Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Murse, black is the new pink. Tools of the trade.

I carried my black net book bag into the bar to download some software I needed, and did not want to forget. I was met with snorts of derision from the women in my life. Dani, our artsy and crafty clever bartender grins said "nice clutch Bill", Kate says "it's his murse" (man purse). Ann snickers, Christine laughs, and Carla just looks aghast, and says "oh my, you need a messenger bag", and immediately starts to search on her Ipad for one. Sigh, it seems the installer is not the fashion plate he thought he was. It was just a black bag, to carry the small computer, and the associated things I use every day. How little I knew that the world of high fashion would take such umbrage.

I had been using a big clumsy HP laptop for my PC marine related chores. It had a battery life of about 5 milliseconds, always needed to be plugged in, and it was heavy. So recently I bought a little Asus netbook. It has a 12 hour battery life, a fast processor, and lots of memory. This was when my fashion sense apparently failed completely, when at the same time I bought the little black murse to carry it in.

This is an important part of my work. The computer contains a large downloaded library of technical, and operating manuals, in addition to software needed to deal with the variety of systems that now exist on boats today. KVH's Flash Wizard, Hyper-terminal, (yes I still need it on occasion), and many other software programs are needed in today's techie marine world.   

But the reason I bought the murse in the first place was to carry all of the other things that go along with the computer. These are required fashion accessories for any well coiffed marine installer. 

Number 1 is the Garmin reader for the old style chips used by 2000/3000 systems. Next to it (2) is a flash card reader, and the power cord (3) for the net book. I still on occasion need to log 0183 NMEA data and a serial cable (4) with bare ends is used. Some USB cables are ridiculously short, so a USB extension cable (5) helps. Old style Garmin chips, flash cards, and SD cards (6) are for saving nav data, and uploading software. For lots of computer work, a USB mouse (7) makes my life easier. The Ipod cable (8), although not really required for work is convenient. Garmin's NMEA 2000 updater (9) is used to update the software on stand alone devices, and a CD drive (10) is a necessity. A serial to USB converter (11) is one of the most used cables I have, you can't talk to a KVH satellite dome without it. Number 12 is a short general USB cable that also fits my camera.

Not pictured, but residing also in the murse is my camera, a car charger for the camera battery, a USB GPS for the Seaclear software,  USB flash drive, USB/Phone charger, and last, but not least an Ethernet cable tester. I'm going to add a N2K data logger downstream, you can't have enough gadgets in this line of work.

Kate remembered I have a canvas and leather briefcase somewhere, and digs it out of a long forgotten closet, and this is now the new murse. It was a good idea. It's larger, and the shoulder strap leaves my hands free when doing precarious vessel boardings. The installer should feel more manly now, aargh. But is green canvas and leather now going to become the new pink? 


  1. With all the advances in electronics miniaturization for laptops, phones and handheld devices, all these proprietary/special cables to connect them all together totally detracts.

    What good is having small fancy expensive compact devices if you need a bag full of cables/accessories/adapters to use them? Know what I mean?

    I really wish electronics standards makers would address this.

    Oh, and I prefer the old hippy term: "ditty bag". lol

  2. Your're right Robert, just look at N2K cables. It should be simple, but it's a boat. Bill


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.