Saturday, May 31, 2014

We're Back With A New and Very Tiny Companion

Although we had a break in new posts for a few days this past week, it certainly isn't due to a shortage of things to write about.  With our big move only two months away, we have endless questions to answer and things to share. 

So why the delay in new posts? 

Our computer broke.  Our computer, which was a desktop PC built into Sea Gem's navigation station on a special shelf, was not only our blog-posting machine, but also our chart plotter for navigation.  Although we have multiple backups, it is better that it died now than while at sea. 

Since our old (and now dead) computer is an ordinary desktop PC and is fairly power hungry (with the monitor on, it would draw 7 amps at idle and would climb to 10 amps or higher when launching programs, etc.), we were actually thinking of replacing it with a new, more energy-efficient computer, but hadn't yet made up our minds as to whether the purchase was justified.  In the end, the old computer made the decision for us.

Out with the Old
Our new computer is an Asus VivoPC, which cost way, way less than we thought a new computer would and, so far, is exceeding expectations.  It is a fraction of the size of the old computer, freeing up computer-shelf space for other things (or as a nice foot rest).

In with the New (and Tiny)
It also uses a fraction of the electricity as the old computer (with the monitor on, 3 amps at idle, and no more than 5 amps during intensive tasks), and it makes no noise (the old computer had noisy fans).  And, most importantly, it is compatible with our chart-plotter software and our GPS and AIS connections, which took almost no time to configure.

Although the new computer fits neatly on the shelf than the old computer occupied, since it is not wedged in vertically (on account of it being about 18 inches shorter), we added a nylon-webbing strap to keep it securely in place. 

As an added bonus, the new computer connects to our stereo with Bluetooth, so we can play music, etc., through our regular stereo instead of separate, tinny computer speakers. 

Unplanned replacements are rarely enjoyable, particularly when they involve large expenditures and back-breaking labor only to restore the status quo, but our new computer is the exception to the rule: it was cheap, it was easy to install, and it a clear improvement on every level.

Now that we are up and running again, more posts to come soon. 

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