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Old 10-11-2010, 14:20   #31
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Originally Posted by mintyspilot View Post
Personally, when I walk away from the keyboard I'm done. The end. I've another 5 years to do and it is ALL devoted to my new project which is preparing for life as a non-programmer.
We're in the same boat, so to speak. We (my wife, son, and I) have a plan to live aboard in at most 7 years. At that point, I'd prefer to be a non-programmer, but at the end of the day, I'll do what keeps the kitty full enough. As far as programmer or non-programmer, time will tell. It's a toss up for me. I'm at a point where I've lost the passion, but all is not yet lost.

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Forget about marine software - let some other bright-eyed, world conquering, Bill Gates do it. Or is what you really want a new programming challenge?
Honestly, at this point, I don't have a preference. Whether it's a new programming challenge or completely different challenge, I'm happy. The new challenge needs to meet certain criteria, however. In order to stay on the plan, the new challenge needs to generate an income. I'm ok with taking a loss and/or putting in sweat equity in the short term, so long as it will be profitable in the medium-long term. Ideally, the new challenge would endure the move from land to liquid and still provide income. Programming is both profitable and adaptable to life aboard.

Luckily, I'm still more-or-less bright eyed, but I've never been the MBA, corporate Bill Gates type. I have business instincts (inherited from my dad), but I'm no salesman.
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Old 10-11-2010, 17:55   #32
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That's because it is very impractical and defeats the whole purpose of cruising which to live the KISS principle. Layers of data only distract the user - the single-hander or the half of a couple who is on watch - from keeping the boat trimmed, free from hazards and afford some time for navel lint contemplation.
The problem I have with that is you are imposing your definition of what cruising is on others. Just because your definition or, perhaps, the generally accepted definition of cruising includes the KISS principle doesn't mean that all of us have the same definition. My personal definition of cruising starts with freedom - as in, I'm free to define cruising however I wish and that definition is free change over time.

Furthermore, the definition of simple in KISS is subjective. Having grown up with computers and electronics, they are simple to me. In the same way that it's possible to have a very simple sail plan - or not, or have a very simple deck layout - or not, or have a very simple watch schedule - or not, it's very possible to have a very simple electronics and software suite - or not.

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- - It does not take long for the "high-tech" data machines to crash and lock up in the salt environment and usually in a location where you cannot reload/rebuild the trashed machine.
If one decides to put a computer system on board, it needs to be treated the same as any other onboard system. In the same way that one should not go to Home Depot to buy high quality hardware and gear for a boat, one should not go to Walmart to buy a computer, put it on a boat and expect it to last as long as the same system based on land system. For optimal performance and durability, computer systems used aboard should be ruggedized, at a significantly increased cost when the ability to repair or replace an off-the-shelf unit is not possible. If one chooses to have a computer system onboard, having spare parts the knowledge to replace them onboard are as necessary for a computer system as a diesel engine.

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- - It is not difficult for a cruiser or cruising couple to mentally keep track of what is on their little vessel and what they need to buy. Reverting to the hands on simple life is a great part of what cruising is all about. Turning yourself into a data collection, keypunch operator is not part of the program of cruising.
Aside from again trying to define cruising for me, I'd have to agree with this point. In the same way I don't want to check my e-mail or voicemail or snail mail or the CNN website every day, when I cut the lines, I don't want to have to constantly monitor my onboard computer system. However, if my onboard computer system can automate tasks that free more time for me to read, hike, or kayak while cruising, I'm all for it. If that same system can alert the crew to something wrong that might not otherwise be detected, all the better.

Then, there's the scientific curiosity. If the onboard computer system has a sensor that monitors something 24/7 and I can, at my leisure, analyze the output data for trends that might teach me something, in my book, that's worthwhile.

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- - Beyond a good navigation program, communications (Skype/email),and and a source of weather information - there no need for sophisticated computers and applications.
I agree, but there is a difference between need and want. Books, music, and booze are not needed onboard, but I have yet to see a boat that's used for more than just racing that doesn't have them. On a boat or not, we all carry with us that which we consider valuable regardless of the value others may place on the same items.

All I'm saying is, "To each, his own."
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Old 10-11-2010, 18:04   #33
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LG has a refrigerator that has internet in the door... see small piccy below.

I'm stuffed if I know why the fridge should have internet... but, well, I have 2 fridges - a front opener and a top opener. I want internet installed in both fridges so they have connectivity with each other (sorta rolls off the tongue that word "connectivity"... Very 2010's)

Is this possible?
According to what I've read, the internet in the fridge does little more than allow you to access the internet from your kitchen without toting a laptop around with you. (A HUGE improvement, since now you're toting your fridge around with you.) From what I can tell, it doesn't do anything that integrates the functionality of a fridge (i.e., storing and cooling food) and the functionality of the internet.

Following this idea, you would get an internet whale if you took a waterproof iPad and glued it to Shamu's head, assuming Shamu's tank had wifi or 3G connectivity.
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Old 10-11-2010, 18:13   #34
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First up, I'm an IT disaster zone so I've got no idea if what I'm suggesting is feasable.

But when I was deciding to go cruising full time, I looked around for something equivalent to the flight simulator programs, and couldn't find anything.

I wanted to be able to simulate a trip from say, Panama to New Zealand, stopping at a range of islands. There was nothing I could find at all.

It would be good if the program could have variables entered such as wind speed and direction, same for currents, seas conditions etc.
Then setting up for the trip, maybe have strms approach that could be picked up on radar, use of gps, plotter, depth sounder for finding anchorages, setting the anchor... of course choosing sloop, cutter, ketch, and the different sailing characteristics, sail selection, settings...
Anyway, just a thought jogger...

