Monday, March 17, 2008

ActiveCaptian Mobile Routes

Routes are easy to create with Mobile and my Treo 650. Simply tap and hold at the routes beginning location and then create waypoints along the way to the end of the route. At the last point, choose to end the route. Once that is done, the waypoints can be altered or new onces can be entered between the start and end. It's very intuitive.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

ActiveCaptain Mobile for my Treo 650

When I broke my T-Mobile cell phone, I went to eBay to get a Palm Treo 650 to replace it. The Treo was unlocked, which means that I could continue using my T-Mobile plan where I discovered that for less than $10 per month, I could have internet access for Web surfing and email. Since then, I've been looking for navigation software for my Treo. The best I could do was PathAway, which has flexible maps so that hikers, drivers, and sailors could upload their favorite maps, but it never really worked for me. has been promising a Palm version of its online service that describes 1000s of harbors and inlets around the world. I signed up to be a beta tester, but never got the non-disclosure agreement worked out. Now, the Palm version of ActiveCaptain is available--ActiveCaptain Mobile. My next posts will be about my use of ActiveCaptain Mobile.

I downloaded the trial version (20 uses) and two regional maps, which are NOAA maps in RGN format. This was so easy to do! The software loaded onto my Treo when I synced and the maps could be dragged directly to my SD memory card. I have a card that has a built-in USB connection. In minutes I was browsing Lake Michigan and the Virgin Islands.

Next, I wanted to test my GPS receiving, a Holum 1000, which is about the size of a bar of hotel soap. My Treo was already associated with the GPS receiver and the software was able to find it right away. It had a check box to connect automatically, if I wanted. Based on my previous experience with PathAway, I thought getting charts and PGS in a few minutes was amazingly simple.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Mac Mini Onboard

Our new boat, Speakeasy, a Catalina 320 does not have integrated GPS or chartplotter onboard. Last fall, I was introduced to MacENC, which is a very sophisticated GPS plotter and chart display that uses freely available NOAA bitmap or vector charts. We can easily bring a PowerBook on board, but it is no good at the helm because it is slippery. I can visualize it sliding off a lazarette or flying overboard. I was browsing in a sailing magazine and noticed that someone had cabled a Mac Mini installed below to a weather-protected LCD screen at the helm. It even had a metal track pad. Of course, none of this gear is inexpensive. A Mac Mini ($800), software ($150), display ($1000), cables ($100), and installation (?) can add up fast. Perhaps the handheld GPS and a paper chart are the best way for a while longer.