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Old 12-01-2008, 19:53   #91
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Mac or PC doesn't matter. What does matter, is whether your marina (or something in it) has a WiFi connection, and how far from that point you are. The farther away you are, the harder it will be to establish a link. But you'll find threads here and on some of the other popular sailing forums detailing the equipment options as you step up price and power to try establishing longer distance connections.

Key point being: What's in your marina and how far away from you is it?
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Old 12-01-2008, 20:03   #92
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Thanks for the quick reply.

No, the marina does NOT have wifi for us to connect to. I should have been more specific ... I'm thinking about one of those external cards you put into your laptop (like from Verizon) that gives you Internet access no matter where you are. You see folks with them at airports all the time (when they don't want to pay for the expensive one-day use fees most charge).

Does that make sense?

Thanks again for helping!
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Old 13-01-2008, 10:02   #93
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SS - I think that WiFi has been kicked about in a couple of threads - you might want to try a SEARCH (see banner Menu top of this page) for WiFi

If that fails, please feel free to start a thread.
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Old 13-01-2008, 11:04   #94
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Do you pay your bills with your laptop? Do you trade stocks with the laptop? I see all the advertisements for wireless hook ups, but are these hookups secure enough for the previously mentioned activities?

John
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Old 13-01-2008, 13:11   #95
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Thanks all.

Yes, I tried the search before I replied to this thread but couldn't find the answer I was looking for ... it was more of a "boost the marina's signal to my boat" type of answer.

Yes, I will want to pay bills etc through the Internet connex.
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Old 13-01-2008, 13:53   #96
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Scallywag and SweetSailor -

Every bank I've seen and stock brokers too use "HTTPS:" for their secure connections (That's "Secure Socket Layer" or SSL for the geeks out there). That's sufficiently secure for consumer Internet Banking... As long as you're using your own and not a public PC.

Make sure you a decent, up to date Virus Scanner/Firewall (e.g. Zone Alarm, Symantec, McAfee, etc.). Then you're just as secure on a public connection using https: as anywhere else.

Proper awareness of phony messages claiming to be your bank or broker is more important than worrying about using an open public network.

Regards,
Bill
(p.s. I INVENTED Internet Banking - so I speak with some authority)
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Old 13-01-2008, 14:35   #97
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Bill,
Thanks for the reply. Okay, that means if I use a wireless connection at Starbucks/Krystals/Barnes and Noble/airport, I do not need to worry about someone else obtaining my data. I do have a virus scanner/firewall. I have wondered how cruisers have transacted their business. I know there are mail collection agencies out there but I did not realize, computer tranactions were safe.

Thanks again,

John
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Old 13-01-2008, 19:34   #98
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"I'm thinking about one of those external cards you put into your laptop (like from Verizon) that gives you Internet access no matter where you are."

You've been misinformed. Or, deluded by Verizon's marketing department, who sometimes have been known to live in an alternate reality.

There is no magic card that gets you access from anywhere. You've got a choice between laptop cellular cards, and laptop WiFi cards. The cellular cards only work in one carrier's cellular data network, which typically is the same as their regular coverage in major cities. In airports, you've probably seen WiFi. Carriers like T-Mobile will sell you weekly/monthly/annual access for their WiFi nodes. (T-Mobile has a national network of WiFi hot spots in places like airports and coffee shops.)

And in some airports including FLL, the authorities simply provide free WiFi access to anyone who wants to use it, as an incentive to use their airport. (Unlike Logan, where the airport was trying to shut down private WiFi hubs in airline clubs, so they could sell it themselves.)

Safety...well...the "S" HTTPS stands for "secure" and once you reach that web page, in theory everything is encrypted both ways. That still leaves your computer with no protection for the connection itself--and you open to hacking. You MUST run a firewall (free in XP and Vista, or free ZoneAlarm, etc.) or you will be hacked. It takes only a few minutes for someone to plant a trojan on your computer and hijack it if you are connected to any WiFi network without a firewall, and there are folks who hang out at the airport for just that purpose.
Even if the WiFi spot uses WEP encryption and gives (sells) you the access key to that, WEP can be hacked in under five minutes.
The cellular data networks, as far as I've heard, are more secure. You can still be hacked--but only in the same ways that you can be hacked over a wired network.

Next year Sprint and another carrier are deploying WiMax, which is sort of "WiFi on steroids" with the range of cellular data systems. Next year.

