I’ve been wanting to do some GPS data programming with the Raspberry Pi that’s on my boat. The Pi is connected to the NMEA 2000 network, and so should be able to retrieve GPS coordinates from either my chartplotter or my AIS unit when they are powered on, but it should also be able to get the GPS data from my Max Transit cellular gateway device.
It turns out that configuring gpsd to retrieve the data from the max transit was fairly easy. I edited the file /etc/default/gpsd to include the internal address and port of my router and restarted gpsd and now the Pi has the correct location.
The devices section was initially empty. I added tcp://192.168.50.1:60660 between the pair of double quotes. After that, I was able to run gpsmon with no parameters and it connects to the local machine and reports the gps statistics.
I’d verified that I can read the device directly over the network with the command gpsmon 192.168.50.1:60660 but I wanted to be able to write my programs without needing to know where the gps was located.
I purchased a Garmin Vivoactive watch to be able to run the raceQs sailing tactics racing watch app. I’ve actually purchased two of these watches. I purchased the first in early 2020 when I saw it on sale for around $120 on a discount site. I used a little bit with the RaceQs app https://raceqs.com/smart-watch/ before the COVID-19 Pandemic shut down all sailboat racing, and then used the watch more for its built in GPS bike tracking and walk tracking features during the summer. Towards the end of the summer when I was getting back into sailboat racing, I was wearing the watch on my right hand and managed to knock the strap loose while tying fenders to the lifeline. The watch bounced once on the deck before going overboard. It took me a few months before I saw another deal online that convinced me to buy a second watch.
I have a long data history with Fitbit, and currently wear a Charge 3. It’s similar to the newer Charge 4, but without the GPS tracking features. I like the smaller profile on my wrist of the fitbit, and have been wearing it or something similar 24 hours a day for the last five years. The larger size of the Garmin makes it harder to convince myself to switch to away from the Fitbit for my general data tracking, when though I’ve learned that when I don’t use the GPS features of the Garmin it has similar battery life to the Fitbit. I like the always on watch face of the Garmin, especially after I picked an analog style watch face.
I like using the RaceQs app on the watch while sailing, especially with the more recent editions features of automatically uploading race data to the website. I have some issues, that I mainly believe are because of the touchscreen abilities with the garmin watch. I believe that the app would be much better served on a watch with an array of buttons surrounding the watch face. The pictures of the app on its website appear to show a button centric watch.
The way I use the watch for sailing is that I wait till I’m on the boat, preparing for a start. Then I start the raceQ app on the watch, wait for it to get a GPS fix and go to the timer setting. Then I configure the timer for the appropriate countdown to my start and start the countdown. Then I explicitly press and hold the crown button until I can press the lock icon, locking the touchscreen. I’ve found that if I don’t lock the touchscreen, inadvertent touches will change what’s displayed on the screen, and cause the app to change modes. I do my best not to touch the app until after my race has completed.
Sometimes I notice the app is on a page that asks if I want to exit, with a check (✔) or cross (❌) option. I’ve found that the best option is to not enter anything until after the race has completed.
I wish that the raceq screen displayed GPS time on all screens, including the screen asking if I wanted to exit the app. There are plenty of times that I’ve been hiking on the rail and the skipper wants the exact time recorded for when we’ve crossed the finish line. with the watch locked, there’s no way to get the time on the watch quickly.
The app automatically calculates tacking angles to the mark after one set of windward/leeward marks have been rounded, which seems nice, but in my position on the boat, isn’t as important to me as the start timer, or the real time of finish.
I don’t know if there’s a way of creating screen shots of the watch display similar to what’s on a phone. It would be nice for describing after the fact what was going on, but with the limited storage and buttons on the phone, don’t expect there’s a way of doing so.
This is a feature that I’m still trying to understand. I believe it is an AIS message, and possibly a distress message, but have not been able to figure out what it means. I get the same result whether I push Show or Close, in that the alarm dialog closes and no cursor is selected.
I have a GARMIN AIS™ 300 Blackbox Receiver connected to my NMEA 2k network, and assume that it generated the message on the local network and the B&G is just displaying it. Because I don’t have an AIS transmitter, I don’t believe it’s a directed message to me. I’m not broadcasting any ID, and my radio isn’t hooked to the GPS, so isn’t configured to be able to broadcast distress signals. (One more item in my to-do-list)
The only annoyance I have with this type of message has been when I left the instruments running while i was away from the boat and returned to find the alarm beeping and a similar message displayed. I don’t like that the beeping may have been annoying my neighbors for days.
