Monday, May 9, 2011

The New Computer

The boat has a new computer. Who would imagine that those six words, just one simple sentence, could bring such happiness? Just ask the Capt. This new Dell computer is an updated, more powerful version of the old machine, so all of the sensors and components should recognize each other and communicate with very few tweaks required. They did, for the most part. There's a long story about the wild, runaway mouse, but that's history now, just another boat story.

I have learned a new computer term, and No, it wasn't any salty language from the Capt as he conversed with the balky machine or several foreign tech support centers. I had never heard of a "dongle", and now we own one. It's a little thingamajig that fits into a USB port and is used by some software companies for authentication and security purposes. Read more about dongles here and here if you really care, and view a variety of the devices here. Who thought up that name? was it the same fellow who named widgets?

We continue to carry stacks of paper charts as backups in case of computer failure, but it's comforting to know that the upgraded navigation program, autopilot, GPS, depth sounder and radar interact as they should and provide reliable data. And now they do. 
Installing the new computer in the skinny cabinet opening
Note the beige monitor on the left side of the helmstation in the photo above. It was an ugly old relic, it's images dimming and losing contrast, growing harder to read in bright sunlight, (and did I mention ugly?)  Add a Part B to the computer project.
 Adding the new computer monitor

An older photo showing what's in the dash behind the monitor 
New monitor installed and waiting for its base coverplate 

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