For more protection, you really need to be using WPA access (encryption that works well) to a WiFi router, or the cellular data card (about $60/month for unlimited plans under contract and that's cheap compared to their "pay as you go" plans), or you can use what is called "VPN" Virtual Private Network software, which sets up a secured connection between your computer and a VPN server, so anything that you broadcast is encrypted and dropped at that server, where it enters the internet out of reach of most eyes.
VPN requires that you are dialing into your own VPN server (i.e. corporate) or using a subscription service.
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Old 13-01-2008, 21:35   #99
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wireless internet

Aust is still a bit backwards compaired with Europe but I am on my boat using a service which gives 98.8% coverage over the "populated" area of Aust. I use VOIP for 10c untimed calls for the whole of the country,do internet banking & have all the normal protection software installed. It operates over the normal 3G mobile system but at normal internet cost. If your providers have that system for the laptop users or systems aimed at people without landlines, then it will work any time you are within range the same range as mobile phones. The only trap was the two different "plans" available. It is half the cost if you use the "home" type modem working on mains power!! use the inverter on the boat!!
It is better than wiFi. I am sure you will have something available.
Regards Bill Goodward
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Old 14-01-2008, 03:53   #100
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laptop alternative

I guess it depends what you want to use your laptop for; I have carried a "normal" laptop for years on my boats BUT you do have to be very careful to keep them dry and secure from getting knocked about. (Though no matter what happens the Hard Drive usually survives accidents so you can get your data back) In ten years I have lost one laptop keyboard to spray, and one screen/case when a laptop jumped off the galley table and landed corner first on the floor. I have yet to have a desktop unit fail onboard.

I am still going to carry a regular laptop (out of habit) but I recently bought a "HAMMERHEAD RT800" tablet computer off of eBay to use as a nav unit. These are 'military' type computers and have the following advantages (imo):
-Water proof
- Supposedly able to stand being run over with a truck, and able to withstand a considerable drop onto a hard surface
-Capable of running Windows XP
-Colour screen
-Built in USB port (capeable of handling a USB hub)
-Plug a wireless mouse and keyboard into the USB
-PCMCIA slot
-Can support a decent size Hard Drive (mine has a 40 gig)
-Are tolerable CPU speed
-Can support dual batteries (supposedly up to 4 hours life)
-Can run off a cheap 12volt laptop adapter or 110
The down side of these computers:
-Because of being sealed units there are no cd or floppy drives (software has to be loaded via flash drives, a PCMCIA card, or networked to another computer)
-One needs to be careful when buying off ebay that the touch screen pen is included.
- The default touchscreen keyboard is dependent on the stylus (pen) being used. (an alternative is a wireless USB mouse)
- I don't know of a simple way to attach an external monitor.

This is the manufacturers website Walkabout

Note: The HH3 version of the hammerhead uses a 'propritary' stylus. The other hammerheads RT's, & P233 use an ibm compatable stylus that are available off the web for about $15.
- There is a New XRT on eBay at the moment that has two 'selling' points
1)It has an installed Operating system
2)It has a new batterry

The RT is marginally lighter than the XRTbut there does not seem to be a significant operating difference between the two.
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Old 14-01-2008, 04:52   #101
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Service "anywhere" in the U.S.

[quote=hellosailor;125547]"I'm thinking about one of those external cards you put into your laptop (like from Verizon) that gives you Internet access no matter where you are."

You've been misinformed. Or, deluded by Verizon's marketing department, who sometimes have been known to live in an alternate reality.

There is no magic card that gets you access from anywhere. You've got a choice between laptop cellular cards, and laptop WiFi cards. The cellular cards only work in one carrier's cellular data network, which typically is the same as their regular coverage in major cities.

The New ATT card works anywhere in the continental U.S. as well as up to about 100 miles offshore (their claim, haven't tested it there . . YET). It runs about $55 a month for unlimited access. You can use it outside the country (just like my cell phone with them) but the cost is high (about $2 per minute) I have used the cellphone successfully in South America and Europe with no problems. When there, you access their local network, no long distance charge for local calls, just the roaming fee $$$. I expect the rate to come down with time and added subscriptions. Would make sense if you are staying anywhere for an extended time (such as Europe or Australia) to just buy a new card there. The ATT card is FREE with a one year contract.
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