I’ve been extremely happy with my new chartplotter when I’m actively using it. I’ve been frustrated by some of the features.
I wish it would automatically start recording a new track every time it was turned on. It seems that this should be an option in the settings, but I’ve not been able to find such an option.
The bigger issue is that it seems to reduce the size of stored tracks. This may be related to whatever it’s doing to synchronize with the online map, but the behavior is extremely annoying as it means I don’t have the true logged data of where I visited on my two week trip to the San Juan Islands over July 4th.
The image above shows the track that had been running from my leaving of Odlin County Park on Lopez Island on July 5th, going north to Orcas Island, then sailing south to Mackaye Bay on Lopez Island on July 6th, and finally motoring south to Shilshole on July 7th, arriving a little past 3pm.
The second image was taken on July 22nd. You can see that the number of points for the Leave ODLIN track has reduced from 16063 to 178. Even stranger is that the Spencer Spit log has increased from 124 points to 134, and Deer Harbor has increased from 56 to 61.
I had the plotter set to automatically synchronize settings with the mobile app and the web site, but have disabled it as of today to see if future logs will not be truncated. The auto synchronization was a very nice thing initially because I was able to create a series of places at my desktop using the full keyboard and mouse, and then the next time I turned on my chart plotter they appeared on the plotter with my intervention.
I realized that the waypoints I’d created all had the default icon. I went in and changed the icon on the chart plotter for each if the locations and something also truncated the names. I don’t know if it was the synchronization with the online service, or the chartplotter itself, but losing data is never a good thing.
Another feature that would be extremely nice would be if the time at the top of the screen included the date and UTC offset or timezone.
Tuesday July 20th I had a shock after upgrading my iPhone with the latest iOS.
I went digging around in my email for records of apple communications. I’d cancelled Apple TV+ before I had to start paying for it on July 1st. I was hoping that I’d not mistakenly cancelled multiple subscriptions. I know that I’d purchased my iPhone about two years ago, but knowing Apple’s release schedule, wouldn’t have bought it until after September.
I found the email invoice from June 20th, 2021, paying for the monthly update, as well as the 20th of each month, going back until I had initiated AppleCare on December 20th, 2019.
I had a conversation with a friend via texts about AppleCare in which he checked the situation on his sons iPad and recognized that it would end coverage at 24 months fairly soon. My conclusion was that I’d probably purchased my phone 90 days before I purchased the AppleCare subscription. I didn’t like the fact that it was currently showing coverage expired in the phone, but didn’t want to deal with apple to find out what was going on, hoping that this was simply a bug in the interface on the monthly renewal date.
At nearly 8:30pm on July 21st I got an invoice for the next month’s AppleCare in my email, and went and checked the about box. Now it’s correctly showing my coverage. I’m glad that it resolved itself without my intervention, but I think it’s a bad bug in the system that shows coverage expired on the regular monthly renewal date. I wonder what would happen if I were to lose my phone on the 20th of any particular month?
One of the things that’s still unknown is if I’ll be able to maintain this coverage past the 24 month period. AppleCare can be purchased up front as a fixed cost, or spread over monthly fees. One of the benefits of the monthly mode is that you can cancel at any time. The small print makes it slightly ambiguous if the recurring cost will continue indefinitely, or if it will automatically end after 24 months of phone ownership. I’m hoping for the former, because I’ve usually kept my phones for three years instead of two. I’ve never needed to use the phone insurance, but liked the idea of dealing directly with Apple if I needed to get anything fixed with the phone.
I recently installed a Zeus™ 3S 9 chartplotter on my sailboat, and am generally happy with it. I’ve been running into a few problems and am still trying to figure out what’s going on. This is probably only the first post that I’ll write about issues I’m having.
The manual says it can read memory cards larger than 32GB if they are formatted NTFS. I found the smallest flash card in my regular collection of cards was a 32GB card. I put it into the chart plotter because I wanted to copy the screen captures to my computer, but it was not recognized.
Today I found a 16GB card that had been used in a raspberry pi project and reformatted it in windows 10, then took both it and the larger card to the boat.
I did a couple of tests and the 16GB card was readable from either slot, while the 32GB card doesn’t show up.
You can see that I put the 32 GB card in the top slot and the 16 GB card in the bottom.
The second picture shows the memory cards fully inserted. At that point I was able to see the 16GB card in the chartplotter, but the 32GB card does not appear.
