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Old 11-03-2014, 14:19   #16
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Re: Suitability of Windows 8 for cruisers

Before posting, I had re-read your messages and realized that you are not a naysayer. Although I did not call you a naysayer, I realize that my wording was sloppy and may have looked like I was lumping you in with the others. I apologize.

Thanks for explaining your level of knowledge - I can gauge my response appropriately to help you.

The Windows tablets that are "app only based" would have to be Windows RT tablets. They run on ARM processors with a stripped down version of Windows that only runs the "tablet apps." There aren't many of those around anymore, except maybe on clearance. I would not advise buying any of them. I am with the "naysayers" on that one point.

The Windows 8.1 tablets that started appearing middle of last year run full Windows 8.1, which means they run both legacy programs and Modern apps. In fact, they can run them at the same time, and even side-by-side in adjacent "panes". In general, they run on a new version of Intel's Atom processor, which has four cores and seems to be a very nice balance between power and low energy. It is exactly twice as fast as the previous Atom processor.

So as long as you are buying a tablet that runs full Windows 8.1, you can run old-fashioned Windows programs (including OpenCPN) and the newer Metro apps, all on the same machine. That's the beauty of the whole things, and one that could be a winning combination for Microsoft. But traditional mouse-based desktop and laptop users will not see much benefit. Although, as I said, my wife and son fit this latter category, and get along just fine with Win 8.1. That's why I consider some to be "naysayers."

There are several threads in the OpenCPN sub-forum discussing the use of OpenCPN in Windows 8 and in tablets. You might want to check those out.

The Miix2 8' tablet is very nice if and 8" screen is big enough for you. It is very bright (helpful if you're outside), and has a built-in GPS chip (though you need to install a free utility to get OpenCPN to work with it). It can be found for $200 on Amazon, but the price is volatile, so you need to time your purchase correctly.
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Old 11-03-2014, 17:38   #17
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Re: Suitability of Windows 8 for cruisers

The tablet (PC or windows 8.1) unit my friend had is an Acer W-510 with a Garmin 18X with USB plug in "puck". He runs OpenCPN beautifully on it. Also with this set up...he uses a SINGNA LINK unit ($110) with WINLINK, eliminating the need for an expensive pactor unit. Like I said, all this is foreign to me but I can see it's advantages. That said...even with this set-up, I will continue having paper charts onboard.
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Old 11-03-2014, 18:00   #18
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Re: Suitability of Windows 8 for cruisers

Well I must be the only one who is running Win 8 on a touch screen laptop.

The Lenovo S510 has the current generation processor that does not require a fan. While I mostly use it at home (still working), I have taken it on the boat for weekend trips. I am running Open Cpn, have linked it wirelessly to the AIS (MadDave device). No problems adding waypoints in OC and downloading to a Garmin 76- the smaller GPS that I use at the helm to navigate vs. the chart plotter on the bulkhead.

Having an iPad, I like the touch screen. The OS does take some learning, but is not unbearable.

The biggest pain is that for the first month, I was downloading the update du jur.

All-in-all, for $500 it was a steal!
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Old 11-03-2014, 18:17   #19
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Re: Suitability of Windows 8 for cruisers

8 is so bad that our IT managers will not install on our company system. We are all on 7. 8 is yet another version (like Millennial) of Microsoft deciding you are too un-worthy to operate your own system and decide where and how things will work.

We bought a new laptop with 8 and had to return it. After days of frustration, we could not come close to predicting where it would try to store stuff or where to find our files.

In this case, newer is not better.
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Old 11-03-2014, 19:35   #20
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Re: Suitability of Windows 8 for cruisers

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Originally Posted by Nicholson58 View Post
8 is so bad that our IT managers will not install on our company system. We are all on 7. 8 is yet another version (like Millennial) of Microsoft deciding you are too un-worthy to operate your own system and decide where and how things will work.
I am totally perplexed by this. First, IT departments are very conservative. Our very large corporation was still buying XP until 1.5 years ago. Now they're trying to get rid of the XP computers and replacing them with Win 7. It's not about good or bad, it's about uniformity. However, I am interested in knowing exactly what your IT department said.

I bought two Windows ME computers and two Vista computers, all for various members of my household. I know what a disaster looks like. Those were both disasters. In both cases I downgraded the machines to Win 98 and Win XP, respectively. Windows 8 looks NOTHING like those disasters. Comparing it to Windows ME is BS. Our two Win8 desktop computers have been more stable than my Win 7 desktop at home and my Win7 laptop at work. Both of the Win7 machines have frequent Explorer crashes and/or BSOD crashes. Nothing like that on Win 8. And my Win8 tablet is amazing, with a 12 second bootup time.
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We bought a new laptop with 8 and had to return it. After days of frustration, we could not come close to predicting where it would try to store stuff or where to find our files.
Exactly what files are you referring to? I have never had a problem finding any files for Windows desktop apps - everything is in the exact same place they would be on Windows 7. Programs go into Program Files folder (or x86 folder), program data goes in Program Data or AppData, downloads go into Downloads (unless you set a different default in your browser), etc.

I would really like to hear what files were being misplaced. I'll go look for all that missing stuff on my own machines.

I realize that I will never convince some people to loke Win 8. Nor do I care to. But I don't like seeing misinformation being used to scare people away from the nice Win8 tablets and touchscreen computers. As I suggested before, why not go to a store and see it for yourself. Click the "Desktop" charm and poke around the Windows desktop. Judge for yourself. If you miss the Start menu, realize that you can easily download a free program that will restore it just like it was on Windows 7 or XP.
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Old 11-03-2014, 19:51   #21
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Re: Suitability of Windows 8 for cruisers

Windows 8 is better suited to touch screen and small portable devices. Microsoft is not being very forthcoming by not telling people this. It's all about selling the product for them.
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Old 11-03-2014, 19:52   #22
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Re: Suitability of Windows 8 for cruisers

I have a Dell Latitude 10 that runs OpenCPN with a Garmin GPS60CSx attached via USB. I have Windows 8.1 installed with no overlays to make things retro. No issues at all using the program. I bought a "Car Charger" so that I could run the tablet at full brightness without having to worry about running down the battery.

While OpenCPN may not be natively programmed for touch screen input, it certainly runs on it without any problems.

My tablet uses the same file tree system that WinXP through Win7 used. I put the maps on an SCHC card so that I could save a few GB of space on the limited system storage.
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Old 11-03-2014, 19:55   #23
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Re: Suitability of Windows 8 for cruisers

Here are the issues as I see them:
1) Windows 8/8.1 is very internet-centric. Everybody wants you to put all your stuff in the "cloud" so they can see what you do and how you do it. If you're cruising, you're not going to have a lot of internet access, so most of the pretty changing tiles will be useless.
2) I'm concerned about long term reliability of touch screens in the tropics and marine environment. Will they get moisture in them? Will they stop working? Will they be harder to see in bright light?

Of course, this is for the typical cruiser. If you have unlimited power and sat internet then 1 doesn't apply and 2 you can just buy a new one when the screen quits.

Disclaimer: I have over 20 years of enterprise experience in the IT industry.
Disclaimer #2: Assuming you plan on cruising and not staying in a slip with marina wifi
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Old 15-03-2014, 09:33   #24
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Re: Suitability of Windows 8 for cruisers

I have not found a need to stay connected to the internet using Windows 8 while sailing. It seems to handle non-connected programs like OpenCPN and such jst fine. I do not really put anything in a cloud and have not found anything so far forcing me too.
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