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Old 27-05-2012, 06:17   #16
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Re: Navigation Devices?

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Not quite clear why one would give up on Windows and place Linux on a formerly Windows netbook?
This probably isn't the place to ask this question, but I'll comment on why I recommend Linux over Windows. Having used both operating systems for a long time for technical work, I have to say I've grown to despise windows. It is expensive, less flexible, slower, less stable, full of boated software, has a poorly designed file system compared to linux EXT4 and is a huge target platform for malware.

My linux machine boots up probably 3x faster than my windows machines running similar environments and older machines can run the latest versions of Linux very fast, unlike trying to run Win8 on a 5 year old machine. On a resouce limited device like a netbook, Linux out performs windows substantially. My little netbook is all I use for SW development, graphics editing and web work.

On another note the Alix 3D3 looks good too, but if I had a choice the power consumption of the VIA is tough to beat.
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Old 27-05-2012, 07:43   #17
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Re: Navigation Devices?

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Originally Posted by cas206 View Post
Because the netbooks under discussion run "Windows CE" which is a variant of windows designed for embedded devices (such as phones, netbooks, etc), sort of a "Windows Lite".

(...)

But the best reason of all...maintaining freedom of choice in your O.S.

cas
OK. I did not notice the CE thing. Have not seen any CE loaded netbooks here hence my wrong guess.

b.
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Old 27-05-2012, 08:04   #18
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Re: Navigation Devices?

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
OK. I did not notice the CE thing. Have not seen any CE loaded netbooks here hence my wrong guess.

b.
On Topic:
Not wrong, per se. If OpenCPN can run on Win CE, then one of these netbooks would be a viable cheap option for a GPS Chart plotter.

Off Topic:
As for Windows or Linux or Mac or CE or Android or ..., I won't argue your choice. They all have a place and are preferable for some users/applications. I use many of these for various purposes.

cas
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Old 27-05-2012, 09:33   #19
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Re: Navigation Devices?

"Wince" is not "Windows" and last time I checked, it was totally obsoleted and being abandoned by Microsoft. A very poor choice unless you understand what WinCE is, and actually want to run WinCE applications. Which are not totally compatible across version levels, either.

The name of that OS wasn't the only mistake they made with it.

Eric, unless you think you can manage to read nautical charts from a three inch screen, forget cell phones. Forget netbooks if you plan to use it abovedeck. Think tablet computers, and see if you can find one that meets your budget AND had the GPS built in. Some of the cheap ones have no GPS, no BlueTooth, no WiFi, and you will find a need for all of that, preferably built in.

If that's too bulky, or you realize that most of them can't really be used in direct sunlight (just like cell phones, those screens can't be seen in sunlight) then it comes back to small GPS map units. You're back to a 3-5" screen but at least it CAN be read in the sunlight and it WILL be waterproof for use above deck.

Don't go "penny wise, pound foolish" just because it LOOKS like there have to be devices that will do the job. The really useful stuff, still costs.
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Old 27-05-2012, 09:39   #20
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Re: Navigation Devices?

I understand that from a computer techies perspective that Linux is better, and I believe it, but from a computer newbies perspective (people who do not like having to open the hood), isn't there a pretty good sized learning curve? Not everyone has the same amount of computer knowledge. There is an advantage to having an OS that is already installed and that one is already familiar with.

I just thought I would address the benefits of a Windows based OS since they were not being mentioned in this thread. Both OS's have their advantages and disadvantages.
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Old 27-05-2012, 10:24   #21
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Re: Navigation Devices?

WinCE is for ARM processors and there are ways (on "Windows on Chip" boxes) to JTAG the flash, boot CE in privileged mode or from USB boot loader, and sneak in android. But that's a pain and you really have to want to hack to go that route.

I can and do read charts on small 3" screens. My chart plotter is only 4" QVGA display and I've used it for 5 years now for thousands of miles. So I'm not opposed to using small screens especially now that the resolution on those screens are much higher than my QVGA.

I personally don't like touch screens on the boat. I've found it difficult to not constantly bump the screen in wrong places with the motion. But I'm also using a $50 N800 with a small screen as my baseline. Perhaps something like a 7" screen might work ok with fingers offshore like this tablet which is tempting assuming I can get OpenCPN going on it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor
The really useful stuff, still costs.
It seems that the devices still haven't quite got to where I would like to see them despite all the GPS enabled tablets, cell phones, and in-car systems out there. I don't think they have to be expensive to do the job, not with a free OS like linux. For example the $25-$35 Raspberry PI could be boxed and bundled up with a low power external LCD and resold cheaply.
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Old 27-05-2012, 11:05   #22
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Re: Navigation Devices?

All good points, thanks.


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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Some of the cheap ones have no GPS, no BlueTooth, no WiFi, and you will find a need for all of that, preferably built in.

However, a counter point. Need GPS? No. OpenCPN is fantastic as just a chart viewer. In my humble (or not so) opinion, it complements any method of navigation, either in the cockpit or down in the nav station. Not all of us want a cockpit solution. Is it nice to have, absolutely. Is it wise to have, absolutely. However, I bought the BU-353 unit (20 Channels, WAAS enabled, amazing) for under $30.00 that allows me to hang it out the port hole. It works great even on my ancient Pentium II laptop.

I've not found a use for BlueTooth yet on any of my computing devices. I find it hard to come up with an argument for needing it in a GPS Plotcharter. I suppose if bluetooth remote display unit was an option, that might be one such case.

WiFi would certainly be useful in port to update the charts. I'm assuming that for any PC based plotter, the entire chart set (at least NOAA) would be downloaded and installed before cruising. Alternate methods exist for no Wifi. I downloaded them to USB stick on an internet enabled PC and loaded them on my Pentium II laptop which was built before Wifi, bluetooth, and even built in ethernet (it does do dial up ).

