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Old 11-04-2017, 21:29   #1
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You High-Tech Folks... how engrossed are you in your devices?

Thought of this while responding to another thread I started here...

With all the connectivity between equipment.. Nav and all... phones.... tablets... watches even...
.
If you sit back and think about it for a few minutes, how much time do you spend checking, watching, updating, swiping, tapping.... much like the 'younger-than-me-folk' with their heads bowed gazing at their phone screens?
.
Has anyone felt like their modern electronics and APPS have locked them into a perpetual state of screen gazing and information seeking?
Are you better off with all the instant information whether it has to do with steering your boat or figuring out that weather in the distance or with the boat's systems, talking between crew member's watches and such?
.
How many of you are a few years behind the current version craze and are quite comfortable where you're at?
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Old 11-04-2017, 22:44   #2
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Re: You High-Tech Folks... how engrossed are you in your devices?

I really like tech toys, but I don't add them uselessly.

For the big boat we have the capability to wifi everything together but never do.

On my racing cat I do use an iPhone that relays GPS data to my watch. Then the watch can toss up range/bearing/speed and wind shift data. I can't say I get buried in it. I probably look at the data less than I do on a larger boat but it depends on what's going on.

After sailing I do download all the data and then use a program to analyze performance every time I go out, but I am not sure this is what you are asking about.
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Old 11-04-2017, 22:48   #3
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Re: You High-Tech Folks... how engrossed are you in your devices?

I'm sure not one to answer. I am still amazed that I have GPS on my phone! That's how far behind I am. I don't have any of the stuff, except the GPS which gives me where I am and how fast I am really going. Im going to get AIS though! To me, coming from the old days of ded reckoning and Loran and RDFs (which I thought worked pretty well!) I am still a kid in a candy store. But if I had a big screen giving me more info, I'd probably be playing with it all day. Somehow, knowing exactly where I am all the time, takes some of the fun out of it though. I kind of miss the old days when the fog would lift and then you'd find out if you were where you thought you were!
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Old 12-04-2017, 05:33   #4
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Re: You High-Tech Folks... how engrossed are you in your devices?

I'm kind of a gadget freak. I'm a software developer and have a ham license. I could play with my electronic toys all day long if I wanted to. And sometimes I want to.

But mostly, when I'm out sailing, I spend my time sailing. I sail in the Tampa Bay area, where there are a lot of shallows, so I always keep one eye on the depth sounder. And I will check the chart-plotter now and then, to be sure it agrees with where I think I am. But that's pretty much it. I do not drive the boat heads-down staring at a screen all the time. Not even close. The electronics are just tools, that I use now and then, mostly to confirm what I already know about where I am and where I'm heading.

On the other hand, I work on a university campus, and I see the scene below all the time!

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Old 12-04-2017, 05:41   #5
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Re: You High-Tech Folks... how engrossed are you in your devices?

Is staring at a tablet running Chartplotter software any different to staring at a chart plotter?
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Old 12-04-2017, 05:58   #6
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Re: You High-Tech Folks... how engrossed are you in your devices?

The basic functions work well on tablets and plotters. However more difficult advanced functions like weather overlay that require digital bandwidth off the boat are still not as reliable as they need to be. Information you don't need to use our that you can't get is useless.
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Old 12-04-2017, 08:11   #7
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Re: You High-Tech Folks... how engrossed are you in your devices?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wsmac View Post

(...)

Has anyone felt like their modern electronics and APPS have locked them into a perpetual state of screen gazing and information seeking?

(...)
I got caught in.

But it is not like the manufacturers of the blinking dreams are not to blame.

I am often thinking why upgrade anything since 99% of the extra power that comes with newer and fancier devices is actually consumed by the newer fancier (but not more useful) OS.

And do I need weather data from 9 Apps if I know they are all using the same data source anyways?

And do I need an AP onboard while I can simply face my sailing partner and ask her how she feels today? We do not have to tweet each other while onboard I think.

So I for one agree much of the technology today is just a bling thing and not productive. Actually, possibly counter-productive.

I remember one journalist say "With a new iPad into new Middle Ages". And I have the feeling this guy nailed it.

So. What I am about to do is to de-clutter and de-rate all our screens (9, if we count Raymarine toys) before our next trip.

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Old 12-04-2017, 08:18   #8
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Re: You High-Tech Folks... how engrossed are you in your devices?

I would hate the idea of being so perpetually absorbed in everyone else's life while mine slips by. That is what I see when I see people absorbed in Tweets, Facebook, Texting, etc.

Social Media has destroyed socialization.

Either my wife or her iPad (possibly both) is dangerously close to being thrown overboard.
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Old 12-04-2017, 08:42   #9
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Re: You High-Tech Folks... how engrossed are you in your devices?

I'm just getting into the sailing world, so sailing electronics is a new venture for me.
.
But.... I can tell you that in the world of bicycle riding (Mountain Biking for me), I have seen more people tuned out of the space around them whether it's by having their earbuds in, watching their heartrate monitors, pace monitor, STRAVA, while the scenery and the people they are riding with are completely ignored.
.
That's their thing though, so I just let it be. But on group rides on the trails, in the mountains... I prefer to be able to call out to another rider for any number of reasons, stop to catch my breath and maybe talk a bit about how that last section was or what's coming up...
.
On the other hand, I can totally see racers wanting information either during training runs or during the race itself. The kind of information available to these sailors must be pretty damn cool!
.
I also see safety factors in using some of the current high-tech tools (call them toys or gadgets if you like, but most of what I've seen are actually tools to begin with).
.
For just sailing around my little Bay, I don't see the need for a lot of tech on my boat. Until I start venturing out of the Bay into the Coastal waters, I'll just keep watching the advancements, learn how to sail without all that gear, then hopefully make a sound choice when I want to upgrade.
.
I'm sure there are people in the sailing world, as in other human activities, who feel you should learn to be able to do it all without any high-tech stuff first... that's how the world was first explored... right?