After I returned home I looked at the filesystem properties on each of the cards.
The larger of the two cards had defaulted to the exFAT format, while the smaller was FAT32. I was able to reformat the larger drive as FAT32 and may test if it can be read by the chartplotter in the future. I don’t like buying small memory cards. I have found the fast (Ultra High Speed Class 3 = 30 MBit/second) 128GB cards are the right ones to buy for my drone and camera usage.
As I read through this post you can see that the 16GB card is listed as UHS-3 while the 32GB card is UHS-1. I don’t think that should make a difference in this usage.
Recently, on March 27th, I bought an Ice Pick from Amazon and found that I like making drinks from chipped ice significantly more than cubes made from an ice machine.
Since I’m now stocking multiple locations, I needed another for my boat. I ordered the exact same part from Amazon and it was delivered on June 6th.
What I found interesting is that the first item had a cherry finish stain to the wood, while the second has a much lighter and less red finish. Either one is fine, and I wouldn’t have a problem if I had not seen the other. I just wish they were the same and prefer the darker finish.
Functionally they are the same, and really nice for breaking up blocks of ice to put in drinks.
I’ve had a Canon CanoScan LiDE 210 for at least 7 years. One of the deciding factors when I bought it was that it used a single USB cable, with no need for a second power cable.
The 210 used a mini-usb cable, which was sometimes difficult to make sure it was inserted in the correct direction. I occasionally had problems with the software driving losing communication during a scan. I switched lengths of cable at various times, with shorter cables seeming to be more consistent, but never truly conclusive.
Recently the scanner stopped moving the scan bar back to the starting location before each scan. First it would leave the scan bar at the finish location, and move to the beginning position when I would start the next scan, but then that functionality stopped and it would only return to the start position when it was first plugged into the USB port. If I tried to scan a second page without unplugging the USB cable, the movement motor would make a nasty grinding sound as it tried to move the scanner further down the page, and would result in a messy black page in the scan results. It was especially frustrating if I was trying to create a multi page PDF.
I read several online reviews, and decided to get another Canon scanner. The reviews recommended saving $20 and getting the less expensive scanner, but from my reading, only the more expensive scanner used the USB C plug, which has the advantage that it can be plugged in either direction.
I found it fascinating how similar the new packaging is to the old packaging. The old box was designed with a carrying handle, while the new box is not. I expect that’s largely due to the predominance of mail order over retail purchase. The dimensions of the new scanner and the box are pretty much the same. The boxes can be stacked 13 high. The temperature range on the old one could go 5° to 35°C while the new one goes from 0° to 40°C. Each scanner lists a maximum 4800 dpi. The 210 reported 10 seconds per page. The 400 reports 8 seconds per page.
The new software is slightly nicer working with the most recent version of windows 10, but still nothing to be too excited about. My biggest issue is that the settings for the Auto button on the scanner will not allow me to specify it will always save a JPG file. I could do that with the old scanner software. Now, to make sure I always get the format I want I much launch the software and initiate the scanning from the PC.
I bought a Honda VFR800 when the new model was released in late 2001, as a 2002 model year. I was never as happy with the VFR800 as I had been with the CBR600. I owned them both for a while, during a time I was splitting my time between Texas and Washington state. I had the CBR600 in Washington and the VFR800 in Texas, then in 2003 consolidated everything to Washington. The flat four in the CBR was a smoother machine than the V four in the VFR. The CBR had a shorter wheelbase and was a more nimble machine. The VFR looked better, and I sold the CBR to a friend in 2004. I was in a collision with the VFR in 2006, and when I got the check from the insurance company, I didn’t get around to replacing the motorcycle for several years.
In 2018 I bought my first used motorcycle, a 2014 Ducati 899 Panigale. A Ducati had been on my wish list for many years, but the desmo valve operation, maintenance, and general cost, had kept me away. I’ve been extremely happy with this bike since I’ve owned it. It’s the most powerful and lightest bike I’ve owned and easily the fastest. Maintenance hasn’t been the issue I was worried about, beyond Seattle Ducati dealerships closing up and replacements not being close to home.
One of the things I’ve noticed is that I remember with wither of the Hondas. When I was driving leaned forward significantly, my elbows would rest against my knees. When I’m riding fully forward on the Ducati, this doesn’t happen. playing around with the cycle-ergo website showed me why. The reach forward to the handlebars is more in the Ducati than it was on the Hondas. The Ducati hip angle is 20° difference from either of the Hondas.