We use Thunderbird as an email client. To move it seamlessly from one computer to another Windows users may want to try this:
Update the T-bird version on the old computer to the same release to be used on the new computer — this will reformat Continue reading
I’m not generally inclined to recommend software, sometimes there be dragons in the code. I generally feel comfortable with downloads via CNET. NETWORX is a small utility that runs in background to keep track of how your computer is interacting with the net. the single feature I find most useful is “Quota.” This allows me to set an alarm for a specific amount of web-traffic — particularly useful when using MB or GB priced WiFi. [Second is Usage Report] Other features include: Continue reading
I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of massively featured navigation software. It has steep and multiple learning curves, it gobbles computer resources and it pushes one toward vendor lock-in. All bad juju. One area where I find such software lets me down in particular is when I want to draw on a chart. Not plotting mind you, but notes and graphics which add to the information value of the chart.
I use Oziexplorer charting software. There’s no learning curve, it’s computer friendly, and it accepts input from my AIS which acts as a GPS multiplexer — everything that can come from a GPS can be delivered via a single cable. I use a very burned-in IBM X40 running Windows 7. Since this laptop is for nothing but Nav, augmenting it with 16 extra GB via an SDHC card makes it more than roomy enough. SO WHAT? Oziexplorer (and some others out there) allows me to use JPGs with geospatial references as charts.* I save the added information as a graphic layer in an open source editor (Gimp), so underlying charts can be swapped out as new ones are issued. Three examples of where I have done this are:
Can one do these kinds of things with $700-$1200 navigation suites at the flick of a virtual button? Yep. Can I do them with a tad of work using open/freeware and a $90 charting program, Yep, and in the bargain, I develop a mental imprint from handling the information that I would not get from just looking at it.
When I was actively flying an airplane with one radio and enough instruments to get oneself upright (if there was enough altitude) I always took my chart and marked every runway within gliding distance of my planned altitude and flight-path from beginning to end. This is the same kind of thinking.
*Always verify scanned/georeferenced charts for lat/lon. Some Nav software use imperfect algorithms, and I’ve seen such charts off by as much as 4 miles at 1:1,200,000.
**BSB to JPG conversion software can be found for free at SourceForge
We use a browser extension called “Readability.” It reduces eyestrain (which in my case helps with mal de mer), reduces printer color ink usage, and has room for improvement. Who doesn’t? To quote the developer:
“Readability is a new Firefox add-on that makes reading web pages simpler and more enjoyable. The system strips the superfluous information and shows the main content in a single column of easy-to-read text. It is also a precious tool for printing the web pages in less.”
Versions for other browsers are or appear to be available. The extensions are an experiment of Arc90.com
It works wonders on ad-sodden, graphics-jammed News Feeds. Sometimes it works very well to select a printable version of the page and then apply Readability. One can also employ the extension, print to pdf, and then merge the pdfs, and then convert (as necessary) to e-book format.
Below is a screen shot of this post with and without Readability.
Posted in 2011