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Old 09-05-2014, 21:59   #1
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Must-have software for cruising laptop

Hi,

we are setting up for 6-9 month of cruising in the Caribbean. As part of our prep I am working on buying & setting up our on-board laptop.

There is lots of software out there that sounds useful. But I am guessing one will use far less of it, and miss some of the most important stuff. So I am very interested in getting advice from you cruising professionals out there!

What software do you use and consider must-have? What is useful beyond the essential? What do you recommend against?

Thanks for your input!!
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Old 09-05-2014, 22:04   #2
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Re: Must-have software for cruising laptop

Open CPN.
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Old 09-05-2014, 22:30   #3
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Re: Must-have software for cruising laptop

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy View Post
Open CPN.
Agree .... or other chosen navigation software you may have.

Also, if you like to watch movies, a media player - I use VLC. Then comes the standard word processing, photo/video editing software that you normally use.

One thing I make a point of is to have copies of all the software necessary to reinstall whatever may be needed. Think how diffcult it would be to rebuild a Windows PC that crashed and you were relying on slow and expensive internet connections in a remote location.

Of course, store it separately from the laptop hard disk.

Anything that takes a bit of technical knowledge or configuration to set up, write the instructions down so you don't have to research again months down the track.
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Old 09-05-2014, 23:01   #4
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Re: Must-have software for cruising laptop

Does anyone else fondly remember when "Must-Have" was reserved for things we literally must have?

I suppose that observation in turn harks back to a time when 'literally' did not mean the same as 'figuratively' ....



(and for that matter, I hope I don't seem dense or Rip van Winklish, but what do you mean by a "cruising professional"?

Is that someone who manages to hold down a professional career and yet go cruising?)
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Old 09-05-2014, 23:22   #5
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Re: Must-have software for cruising laptop

Increased reliance on computers

It's like the gourmet galley questions.

What do you like to eat when you're at home?
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Old 09-05-2014, 23:36   #6
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Re: Must-have software for cruising laptop

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Open CPN.
Thanks Guy. May I ask if and which chart plotter you use? My understanding is that OpenCPN does not work with Garmin, Navionics, C-MAP and other chart vendors typically used on most chart plotters. Do you carry two sets of charts, one for laptop/OpenCPN and one for the chart plotter?
thanks
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Old 10-05-2014, 02:31   #7
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Re: Must-have software for cruising laptop

We used Fugawi with Navionics charts and were very pleased. It is a cost effective solution. We also had two extra laptops for backup. Imagine coffee flying through the air and landing on the keyboard.

We had to bake our favorite laptop in the oven a couple time over two days to get it working again. Only one key remained non functional.

We didn't want to painstakingly reconstitute our software suite on the backup unless it was required. Imagine loading all the software and getting all the inputs talking to the computer and each other again on a new system. At sea it would have literally taken days.

A lesson for us for next time is the backup laptop ready to go before leaving port.
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Old 10-05-2014, 02:39   #8
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Re: Must-have software for cruising laptop

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What software do you use and consider must-have? What is useful beyond the essential? What do you recommend against?
Not strictly software but Dropbox. For anything you want to keep.

And if you use a computer a lot on board it's worth thinking about getting a tablet, for browsing, emailing etc it saves lots of power. Laptops can be hungry beasts.



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Old 10-05-2014, 03:12   #9
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Re: Must-have software for cruising laptop

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We used Fugawi with Navionics charts and were very pleased. It is a cost effective solution. We also had two extra laptops for backup. Imagine coffee flying through the air and landing on the keyboard.

We had to bake our favorite laptop in the oven a couple time over two days to get it working again. Only one key remained non functional.

We didn't want to painstakingly reconstitute our software suite on the backup unless it was required. Imagine loading all the software and getting all the inputs talking to the computer and each other again on a new system. At sea it would have literally taken days.

A lesson for us for next time is the backup laptop ready to go before leaving port.
I make a mirror/back up of my entire HD and put it on 3 backup sources. (3 external HDs) and keep them in various places. If your computer malfunctions, its a simple process to restore it as it should be.

I also keep ONE computer SOLELY for boat software and have another for windows stuff like skype/emails/ videos etc. (Again with a back up on HD.)

I also have a SPARE laptop on which EVERYthing is loaded and then backed up in the event I lost a machine.

Every day I use the computers, the new FILE information is saved to HD so if a computer trashes, Im only a few hours behind in having all the information to restore. When I have internet, all my information is FTP'd to one of my websites and stored.

I also use TEAM VIEWER which connects to my home computer where I have access to my business and documents and files and can upload and download anything I need in real time.

I pay for SKYPE phone numbers, These are REAL phone dial numbers. I have one for Spain, USA and the UK. This means when I have internet, its a local or free call for anyone calling me from one of these countries, and its a no charge call for me to 60 some countries.

I use Mi-Fi wireless connection with a local data sim card for when I have cellular coverage in areas. Works all round the Uk and Eastern Spain to Mallorca.

The brands I use are ACER. DELL and TOSHIBA. Ive had to back up the DELL once due to a virus. Took 3 hours and all everything worked as normal after install. Make sure the spare computer is run regularly to check its working. I usually run it on battery, (use it) discharge it and recharge once every 2 weeks.


[>= PiaggioAvionicssAtSeRvIcECellular<=]
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Old 10-05-2014, 03:55   #10
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Re: Must-have software for cruising laptop

Sorry for a little drift here but what is special about Mifi that I see here a lot.
Is it not the same as tethering your mobile or tablet to other devices?
Chris
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Old 10-05-2014, 04:23   #11
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Re: Must-have software for cruising laptop

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Sorry for a little drift here but what is special about Mifi that I see here a lot.
Is it not the same as tethering your mobile or tablet to other devices?
Chris
MiFi - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 10-05-2014, 05:58   #12
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Re: Must-have software for cruising laptop

So same as tethering a cell phone!
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Old 10-05-2014, 06:17   #13
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So same as tethering a cell phone!
Only legal because you're paying for it. My StraightTalk Galaxy deal expressly forbids tethering. I'll soon find out how serious they are about it.
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Old 10-05-2014, 06:30   #14
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Re: Must-have software for cruising laptop

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Only legal because you're paying for it. My StraightTalk Galaxy deal expressly forbids tethering. I'll soon find out how serious they are about it.
I think you might find that once they see the data usage you will be without a phone service..... sigh..... mine was clicked off without a comment.

I bought a MIFI on ebay in UK for $50 and a 4 gig DATA card is cheap on ebay again.... I use it only for email and checking skype quickly. Lasts a long time. Dont stream or download huge files....
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Old 10-05-2014, 06:42   #15
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My objection is having to buy a plan that expires monthly. I'm agin it on principle. WMart has a non-expiring gizmo and data plans but on B/O from China, whereas all the US carriers are monthly, even sans contract.

On edit: I note my ads have changed to cellular phones. (At least the women are gone.)
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