As for environmental concerns, if cheap enough (such as my freebie laptop that was being sent to recycle), if it lasts a season, I got my moneys worth. BTW, when I said it was too painfully slow to be usable, it works adequate as just a course/position plotter. It's just way too unresponsive to try and move the maps around to try and use it to plan a route. It does give me time to fish Ebay for a good replacement.

However, if tinkering is not your thing, then I certainly agree that a quality unit that is purpose designed for gps chartplotting that will give you years of service is the way to go for most. But I've not seen any devices mentioned that fit the $200 price limit (anyone?). Yes, I agree with you that cheapest is not best (usually). At a minimum, you have to look at price per expected life time (something that most walmart shoppers don't get). However, sometimes, your budget is fixed and you have to be penny-wise regardless of the wisdom.

cas
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Old 27-05-2012, 11:24   #23
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Re: Navigation Devices?

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Originally Posted by cas206 View Post
On Topic:
Not wrong, per se. If OpenCPN can run on Win CE, then one of these netbooks would be a viable cheap option for a GPS Chart plotter.

Off Topic:
As for Windows or Linux or Mac or CE or Android or ..., I won't argue your choice. They all have a place and are preferable for some users/applications. I use many of these for various purposes.

cas
OpenCPN has never been ported to WinCE. It won't work.
But Linux can be installed on any computer running WinCE.
Linux is not difficult.
Don't like to peak under the hood? Point and click.
It's more a question of habits, and the will to learn something slightly different.

Thomas
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Old 27-05-2012, 11:41   #24
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Re: Navigation Devices?

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Don't go "penny wise, pound foolish" just because it LOOKS like there have to be devices that will do the job. The really useful stuff, still costs.
Well, depends on what you define as "really useful". You can put together a very useful low power computer based system very cheaply off ebay if you know what to look for. Epia via 533MHz motherboards cost less than nights mooring in many places. Sluggish on opencpn but still very useful. Linux free, opencpn free.

Up on deck daylight visible costs more though. But do you really need that?
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Old 31-05-2012, 08:13   #25
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Re: Navigation Devices?

After looking at more and more small device options and the state of OpenCPN, I think the changing point might be when Intel puts out a low power portable processor to compete with ARM sometime in the next few years.

As an alternative I spent some time going through the OpenCPN source code to see the extent of work needed to make it more portable to ARM (via Java) and was disappointed to come to the conclusion that it is a significant effort.

The fastest path looks like getting WxWidgets running on Android. If anyone wants to contribute (time or $) to getting WxWidgets running on Android now is your chance!
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Old 01-06-2012, 11:44   #26
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Re: Navigation Devices?

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Well, depends on what you define as "really useful". ...

Up on deck daylight visible costs more though. But do you really need that?
Navigation devices should be visible, and dependable, under all conditions, or else they can't be considered viable as primary systems.

I'm running OpenCPN on an ASUS eee netbook, 7" screen, circa 2008, running stripped-down Ubuntu Linux, using a GPS - USB fob. It's inexpensive and it's been fun to develop, but various factors, including screen brightness and vulnerability to environment make it an ancillary tool.

Windows XP is (was) the last suitable and efficient MS OS for specialized use as a platform for dedicated systems, in my opinion. The newer ones are, um, too bloated, and I don't find they offer enough even in general use for me to justify the hardware minimums they demand.

I just finished a small integration project for a client which required a quickie server running specialized software, and I spun up an old computer with Ubuntu 11.10 and had the server together in under 3 hours.

Is Linux and open software ready for the average user, doing average things ('Office', web, email, twitter, graphics)? With the exception of serious gaming, I'd say yes.
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Old 01-06-2012, 15:29   #27
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Re: Navigation Devices?

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Originally Posted by Lake-Effect View Post
Navigation devices should be visible, and dependable, under all conditions, or else they can't be considered viable as primary systems.
Sorry , not so. Boats have been sailing for centurys with all the nav happening at the nav table. No sudden need to have it all in the cockpit.


Desperately trying to keep the thread on topic, has anyone in the world got opencpn running on a Raspberry Pi yet??
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Old 01-06-2012, 16:08   #28
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Re: Navigation Devices?

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Sorry, not so. Boats have been sailing for centurys with all the nav happening at the nav table. No sudden need to have it all in the cockpit.
You're correct; I'm just trying to counter the impression that newbies might take from this thread that a cobbled-up system is the equivalent of a dedicated marine chartplotter. And of course an electronic chartplotter isn't essential.
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Old 01-06-2012, 16:14   #29
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Re: Navigation Devices?

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Originally Posted by Lake-Effect View Post
You're correct; I'm just trying to counter the impression that newbies might take from this thread that a cobbled-up system is the equivalent of a dedicated marine chartplotter. And of course an electronic chartplotter isn't essential.


Apologies, I took that the wrong way.

Phew, glad you said that, I could have ruined a very useful thread there.
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Old 01-06-2012, 16:39   #30
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Re: Navigation Devices?

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
"Wince" is not "Windows" and last time I checked, it was totally obsoleted and being abandoned by Microsoft. A very poor choice unless you understand what WinCE is, and actually want to run WinCE applications. Which are not totally compatible across version levels, either.

The name of that OS wasn't the only mistake they made with it.
I don't believe that WinCE has been abandoned by MS.

Windows Embedded Compact 7

I do agree it is not a platform for OpenCPN and DIYers.

BTW, Furuno NavNet3D is running on WinCE 5.0, it is a worthy OS within it's limitations.
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