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Old 03-02-2008, 20:32   #1
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Mac Software for Cruising/Sailing

I'm working toward boat shopping this time next year (liveaboard) and have a question for Mac people who cruise...

I read something (on this forum, possibly) about someone who switched from Mac to Windows when they went cruising because certain software wasn't available for the Mac.

As a Mac developer and someone who intends to cruise with his family for years I'm interested in finding out what's missing for Mac that Windows has?

What software do you find handy or necessary (depending on your point-of-view) when you're cruising?

I'm especially interested in hearing suggestions from people who can't find specific software for Macintosh computers.

Thanks!

Jay Jennings
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Old 03-02-2008, 21:14   #2
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Jay, Most of the Mac users we know run their software using what I believe is the virtual Windows program for Mac. Sorry if that is not the correct term.
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Old 03-02-2008, 21:21   #3
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Hi Jay,

Let me be the first to tell you to develop your butt off for the Mac marine market. Please. I'm convinced that the Mac market could be very large in the boating world with a few key pieces of software. Look at how cruisers use their computers:
1. Navigation
2. HF radio (weatherfax, grib, email, PSK)
3. Virus and spyware collection and enjoyment of misc. annoyances.
4. Photos
5. Video
6. Web sites
7. DVD/TV/MP3 watching and listening
8. WiFi (email, web)

The first three are solidly in the domain of Windows right now, with one or two Navigation programs for the Mac. 4,5 and 6 are very much Mac strong points - especially for people who don't want to spend a lot of time becoming overly geeky about it. The last two are probably equal among different systems, but I believe the Mac has some advantages with regard to hygiene and security with WiFi and sharing and connectivity with media.

So if inroads are made in #1 and 2, the Mac marine market opens up tremendously.

That said, I am using VMware's Fusion to run Windows XP on the Mac and find that it flawlessly runs all Windows programs I've tried so far. Marine-wise, this includes Nobeltec Visual Navigation, Tides and Currents, Mscan Meteo weather fax, JVComm32 weather fax and others that I can't remember right now.

Specifically, if you wrote a Mac driver for the Engenius EUB-362ext wireless adapter, I think you would make a lot of quick pocket money. This is an exceptional adapter in wide use in the marine environment but no one seems to be able to get it to work on the Mac.

I suggest also looking around the boating web for good Windows shareware and other small, helpful programs for boating-related stuff and develop Mac versions.

For larger projects, a HF fax/navtex program like Mscan Meteo or JVComm would be very useful, but might require a lot of knowledge about HF radio. There is a pretty decent navigation program for Macs (GPSNavX), so that field isn't as wide open.

Good luck, and I'm really cheering for you on this.

Mark
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Old 03-02-2008, 21:58   #4
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Try this out for using a mac to navigate PassagePlus
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Old 03-02-2008, 23:49   #5
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There is a definite need for a Mac program that does what Airmail does. It's a mail client that works with Pactor modems for use with SailMail or Winlink to send & receive email over HF radio.
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Old 04-02-2008, 01:46   #6
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Jay,

There is nothing that isn't available native on OSX for Mac. For years now, I' have used MacENC and Mr Tides. I'm not sure there is a need for anything else when you combine those products with the ones mentioned above.

Competition is great, and will drive software prices down, but you wouldn't be 1st to market.
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Old 04-02-2008, 03:57   #7
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Mac ENC is great - from what I have heard but I have no chart support for my part of the world. (Australia) - that would be good, I really like my MAC but have kept my dell lappie for the express purpose of boat use
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Old 04-02-2008, 10:42   #8
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We are using Macenc and it's great alongside Mr. Tides. However there isn't an alternative to Airmail, so we use Parallels to run Airmail for Winlink.
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Old 04-02-2008, 10:46   #9
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Check out the Mac Sailing Forum: Forum Index - MacSailing.net - Powered by FusionBB
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Old 04-02-2008, 16:21   #10
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Thanks for all of the comments -- I'll check out the links you guys mentioned.

As far as being first to market, sometimes that's good -- but it's also nice sometimes to see what's out there -- and do something that improves upon the weaknesses.

I'll be looking for both kinds of opportunities. =:)

Jay Jennings
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Old 04-02-2008, 17:02   #11
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I'd steer clear of Navigation software though...

I've used MacENC for literally thousands of NM in often changing areas and not a single weakness was found. Although - I didn't test out the AIS and GRIB file features.

I'm a rabid fan... ha ha.
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Old 05-05-2008, 05:34   #12
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Hi Jay,

MacENC for us as well. Excellent programme! I've started messing around with the GRIB file features and it looks as solid as the rest of the the software.
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Old 08-05-2008, 08:57   #13
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Will MacENC run on a Mac Powerbook G4 or do you need a Mac Powerbook Pro (Intel chip) to run it?
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Old 08-05-2008, 12:24   #14
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Originally Posted by SurfNRG View Post
Will MacENC run on a Mac Powerbook G4 or do you need a Mac Powerbook Pro (Intel chip) to run it?
I come to you today from an iBook G4!

It's my nav computer. It can be a little pokey when scrolling around or loading charts, but it *is* running on this iBook.
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Old 08-05-2008, 14:48   #15
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Originally Posted by SurfNRG View Post
Will MacENC run on a Mac Powerbook G4 or do you need a Mac Powerbook Pro (Intel chip) to run it?

Awe Kevin... buy a Windoze machine

I sailed right by your boat Sunday afternoon with our mutual friend on board.

Your boat is looking great!!
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