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Old 24-08-2016, 05:44   #1
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Is all the new technology worth it?

Had a chat with one of the local service providers on the dock yesterday. He had been called out to look at a problem on a one year old 70' motor yacht. The owner was having a problem switching from generator to shore power, a somewhat simple task you would think. When he arrived at the boat the owner pulls out his computer tablet and starts poking away at the screen for switching the power over. Upon inspection there is no manual switch for this simple task on this boat, everything onboard is operated remotely from an ipad. He opened up the panel and instead of normal switches there are a scary looking bunch of computer boards and relays. Welcome to the new normal. This boat is still under warranty, but it was built 5,000 miles away and the nearest dealer is in the U.S. and the boat is in St Maarten. There is no facility to download any information from this system to forward to the service department either.
Now it sure is cool to have a bunch of friends over for cocktails and whip out your tablet and start tapping away, until all this new fangled crap doesn't work and you are stuck on the dock on your new $4 million boat with no power. In my mind boating is fun and I want to have as few problems as possible while doing it. I used to build and sell boats and my moto was the simpler the better. When did we move to this high tech world of Chinese computer boards controlling our boating experience. If this new connected boating experience is becoming the norm and it is breaking as soon as one year what will happen when it is 10 years old, or 15 and it is a used boat and half the systems are shot. Who will be able to afford to fix this stuff cause it aint cheap. Those $4 computer boards when installed on the equipment on your boat become $3,000 "parts" and if you can find somebody with the training to come and fix your new problem it will cost you $100/hour as well.
I can't even find anybody qualified to fix my old school systems most of the time. Good luck finding someone in the Caribbean to come out and fix your broken joystick, propulsion pod, or computerized whatsit. New technology in boats might be great but over time is it really worth the added Bs?
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Old 24-08-2016, 05:57   #2
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Re: Is all the new technology worth it?

On one hand I wish I was in the position to be able to have that type of problem.

On the other hand I hate computers (except being able to be on here, y'all are cool),

I am also in the simpler is better, less things to go wrong crowd. I want to be able to fix everything (read most things) by myself.
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Old 24-08-2016, 06:06   #3
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Re: Is all the new technology worth it?

My new AIS transponder $hit the bed two hours ago. Lucky I still have the old AIS receiver. Redundancy is the way to go.
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Old 24-08-2016, 06:26   #4
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Re: Is all the new technology worth it?

This boat represents where we've come to... micro processors and now mobile device user interface for everything. As a result we are unable to service boats which require a software programmer / hacker type.

Cars are now so hi tech that they need a computer to "diagnose" the "problem".

Everything is becoming a computer "game"

I recently got a new Samsung S7 active... and found I could not get my pics off the camera to my desk top PC as before with older model. But it would work with the same operating system on a laptop. What's up with that? Some software fault and I haven't a clue as to how to find it. And I don't think Samsung does either!

I used to say chafe is the enemy of the sailor... now I say technology/software is.
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Old 24-08-2016, 07:50   #5
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Re: Is all the new technology worth it?

The problem isn't "new technology" - it is bad design. Silicon products are not inherently safe stable or more prone to random error than mechanical ones. The key, like Kenomac said, is redundancy, but also we need better contingency planning.

But the folks who are good at contingency planning are mocked for having low threat tolerances and nannies w/ no balls - so they don't get to head up design and don't sell expensive yachts.

The survivor's bias is Darwin's memory for what works and what doesn't - but too often we don't keep records of negative results (and since the surviving design/build is the only example we have of the past - we think OH they used to build things better). This applies to boats, homes, walls, forts, knives, people, etc.

The problem with many superyachts and custom expensive boats is that the systems are custom designed - and people make mistakes, but there's less opportunity to correct and refine them because each build is a one off. People knock mass manufactured products, but I'd drive a boring Toyota Corolla for safety against the most latest Mclaren sports car.

In my perfect world? All hardware electrical systems conform to common standards/protocols so future controller devices, whether a simple switchboard or laptop can control them with relative ease.
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Old 24-08-2016, 08:00   #6
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Re: Is all the new technology worth it?

Being a retired marine electrical engineer I do enjoy the new technologies, but like was stated above you need redundancy. Always ask, if this goes what next? Do I have the skill, tools, parts or backup systems to continue and what is the impact. We traveled with a boat that had over $300K in electronics on a 45ft boat, I was like a kid in toyland.
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Old 24-08-2016, 08:13   #7
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Re: Is all the new technology worth it?