There are so many inexperienced people who come on CF with a big dream, or those like myself who are between coastal sailing and becoming full time cruisers... who would find something like this interesting, instructional, and entertaining...
Vic,

That's a great idea. What would you be simulating though? Flight simulators train you how to fly. I'm assuming you're not looking for a sailing simulator. There are a few of those out there. What level of detail?

Back in the 90's there was a space shuttle simulator for the PC. It was very (in my opinion, too) complex. It had every unclassified switch, handle, system and control that the space shuttle had. The "game" would allow you to simulate a complete seven day shuttle mission from VAB rollout to launch to landing IN REAL TIME. God help you, if you were rolling the shuttle out to the pad and fell asleep before you were able to save the game.

Kevin
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Old 10-11-2010, 18:15   #35
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keving, I see its been quite a while since you posted. Are you still interested in doing something? I have been interested in starting an OS boat management system in Java.
Absolutely, I'll collaborate. Send me a private message. This offer is open to anyone interested in taking part.
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Old 11-11-2010, 02:49   #36
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First up, I'm an IT disaster zone so I've got no idea if what I'm suggesting is feasable.

But when I was deciding to go cruising full time, I looked around for something equivalent to the flight simulator programs, and couldn't find anything.
A friend of mine has built this in his attic.

Dave's simulator - the image shows the actual "finished" product

It's very good. I've flown it and you really do forget you're in an attic. Some of the panels are genuine Boeing ones that failed QA and where ditched.
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Old 11-11-2010, 03:04   #37
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I have been putting a similar programming project on the backburner for some time now.

My idea is a statistical program that parses NMEA data for the racing and sailmaking community. I have written R scripts as a start to see what I can come up with and think there is definitely a market for it. I researched what the Volvo teams use and came up with nothing, those guys keep their tools of the trade quite secret.

I have toyed with iOS (iPhone) as well and thought that perhaps an Augmented Reality app could have some use on a boat. The problem is of course making that work without any access to the outside world. For instance if you wanted to point your iPhone at a boat and get live AIS information you would have to be able to query for it, so that won't work. Neat idea though. Someone did something similar with Aircraft recently.

The last iOS idea was a navigation light identification based on camera input, but the camera on the iPhone does not do well with low light. Kind of impractical as well.
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Old 11-11-2010, 04:00   #38
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Get on the opencpn team I reckon
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Old 11-11-2010, 07:55   #39
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Kevingy - Personally, I thoroughly agree with your reply to my post. I run up to 5 computers on board, each one dedicated to a specific area of boat or personal operations.
- - But in general my posts are speaking to the "average" actual cruisers I have encountered in 10 years in the Caribbean. We may be the computer "exceptions" but on average the cruisers I have met and observed use computers very minimally and usually primarily as a communications substitute for satellite phones or SSB email. For them other aspects of the cruising lifestyle take precedence.
- - Which is one of the great aspects of the cruising life - as you stated - to each their own.
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Old 11-11-2010, 08:52   #40
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We are using Fugawi extensively for visualization of GRIB files, navigation, AIS, trip planning, along with the integrated tide and current information. The laptop that hosts this runs 24/7 when passaging.

We also have every compartment on the boat mapped and connected to an inventory with visual cues. This has proved valuable.

The laptop interfaces with the Iridium satphone via XGATE for reliable downloading of the GRIB files.

The laptop is used in port for WIFI via a 15 db antenna setup.

Consequently, we carry two additional laptops for back-up.
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Old 11-11-2010, 13:45   #41
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Get on the opencpn team I reckon
I've wondered about that. To be honest I had a quick look at it when I first became a CF member and couldn't even understand what posters were saying. Perhaps I should take another look.
Any idea where step one in the Owners Guide can be found?... Dummies edition?
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Old 11-11-2010, 14:18   #42
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Vic,

That's a great idea. What would you be simulating though? Flight simulators train you how to fly. I'm assuming you're not looking for a sailing simulator. There are a few of those out there. What level of detail?

Back in the 90's there was a space shuttle simulator for the PC. It was very (in my opinion, too) complex. It had every unclassified switch, handle, system and control that the space shuttle had. The "game" would allow you to simulate a complete seven day shuttle mission from VAB rollout to launch to landing IN REAL TIME. God help you, if you were rolling the shuttle out to the pad and fell asleep before you were able to save the game.

Kevin
Good point.
I guess I was thinking of something that simulated an actual trip/voyage, not the basics of how to sail a boat.

Eg. set up a trip from the E. coast to Bermuda, then BVI. From there island hopping the Caribbean.
So, you'd check for best time of year for the trip, or the conditions for the time you plan to take the trip. Select waypoints, type of vessel etc.

To have the trip role out in real time would be about as exciting as
watching paint dry, so speeding up the trip is a must, but from time to time have a squall coming across or maybe a reroute due to a bad weather pattern developing...
Leaving harbour and approaching anchorages could include depth soundings. Windows to wind speed/direction, and currents, sea conditions etc could all be built into it... just a few ideas.

Vic
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Old 11-11-2010, 14:39   #43
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I'm in the same boat.
Not sure if eventually living on a boat will inspire me to get back into writing code. Or inventing something. I have an interest in learning electronics - make cool stuff...

As far as sailing simulator, believe that was created pre-computer - stand in cold shower and tear up money
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Old 12-11-2010, 06:21   #44
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I've wondered about that. To be honest I had a quick look at it when I first became a CF member and couldn't even understand what posters were saying. Perhaps I should take another look.
Any idea where step one in the Owners Guide can be found?... Dummies edition?
Manual here: OpenCPN Manual | Official OpenCPN Homepage
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Old 13-11-2010, 00:48   #45
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Thanks
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