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Old 29-03-2012, 15:22   #1
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Software Development While Living Aboard?

Any software developers working while living aboard a boat? The idea crossed my mind, and I'm sure it's possible, but since workspace is limited and internet access can be sketchy, I wondered how others are doing it?
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Old 29-03-2012, 16:32   #2
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Re: Software development while living aboard?

I am doing as well on land as on my boat - which is earning zero.
But, internet is usually good - if not move elsewhere - not an issue IMO.
cheers
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Old 29-03-2012, 16:35   #3
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Re: Software development while living aboard?

I did it for about a year. On a notebook. At the beginning was hooked to some free wifi, which was too unstable and I couldn't move of course, so I got myself usb dongle. Of course you can't go everywhere with that, your range is limited.
We have energetically very simple boat (200Ah battery bank) and the notebook is the biggest consumer. So the only "problem" I had was to keep an eye on the batteries. I could keep them topped up most of the time only with two solar panels, occasional wind turbine and very rarely I had to run the engine.
I loved to code on the boat. Either inside or in the cockpit (we can cover the whole cockpit with canvas).
Good luck
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Old 29-03-2012, 16:56   #4
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Re: Software development while living aboard?

What about space and working conditions? My land based development workstation right now consists of three 22" monitors, two computers, a scanner and a printer. I know I'll have to scale that down to probably a single big screen notebook (I have one that has an 18.4" diagonal screen that will work). I'm looking at getting a 32-35 foot boat to live and cruise on. I'm wondering, though, where I could sit and work for 8-10 hours straight and not need a chiropractor afterwards. I've yet to find a boat that has cabin seating that was truly comfortable. Has anyone modified their boats (maybe the nav station) so that it's more comfortable to sit and work at?
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Old 29-03-2012, 17:06   #5
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Re: Software development while living aboard?

True, my own setup was very minimalistic and I guess not everyone could bear it. I was quite worried about the chair, but in the end the only modification I did, was to get a firm mat on which I sat (well fidget, because I change my posture very often) and I was quite happy. But I would miss a large monitor. That's for sure
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Old 29-03-2012, 17:15   #6
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Re: Software development while living aboard?

I've been searching the net trying to see how people are setting up their nav stations for ideas. Just about everyone has a lap top at the nav station now a days, so I was hoping I'd get some good ideas. So far the only nav stations that look really comfortable are all on mega yachts. Hmmm... a mega yacht nav station on a 32 foot boat, might look kind of weird, huh? lol
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Old 29-03-2012, 17:16   #7
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Re: Software development while living aboard?

Web design, SEO, ghost blogging, etc.. Internet access essential but plenty of work can be done off-line and uploaded in sessions (the Internet can
be slow, as long as they serve good coffee).

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Old 29-03-2012, 17:24   #8
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Re: Software development while living aboard?

i used to have a very awesome, very powerful, huge multi-screen setup (maybe 32").
Also had issues with posture etc...
Beauty of the boat/laptop is you can move around - no need to be just at the nav station.
perhaps a bean bag in the mix - changing position is good too.
I now have a cheap 17" laptop - and a macbook air - all good...
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Old 29-03-2012, 17:27   #9
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Re: Software development while living aboard?

@AllezCat - I was also thinking about a bean bag chair. On my last boat that was the most comfortable seat, bar none. They're also cheap, another virtue I like.
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Old 29-03-2012, 17:58   #10
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Re: Software development while living aboard?

I would miss my big screens. Hopefully OLED technology will soon be mainstream to save the day
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Old 29-03-2012, 18:00   #11
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Re: Software development while living aboard?

I was thinking more along the lines of using a laptop as a station, with a big, light LED screen on a swivel-extender mount. Made such an installation once on a cruising boat to serve as a nav station (when faced to the nav table) and media center (when faced to the salon). The thick cable was an issue then.

Anybody: can I get a USB cabled screen somewhere (I remember Samsung promised them some time back), or else is the hdmi wire screen cable finer than the regular thing (VGA or whatever its name)?

I have the same issues as discussed above with posture - laptop did not help much as I tend to keep it ... on my lap.

I want a full backrest, huge screen and a wireless keyboard. Working on making it work for me.

Nice thread.

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Old 29-03-2012, 18:48   #12
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Re: Software development while living aboard?

I just installed a 24" LED monitor on our Caliber 40 on an extending arm. Works awesome. I can setup my 17" laptop as the second screen when I'm coding. I have always had a hard time coding with a single screen.



Here's the blog post on how I built it into our fold up bulkhead table:
s/v hello world: boob tube

The harder part is how to get a paying job when you're off f***ing around on a sailboat. I haven't been able to convince anyone that they should be paying me to write code while I sail around.
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Old 30-03-2012, 01:10   #13
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Re: Software development while living aboard?

@barnakiel - Just google for "usb monitor" and you'll find lots of them, Toshiba and others make them. The HDMI cable I have is just as thick as a VGA cable, probably even thicker, and the connector is bigger than a VGA connector.

@janders - I was starting to wonder if I could convert the dining table into a workstation space. Of course it will depend on which boat I get, but if I do that it'll have to be convertible so as to be dual purpose, such as what you've done. Where did you get the retracting arm for your project?
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Old 30-03-2012, 04:52   #14
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Re: Software development while living aboard?

Quote:
Originally Posted by prof_mariner View Post
Any software developers working while living aboard a boat? The idea crossed my mind, and I'm sure it's possible, but since workspace is limited and internet access can be sketchy, I wondered how others are doing it?
Depends on what you would be working on. If it's stand-alone projects, I think it's very doable. Before I started cruising I was working on a large-scale, multi-team projects with remote server setups, installs, coordination, etc. I was one of the three main specialists, so I also had team high-level designs and prototype reviews on my plate in addition to project direction, etc. I tried continuing my work after we started cruising and very soon understood that my involvement could not continue on the same scale - the time commitment was too much. I scaled down to smaller side-projects, but juggling need to move because of the weather and rigid work deadlines did not work out. So I went on sabbatical, then quit.

I think if you're just living aboard, it's fine. If you want to cruise and develop software at the same time, remember that cruising and deadlines don't mix well. Be careful.
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Old 30-03-2012, 06:00   #15
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Re: Software development while living aboard?

I live-aboard and work remotely as a developer. Right now I use the marina's wi-fi, but may buy a cell card to use so if they go down I can continue to work. I used to have a card supplied by the last company I worked for, and it was good. The cell was a little slower and was limited to about 5 gig a month, but any huge bandwidth tasks that I had to do I used a remote desktop.

We have been living aboard for about 7 years now and I have worked remotely for all 7 except for a period of a few months where I was laid off. We usually live in an area for about a year and then move somewhere else. We enjoyed living in the Keys and I had no problem working down there, but we moved up to the Tampa area so my wife could find work (she does IT also).

I use a single laptop and work from our salon table.
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