Black Dog – A Real Indian Scotch Whisky?

One frustrating aspect of living in India is the lack of decent booze. Rum is in abundance, but it can be quite sweet; wine is available with just three labels worth talking about, but their flavour does not justify the price; and as for the whisky… The only way I can describe Indian whisky is ‘caramalised fire-water’.

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Google Plus vs Facebook: What’s It To You?

Users of Facebook this week will have noticed some major changes to its interface, not without murmurs of annoyance (me included). As a knee-jerk reaction I decided to look into Google+, which is the fast-growing alternative to our fave social media website. The changes at Facebook, however, make a lot of sense, and having seen Google+ in action it is no wonder Facebook pulled its socks up and sorted itself out. The result? A more streamlined interface that allows better control over what we read and who we interact with. But which is the best? And should you switch?

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Canon’s Waterproof, 3D Digital Compact Camera – Bargain!

Yotties, divers and landlubbers alike are going to love Canon’s latest product release: a 3D compact digital camera, retailing at $250!

Launched last week at the Digital Camera, Imaging and Media Show (DCIM Show) Canon were demonstrating the Powershot 3d-A1sT, a powerful 15 mega-pixel compact, waterproof camera that is capable of shooting high definition 3D video clips. Played back on an HD TV and viewed through the normal 3D glasses this is going to change those precious family moments forever.

For yotties, however, the camera has a more pragmatic application: because it is waterproof it can act as a forward-pointing sonar. When synched with Google Earth running the ‘oceans’ layer (underwater bathymetric contours), the yachtsman can now draw true, real-time submarine information. No more excuses for grounding the boat. Get one here: http://tinyurl.com/3oojmbl

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A Bookworm’s Christmas Present – The Kindle

The problem with Liz is that she devours books. It’s a problem because a boat can only store so many paper-backs, which is compounded by the fact that many novels circulating within the book-swapping fraternity have a tendency to fall into the ‘holiday pulp-fiction’ category. Our Liz wants a bit more from her reading so a couple of months ago I bought her a Kindle. “That’s not one of those e-book readers, is it?”, she snorted when I suggested the idea to her. Up until this year my attitude towards these devices had been the same. Why would anyone want to move from the reassuring, tangible sensation of a page-turning paperback to an electronic screen? Well, I’ll give you ten reasons why this Kindle has Liz hooked. Thinking of buying an i-pad? Read this first…

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Polaroid Pogo Printer: £20 & No Ink Required?

A colour printer for £20 that fits into your pocket and doesn’t require any ink? No, I didn’t believe it either but I have stumbled upon a palm-sized printer made by Polaroid that puts the fun back into digital photography. This product has been around for a couple of years now but the price has dropped so much it seems silly not to buy one. In this quick summary I take a look at the pros and the cons of this fun Christmas gadget. To give the review more gravitas we’ve introduced a new rating system and there’s also a quick video clip too!

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Stellarium: Free Astronomy Software For Kids & Sailors

The kids are on half-term and the nights are drawing in. What free entertainment could be better than teaching them the stars? As a boat-owner with just a passing interest in astronomy I’ve reviewed a great piece of free software called Stellarium. It’s really easy to use and is perfect for both kids entertainment and playing around with in the cockpit at night.

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Water Maker: Purchase, Installation & Usage Considerations

A water maker is an expensive and difficult purchase with more than the cost to be considered. In this essay we discuss the decision-making process involved in a water maker purchase. Also we examine thoughts on installation and we provide an insight into how it is used on board. We conclude with some related issues and pros and cons. We hope that this helps anyone looking to purchase a watermaker for their boat and we encourage watermaker owners to add their own comments at the bottom of the page.

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Long Range Wi-Fi On A Boat: EnGenius 2610

The EnGenius 2610 is a magic box that provides a wired internet connection for the ship’s computer. The basic principle is that it is mounted at the top of the mast, or as high as possible, and it sees available wifi networks for your onboard computer to connect to… and if you’re not a yottie or interested in setting up a long-range wifi connection then you’ve probably fallen asleep already! The article for the yottie-geeks only…

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Raving About Our Rocna

In the next few articles we’ll be featuring some photographs, video clips, maps and personal experiences of our current home Fethiye, offering something for all our friends and family to enjoy. This article, however, is very definitely for the serious liveaboard: visit any online sailing forum and there is one subject that will rouse more furious debate than any other subject known to man, beast or Poseidon: anchors. The simple anchor is the one thing on our boat we need to trust more than anything else (except perhaps our vessel’s ability to keep water out) so it is little wonder grown men pull each others’ hair out when arguing which anchor is best.

We had a bit of cash to spend on an anchor last year and, after pulling some hair, we opted for a new generation Rocna. We promised its designer, Peter Smith, to return an unambiguous account of our experience with his design. He said explicitly “be honest”. You know us, Peter, a spade’s a spade…

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Google Earth & GPS For Cruisers & Boat Owners

Many of us are familiar with Google Earth. It’s good fun zooming in and out of the Grand Canyon, getting a bird’s eye view of your childhood house or playing with the built-in flight simulator. Surely there is more to it than this though? In this essay I’ve attempted to provide some pointers, resources and links for the yottie to consider when using Google Earth onboard. It’s probably of little interest to you non-boaty people out there, unless you like playing with Google Earth and all the possible extra data-layers it offers. [Please note this is the last article we’ll be sending out before changing web host company in preparation for our satellite phone blog updates. We’ll be offline in April before returning online with a faster, improved service.]

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Samsung NC10 Netbook

This is the first in our new series of reviews, entitled ‘Testing, testing…’. In this section we comment on gear we’ve either begged, borrowed or nicked, new or second hand. In fact it’s less of a ‘review’ and more of a ‘how and why we bought this product and here’s how we got on with of it’. By documenting our experiences we hope to impart some useful user experience. Some of the reviews will be ongoing and we encourage your comments.

Before you non-yotties switch off for fear of our first review being about that handy life-raft for on-board cats we thought we’d start with a cool bit of electronic gadgetry, the Samsung NC10 netbook. If you’re looking for a really portable but fully functional PC, you may be interested to learn about this shockingly cheap laptop. For the yotties amongst you this could just be the solution to your on-board computing requirements. Seriously.

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