Monday, March 16, 2009


We have intentionally waited as long as possible to let technology grow up around us, but as we get closer to living onboard, we're now surveying what technologies are not only cool but indispensable. While neither of us are gadgeteers (you should see our antique cell phones), we do appreciate the conveniences and compact qualities of some electronic gadgets.

Take music for instance. When we bought our current boat in 2004, listening to music onboard required a receiver, a CD player, speakers and a cache of CDs. Five years later, we can now put our entire CD music library on an iPod the size of a thick credit card and listen to the songs on a deck the size of a box of Twinkies. That's a no-brainer.

And then there's books. I've been monitoring and studying's Kindle electronic book since it first came out in November 2007. The new version released this month is a 10.2 ounce device that stores 1500 books. Its display is not backlit but looks like ink on paper. The Kindle does for books what the iPod does for music, sort of. The thing I can't do is dump my current library into the Kindle without purchasing the books again in electronic form, although some classics that are available for free. At first I worried that it might not hold up in a marine environment but I know of some live-aboards such as Captain Fatty Goodlander, who are using them without a problem.

There's also the allure of having the New York Times or The Washington Post waiting for me when I wake up onboard every morning. The library Amazon offers will surely grow over the years. (Hey, Amazon, how about some sailing magazines?)

Clearly the advantages are huge, but so is the price. It's a $349 initial investment plus a cover plus a waterproof cover. Any books that aren't free will run $3-$10. So I ponder whether or not to buy a used one on eBay, buy a new old version, wait.

We go through similar thoughts with the iPhone from Apple. While neither of us has any interest in it as a phone, having a small computer with internet access using cell phone technology gets us jazzed. There are lots of issues and expenses involved in getting internet connection on a moving water vessel, most are really expensive. The iPhone would be a reasonably cost effective way to get connection although I've yet to explore how comprehensive its connectivity.

And so, the technology part of the plod continues. Next we must ponder navigation, instrumentation, solar power, watermakers, etc.

--My health woes continue. I go for another CAT scan tomorrow to see if antibiotics made an impact. I still don't feel good 75% of the time. Sigh.
--Checking out rates for advertising the business and at the same time wondering if we should wait until after the summer season.
--Focusing on advertising Isabella and getting the house sold.

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