Whether that's the best way or just the romantic way can only be defined by each individual... imho anyway...
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Old 12-04-2017, 09:39   #10
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Re: You High-Tech Folks... how engrossed are you in your devices?

I use them about the same as checking the dashboard instruments while driving. But that's mostly in river channels and harbor areas. For a day sail, I almost never turn on the chart plotter or the radar.

But I feel like maybe I should, to get some practice under "controlled" conditions.
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Old 12-04-2017, 09:53   #11
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Re: You High-Tech Folks... how engrossed are you in your devices?

When training new crew, I often turn off all instruments and have them spend time at the helm sailing strictly by feel. It's the best way to develop a visceral response to handling the boat. Later, I'll turn on the instruments so that they can work on the intellectual side of things. Much later, I'll turn on the tablet that serves as our chartplotter and get them up to speed with that.

Sailing for me is all about being on the ocean with the sky above. My eyes are focused there 99.9% of the time. Hard to spot a turtle or a pod of dolphins if you're watching a screen. Also easy to miss a squall or small craft if your attention is elsewhere and every set of eyes counts.

The biggest benefit I've seen from "new" tech is cost reduction. What used to cost thousands of dollars now costs hundreds or less: In the cockpit, a $40 bluetooth dongle allows me to play music on common devices, and inexpensive, robust waterproof tablets allow for electronic charting.

I also agree with the sentiment about electronic zombies. I've seen couples texting each other across the dinner table. This forum is as close to social media as I'll ever get.
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Old 12-04-2017, 10:01   #12
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Re: You High-Tech Folks... how engrossed are you in your devices?

Yes! I have a lot of technology. I like it and use it to the maximum advantage. As a private pilot I fly the same way. For me as a singlehander it is about safety and the see and be seen rule.
I simplify by using my Zeus 12T split screen. My Vesper AIS provides alarms as does the Zeus for others using AIS.
My attention is generally external vs staring at the screen or my iPad on the RAM mount at the helm or below when required. With wifi I can take the iPad below when required and in a safe location or open water.
Out in public I'm the guy who speaks up and says "heads up! Or Eyes up!" to those about to crash into me or others while walking about with their heads stuck to their devices.
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Old 12-04-2017, 10:17   #13
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Re: You High-Tech Folks... how engrossed are you in your devices?

Neither a luddite nor a tech geek, my introduction to small boat handling began in the late 50's when instrumentation for recreational boating was limited and rudimentary. I have a good cruising friend who began his sailing career almost four decades after I did. He's a product of the digital revolution and a tech genus. His boat is kitted out with all the bells and whistles fully integrated into his nav system. While he is comfortable relying almost exclusively upon his radar guard, AIS and depth alarms, spending a minimum time keeping an eye out of the cockpit, I'm nearly the opposite.

When he was ready to bring his boat back from La Paz, BCS, MX, to Santa Cruz, CA, I had offered to help as crew and he took me up on the offer. He has another old salt who sailed the south Pacific and worked as a commercial salmon fisherman who has also helped crew. My friend confided that he appreciates the help of us old sailors because of our ability to spend hours in the cockpit keeping watch.

Taking our leave from Cabo San Lucas and rounding the often boisterous seas at Cabo Falso, there was occasion to illustrate the difference between an adherence to the digital aids versus taking time to take a look about to assess the situation. We had been making our way towards Cabo Falso, bashing and taking spray on what is normally a pretty dry boat. After almost an hour, the skipper asked if perhaps we might consider turning back waiting for a better window of opportunity to make the rounding. I suggested he might want to take a look ahead because all the confusion and white caps of our current seaway appeared to be settling. He got his head out of the cockpit, agreed with the observation and within the next hour conditions had settled significantly as we made the rounding of the cape.

His boat is a joy to cruise long distances having fully integrated systems. By the same token, being freed from much of the navigational work makes it even easier to spend hours on watch, observing and appreciating the ocean. I'm not convinced the episode at Cabo Falso changed his behavior of using his own senses to assess a situation, but he acknowledged the benefit in helping to make a decision in that particular situation.
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Old 12-04-2017, 10:31   #14
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Re: You High-Tech Folks... how engrossed are you in your devices?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don C L View Post
I'm sure not one to answer. I am still amazed that I have GPS on my phone! That's how far behind I am. I don't have any of the stuff, except the GPS which gives me where I am and how fast I am really going. Im going to get AIS though! To me, coming from the old days of ded reckoning and Loran and RDFs (which I thought worked pretty well!) I am still a kid in a candy store. But if I had a big screen giving me more info, I'd probably be playing with it all day. Somehow, knowing exactly where I am all the time, takes some of the fun out of it though. I kind of miss the old days when the fog would lift and then you'd find out if you were where you thought you were!
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Old 12-04-2017, 12:25   #15
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Re: You High-Tech Folks... how engrossed are you in your devices?

At one point a depth sounder was considered high-tech. Now in many, (if not most), circles it's a necessity for traveling boats. To some degree the same thing for VHF, GPS, AIS, radar, and plotter. I like getting weather reports however I can get them. Also, I get the thing about social media but I have to say I appreciate being able get news about, and stay in touch with, extended family and friends through one media. I used to have to send and receive a lot of letters for the same thing. It seems most people these days would have trouble finding time for that anymore. There's so much going on in everyone's lives.
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