Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Virtual Volvo

I have reached the difficult doldrums in the Volvo Ocean Race Game and had to make a dramatic detour as the weather modeling was off by a bit. Rather than beat into light air I decided to bite the bullet, bear off and sail around the high.

I am doing much better in this leg thanks to not spending the first weekend aground like last time.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Navimatics Marine Maps First Look

Bill Zissimopoulos from Navimatics was kind enough to send me an AdHoc copy of his Marine Maps iPhone Navigation program to test in follow up to this Panbo article. It took me far to long to get around to loading the program and looking into it, but that process has finally started. Overall it is a very pretty program, with very good chart detail at least in the regions covered (not sure on completeness of coverage, but my understanding is that these are based on NOAA ENC charts which don't have complete coverage yet). The chart rotation feature is pretty cool and they have added the compass lock button (2nd from left) to lock onto north up if preferred. Zooming and Panning are fast, but the chart display reverts to the base raster (read very jagged with no detail) when you are panning or zooming, so it makes it hard to home in on what you are looking for. I will try to make a video of that sometime soon and post it so this complaint becomes more clear. Several of the other comments that the iNavX developer brought up on Panbo have been addressed as well as there are now waypoints and a goto feature, but you have to go to an info screen to see the waypoint bearing and distance info.

By far the best feature is the Search bar at the top of the screen which allowed me to quickly move down to Newport. It also gives the chart scale at all times in the lower right corner. My initial impressions are that for general marine reference or rough trip planning, this program has a LOT OF MERIT, but it doesn't seem to compete with iNavX for actual navigation. For many users, the ability to search for a location and quickly jump there would be an overriding decision maker, especially if you already have a portable GPS plotter, or a plotter display in the cockpit.

I will continue to play and will try to test this and the two versions of iNavX side by side when I head down to Ft. Meyers FLA for the Leukemia Cup Regatta Fantasy Sailing Weekend in December. Stay tuned.

Also note that I added a mapping feature from mapdaze. I am hoping they come up with a way to add map markers via e-mail as then this could be a VERY cool and easy to use feature. Otherwise I will just have to post date locations when full internet is available.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pinch Zoom Coming to iNavX

I loaded the latest Beta of iNavX last night and played around with the main new feature, PINCH ZOOMING! Apparently Apple doesn't include an API for pinch zooming meaning that every coder must write it themselves, but iNavX's version is actually the most responsive pinch zoom I have seen thus far, so many of my frustrations with google maps are relieved. Best of all, you can shut off the pinch zoom and the current zoom bar comes back if you prefer that for single handed operation.

In other news, we got all the sails off Visions and winterized the engines last weekend. The wifi install should be finished this coming weekend and I will write about that soon, and as soon as I get my new clamp ammeter I will finish my LED bulb testing and will start writing that article.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Living Aboard

I spent last weekend moving out of my apartment and onto the boat (not much fun) and most of the week trying to find homes for all the stuff I want access to over the winter. Note, it is difficult to fit a winter wardrobe including business attire into a closet and drawer space designed for warm weather cruising, but I managed to fit everything other than sweaters and by suit which ended up in the Master Stateroom.

This weekend was much more enjoyable, starting off with a beautiful sunset, followed by a boat-warming dinner party. I got most of the way through the wifi install on Visions. I just need the right coax connector (damb sexual confusion of reverse polarity connectors...who would have though the part with a nut like hole would be referred to as "male") and my tools back from Shane who is waiting for the same part before he can send them back to me and I can button up the laz. I added a power strip for laptop charging to the Nav station desk, a second power strip behind the entertainment center for expanded entertainment and wired up the x-box media center to stream videos from my laptop (or any other computer on the boat network). Who needs a DVR when you have a modded x-box and torrent downloads of the shows you missed that week.