Sunday, February 26, 2012

The boat show underbelly

Who doesn't like going to a boat show, especially now that this almost extinct event is now making a big come back. I love the nostalgic odor of plastics and styrene out gassing in a large confined hall, the $12.00 boiled hot dog and beer, the hundreds of desperate salesmen clutching their binders searching for the elusive Mr. Big who may actually buy a boat, and the carnival feel. I always carry one of those small checkbooks sticking out of my shirt pocket to activate salesman's drool and sweat glands.  But to be honest, I rarely look at the boats. I know that after a boat is delivered to it's owner, and actually dropped into the water, it will be just a matter of days before I'm called to fix it. I can then examine it up close and personally with lots of tools while muttering pejorative verbiage under my breath.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Killer drain

"It seemed to be such a nice drain", commented one neighbor. "The drain  kept to himself, it's always the quiet ones that seem to do these sort of things." warned another as the swat team surrounded the boat. "A plastic drain would have been a better neighbor," blurted the women across the street" "they drive down the property values, but at least you can tell if they are up to something."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Installing the Garmin GSD 26

It's large, heavy, and packed with high resolution analog to digital converters, and a dual core digital signal processor (DSP) system. Although installation is fairly straight forward, there are some nuances you need to deal with when wiring the broadband transducer into the box, as I have learned.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I'm Chuffed!!!

Chuffed is an understatement. The Marine Installers Rant took third place in the original online content category in Boating Writers International annual writing contest. It was an honor to be included in the same august company in which Ben Ellison of Panbo fame won first place, and Stuart Streuli of was second.  

If this was an Oscar award, my speech would have gone something like this.... 

I want to thank my wife Kate for her endless patience with this writing activity. I know for a fact that this is always the right thing to say, and start with. Ben Ellison for his advice and shout outs, and my friend Dick Reston for his ever "on the money" sage writing advice. "Bill", said Dick with a stammer. He was nervous; his voice quavered. "Remember the rules about the need for vivid declarative verbs: the fewer the adjective and adverbs the better." Many thanks to all who read, and judged.

The original online content category is the only one you have to write a 300 word essay for. In a Bill sort of way, here is my essay. I'm also pleased to be sporting the very fashionable, and coveted Panbo "So many gizmos, so little time!" logo chapeau gifted to me by Ben. "And Dick, it's widow free", said Bill enthusiastically.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Testing the Pearce Simpson Gladding Islander RDF

The top secret Parmain laboratories don't often do product reviews, but when the opportunity presented itself to evaluate the Pearce Simpson Gladding Islander position calculating  system, we just couldn't resist. We have to hand it to their clever designers, and marketing staff for creating this unique combination of a navigation system coupled with a shipboard audio entertainment system, all in one elegant compact package.

Our technician's (Peter Scharff shown above) ran this versatile system through its paces in both our laboratory, and aboard one of our test vessels in real world conditions. We evaluated it's position calculating capabilities, ease of use, and durability.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Friday in Hades

I'm wet, choking, and can't breathe. Coughing, I jolt up to a sitting position, and a coin falls out of my mouth. I suck in fetid air and look around. I have been laying in a foul marsh next to a river. Bones stick out of the mud, and the river's surface is writhing with the dead. I struggle to my feet, and I can just barely stand. My tool bag feels like it weighs a thousand pounds, and I discover the strap has grown into my shoulder. Looking up I see Charon poling his boat towards me, and then I remembered. It was that damned speaker.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Arts and crafts. Making a console overlay template

Attention class, everyone get into your seats, and get your supplies ready. We need our template paper, scissors, a straight edge, tape, and our scriber. And Johnny, quit sniffing that styrene, and stop running around with those sharp scissors, you're going to hurt someone. The materials are simple, and the only thing in question is what to use to do the scribing, and we will get to that in a moment.