I don't own one because I don't see the need (at this time) but am very aware of the capabilities. I think it's a nice-to-have. But your own setup implies that you don't use it as a primary computer (to the exclusion of other computers) and that was my main point.

I also don't see it as a (preferable) replacement for a dedicated C-P at the helm. Yes you can get armored weatherproof cases but it's still not sunlight-viewable and it's a somewhat kludgey package if you try to mount it in a weatherproof case and feed power to it at the helm. Not so sure the touch features would work as well either in that circumstance.

But I'm not a fan of touch screen C-P's either.... between the rain, salt spray, and sun-screen on fingers. There are people who like them but the downsides are greasy marks on screens, difficulty being precise when there is a lot of motion underway, and then there is this:
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Old 03-11-2011, 08:37   #19
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Re: Tablet or Laptop for Navigation ?

Here is my setup, if/when I want to have the full navigation software of the netbook in the cockpit.

It's a weatherproof sunlight-readable Panasonic Toughbook CF-08 display. It uses Windows Remote Desktop Services to display the Windows 7 applications running on the netbook, which in this case is a Toshiba but it could be any brand. The Verizon 5-spot shown acts as a local on-board hot-spot to provide a peer connection and also connects up to 5 concurrent devices to the Internet within about 15 miles of the coast (sometimes further). (In New England the Verizon broadband coverage is very good, probably 90% plus coverage).

The pen interface of the Toughbook is compatible with mouse functions and is not affected by rain or spray.

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Old 03-11-2011, 08:43   #20
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Re: Tablet or Laptop for Navigation ?

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Originally Posted by SailFastTri View Post
I don't own one because I don't see the need (at this time) but am very aware of the capabilities. I think it's a nice-to-have. But your own setup implies that you don't use it as a primary computer (to the exclusion of other computers) and that was my main point.
My setup will be used by very few others because of both complexity and cost. Only freaks like me will go for it. But when you already own Furuno Navnet 3D and/or MaxSea TimeZero (or Nobeltec TimeZero), you have an extra good reason to get an iPad.

IMHO, the reason that you don't see the need, is because you don't have one. Like I wrote before, those who did get one are very positive about it and they all have at least a laptop to compare it to. Good chance you would flip over too when you would try one out :-)

Don't compare iPad touch screen and ease of use with Andoid or Garmin etc. Nobody figured out touch screens the way Apple did. There are good reasons why iPad is more expensive than other tablets and not just to fill the Apple vaults. The iPad screen will take any sun lotion you smear onto it without a hiccup... glass is pretty inert, don't worry (we already tested throwing soda's over them etc. and the iPad survived without a mark).

ciao!
Nick.
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Old 03-11-2011, 09:44   #21
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Re: Tablet or Laptop for Navigation ?

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My setup will be used by very few others because of both complexity and cost. Only freaks like me will go for it.

snip

ciao!
Nick.
Same here, with my setup. In fact I never use it because (with a C-P at the helm) even though I own it I don't see the need for the remote display with full Internet access and navigation software in the cockpit. The down-side is more amps being sucked from the battery (for charging) and another expensive delicate gizmo to break and get in the way (even though the Toughbook is more ruggedized than iPad or Droid it's still a glass display).

And yes I know Apple got the interface right but they're not really very far ahead of others. What they really got right is the marketing to foster a proliferation of apps and 3rd party accessories that make it a more compelling choice. What they got wrong is not putting GPS in the Wi-Fi models. What's right from their point of view is that all roads lead to iTunes and the app store (and now iCloud). That they are not "open" is both plus and minus, from a consumer perspective.

But just to drift topic a bit -- I suspect people should be a bit concerned about the amount and type of info Apple is logging about people's usage, locations and data AND the potential that it could be abused. That's a concern I have not just about Apple, but other app providers who use location based services and search providers in general. There really is no such thing as online privacy, and people seem to ignore or be complacent that. It is landing many in hot water because they put private things online or send them via text/email assuming only the intended parties are privy to it, but then it comes out later. Google, your phone company, your ISP and others log everything you do, and keep those logs forever if they choose. You have given them that right in your service and license agreements. Those agreements are all intended to give the providers the right to use your info and indemnify them from your actions or your consequences of using their services, and limit liability for their own screw-ups (and security breaches) to the maximum extent the law allows. (Been some high profile breaches recently and there will be more). Then there is the question of which law? Cloud-based services can be hosted anywhere and administered from anywhere. Jurisdiction issues will arise, and the legal system moves at a snail's pace compared to the technology landscape.

Anyone who wants to play with wireless networking aboard can buy my Toughbook cheap.
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Old 03-11-2011, 12:34   #22
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Re: Tablet or Laptop for Navigation ?

My set up is perfect for a cheap old sod like me. Its a ancient (1999) HP laptop hooked through a car charger to the house battery. I run Seaclear and have the NOAA charts loaded(both free). It uses a little puck type gps and I have an AIS receiver. If I want to go on line I have an air card but since I let my virus protection on the boat 'puter lapse I don't do it much. The only complaint I have with this set up is the battery life if I forget to turn on the charger. Seaclear is very easy to learn even for a Ludite like me. I think you may have to change chart format for using non US charts but it IS doable.

Did I mention its free? .......................m
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Old 04-11-2011, 02:54   #23
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Re: Tablet or Laptop for Navigation ?

I bought a copy of THE AMERICAN PRACTICAL NAVIGATOR for my iPad from Amazon kindle and simply followed the official advice and never had any problems.
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