KISS!
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Old 24-08-2016, 08:31   #8
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Re: Is all the new technology worth it?

Once we as consumers gave up our powers to reason to the marketing departments, glossy ads and other b/s the inevitable happened - we became the hostages of the "new and improved" syndrome even when it's only a ploy to get $$ out of our pockets.

I also wonder what will happen to all our electronic devices dependency when a good size solar flare will hit the Earth. Or in the event of deliberate jamming on a wide enough scale. How fast would we get to the "Mad Max" level of existence?
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Old 24-08-2016, 08:33   #9
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Re: Is all the new technology worth it?

do a google search on MyPhoneExplorer, shareware software to download/upload with your droid phone. I have been using it for years to sync my phone with MS Outlook. It keeps my contacts, calendar, and notes on both my phone and computer in sync. This way if I ever lose my phone or my computer I still have all my info. It will also download files from your phone, like pictures, music, etc. Saved me when my phone would not connect with the USB wire because it got wet.
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Old 24-08-2016, 08:37   #10
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Re: Is all the new technology worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Island Time O25 View Post
I also wonder what will happen to all our electronic devices dependency when a good size solar flare will hit the Earth. Or in the event of deliberate jamming on a wide enough scale. How fast would we get to the "Mad Max" level of existence?
Considering there is only enough food on the shelves in Cities for 3-5 days...the Riots, Chaos and Martial Law will be 1-2 weeks out from the Solar Flare/EMP taking out the power grid. This isn't just Crazy Rich thinking it...it's what the Federal Government planners are preparing for. You don't think your small town really needs that armored troop personnel carrier to get cats down from trees do you?

What if Glenn Beck is Right?
Cut the dock lines baby...it's time to get outta Dodge!

But can most boaters get out of the Harbor without their GPS showing them the way these days?
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Old 24-08-2016, 08:40   #11
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Re: Is all the new technology worth it?

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Originally Posted by rourkeh View Post
... Is all the new technology worth it?
Your exemple is a bit extreme... for extreme people $$$ Most of us wouldn't give back their furling genoa, their 2 or 3 speed winches, their electric windlass, their GPS, diesel engine... etc. Beyond that, it's up to each of us to decide where to stop, but offshore sailing is a universe where the KISS principle is a must ! Try to fix ANYTHING on a rolling sailboat, in the middle of the night with the wind on its way to force 7 Sure we spend far more time at anchor than passage making, but if something brakes down it will, usually, at the worst moment
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Old 24-08-2016, 08:41   #12
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Re: Is all the new technology worth it?

Could be that all you need is to have a teenager on board. Let the teen fix your computer when he/she wakes up at noon. Redundancy for sure. Have two teenagers.
Good luck. ��
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Old 24-08-2016, 08:41   #13
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Re: Is all the new technology worth it?

I am a computer geek for a living and on my boat I stay away from computer technology for boat systems as much as possible. The main reason is I know about computer and software. In a marine environment computers do not last long and are prone to intermittent failures that are nearly impossible to correct. I prefer mechanical switches and redundant systems. The only computers that are critical do things that mechanical system can't like getting me weather and position reports. For these I use dedicated, marine hardened, redundant systems.
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Old 24-08-2016, 08:42   #14
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Re: Is all the new technology worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ontherocks83 View Post
On one hand I wish I was in the position to be able to have that type of problem.

On the other hand I hate computers (except being able to be on here, y'all are cool),

I am also in the simpler is better, less things to go wrong crowd. I want to be able to fix everything (read most things) by myself.
I'm with you on all accounts. If I had the money to afford the boat I would tell them to have a tech. meet my jet. Going to school I oiled on a 90' tug, summers. It was start to genny and swing a knife switch to get from shore to gen. power. Probably the only failure mode would have been hitting a blade on the switch standing on deck plate.
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Old 24-08-2016, 08:45   #15
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Re: Is all the new technology worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SV THIRD DAY View Post
Considering there is only enough food on the shelves in Cities for 3-5 days...the Riots, Chaos and Martial Law will be 1-2 weeks out from the Solar Flare/EMP taking out the power grid. This isn't just Crazy Rich thinking it...it's what the Federal Government planners are preparing for. You don't think your small town really needs that armored troop personnel carrier to get cats down from trees do you?

What if Glenn Beck is Right?
Cut the dock lines baby...it's time to get outta Dodge!

But can most boaters get out of the Harbor without their GPS showing them the way these days?

Don't forget the Zombies . Your right , it's time to get out of here !!

Regards
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