It seems that my gadget Xmas gift list is getting more and more popular each year. I know a lot of the items are geeky electronic stuff – but there really is more going on in consumer electronics than there is in marine electronics – why are the big players so dull? The marine electronics business really seems happy to be dragged into the 21stC by the innovation and design and reliability and pricing that we have come to expect from the motoring, and home electronics business
So here is my 2009 list of stuff, some practical, some bizarre and some bizarrely practical 🙂
|Gad Bullshit Button – Dismiss all poor excuses and pathetic navigation or sailing ideas quickly and effectively with the Gad Bullshit Button. Expose crew mates, or club mates, and friends for the daft ideas they come up with using 5 different alerts – (Beep) That was bullshit”,”(Siren) Bullshit detected, take precautions”,”Bullshit level defcon 5″,”Oh come on now, that ain’t even bullshit, that’s horseshit”,”Warning, warning, bullshit alert”|
|Cyanics BCX-300 – Using your phone – which always rings as you are coming into port – while protecting you’re phone from the elements requires Bluetooth. If you have an iPhone you will already know that Bluetooth compatibility hasn’t always been the best. This BCX300 makes it easy to connect to the iPhone. All mobiles are covered; Nokia, Samsung, HTC, Sony Ericcson, Motorola, LG, Palm, Blackberry, and Apple.With 20 hour talk time and 900 hour standby battery life, and auto-power the battery will last a good bit longer than many units costing twice the price. The picture shows the back with its handy clip to fix onto suitable edges – like the edge of the cockpit canopy..|
|There are many life jackets on sale and at all sorts of prices, but the StayAlive Life Jacket really caught my attention – it would be especially meaningful if you are sailing or power boating solo !! and it is United States Coast Guard Approved.The jacket is packed with all the following:
|Many of us are using our phones on board even for advanced apps like ActiveCaptain but at the very least to get internet connection for email or 3g services such as weather. The 5BARz Road Warrior is a cell signal booster for your car, home, office, hotel room or boat.It is portable and powerful enough to maintain your cell connection anywhere you can plug in. There’s no installation, but it does need power, either AC or 12 volt via your boat’s cigarette lighter socket.|
|Even if only you use your toothbrush it still gathers germs – especially if you have to leave it on the surface in a marina washroom – Yuk!.The CleanWave UV-C Portable Toothbrush Sanitizer is a safe and easy way to sanitize your toothbrush. Germs and bacteria thrive in the moist environment of a toothbrush, and live long after you’re finished brushing and rinsing your toothbrush. A powerful UV-C light safely eliminates germs from your toothbrush that are the common cause of colds, the flu and infections. It’s so easy: just place your toothbrush inside the sanitizer and snap it closed. The sanitizing cycle begins automatically. The 6-minute built-in-timer provides a complete sanitizing cycle.|
|It never fails to amaze me how many people don’t back up their laptop or PC – especially when they may contain the only copies of that once in a lifetime event or passage to faraway places!If you are one of these people then here is a product for even you:-)
Just insert the Picture Keeper drive into any USB port on your PC, click “Start Backup” and Picture Keeper automatically finds and saves all your pictures. That’s it! What’s more, subsequent backups are fast because Picture Keeper will only copy the newest images when you use it again to save your recently added or changed pictures. And because Picture Keeper’s software runs right from the USB drive, you’ll be able to easily save pictures on multiple PCs (WIndows AND Mac OS up to the drive’s capacity). – get the 8Gb one!
|Trying to fill an engine oil filler or canister while on deck or in the engine compartment can be tricky and frustrating – this Hands-free Funnel Holder seems to provide the answer.The Unifunnel Hands-free Funnel Holder is a simple tool designed to hold any standard-size funnel firmly in place making it easy to transfer fluids without slipping or spilling.|
|Rescue Tape is truly amazing stuff check out the video on the web site – it creates a permanent air-tight, water-tight seal in seconds – it can be used underwater, in the engine compartment – even on high pressure hoses!• Is Self-Fusing!
• 950 PSI Tensile Strength
• Insulates 8,000 Volts per layer
• Withstands 500° F degrees of heat
• Remains flexible to -85° F! (-60° C)
• Never gets gummy or sticky like electrical or duct tape
• Resists Fuels, Oils, Acids, Solvents, Salt Water, Road Salt, UV Rays
You must have this in your tool box…its compulsory 🙂
|The Kodak Zi6 (and Zi8) can capture HD quality video (720p at 60 fps with 16:9 aspect ratio) as well as record hours of video with the expandable SD/SDHC card slot that can hold up to 32 GB . This is a perfect camera for a boat – there is no lens cap, no dials to turn, or settings to set. Just turn it on and hit record to capture the action. You can use USB to connect to your laptop and you’re ready to upload to YouTube™. A close friend just used this on a 100km trek across the Sahara – and it worked impeccably – admittedly it was a bit drier in the Sahara than the English Channel !|
|Jawbone noise assassin – Developed over years of research for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Jawbone’s NoiseAssassin eliminates real world noise better than competing headset because it’s the only hands free device that accurately separates human speech from ambient noise. Unmatched in its ability to remove noise from loud environments like busy streets, cars, crowded cafes, and airports, NoiseAssassin is comprised of two features unique to Jawbone: a patented Voice Activity Sensor (VAS) and proprietary Digital Signal Processing (DSP) algorithms. Jawbone is the only Bluetooth headset with a VAS that feels the speech vibrations from your jaw. This enables Jawbone to capture the distinct frequencies of your voice. Proprietary DSP algorithms work in concert with two powerful microphones and the VAS to accurately model surrounding noise and aggressively eliminate it from the conversation…easily counters the noise of engines or wind when suing your mobile phone while on passage.|
|I have written about the Meccano Spykee before but I really love it because it is from Meccano and we all loved Meccano (if your over 50!) – and because it combines so much technology in one well made unit – from infra red to photography to web access and robotics.The WiFi spy robot is a buildable robot that moves, sees, hears and speaks. It can be controlled from anywhere in the world through the Internet; it has a video surveillance system that detects movements and sets off an alarm or sends a picture of what it has seen; stay in contact with your family and your friends by communicating thanks to the webcam and VoiP; with Spykee you can also take pictures and make videos – you can even keep watch over your boat when you are not there..|
|There are many home weather stations on the market – the leading ones are probably the Acctim Weather Master, La Crosse WS2300 and the Oregon Scientific WMR100. Of these several testers list the Orgegon Scientific WMR100 as the most accurate.
The Oregon is very comprehensive – but above all accurate unlike many DIY weather stations. The 24hr local weather forecast has been compared to the UK Met Office forecast and found to be surprisingly similar – I hesitate to say accurate :-)It can measure relative humidity, temperature, heat index, humidity, dew point, wind speed, gust, wind direction, wind chill, UV index, barometric pressure and daily/cumulative rainfall. It displays past 24-hours of barometric pressure, accumulated rainfall and UV in bar chart format for easy analysis on your PC. It also has a radio controlled clock with calendar, date, month and day of the week.
It even has a moon phase display, and it comes with a remote wireless wind sensor, rain sensor and temperature/humidity sensor.
|This Flashlight site has just about everything you would want in the area of torches – but I particularly like the Infinity Ultra M Task Light (Military grade)Exceptional 100-hr burn time, 25-hr peak brightness; Reliable 5mm LED delivers 100,000-hr operating life; Rugged crush-proof aluminum body with anodized finish; Water-proof to 30 feet and completely weather resistant.|
|Big Fish Safety Knife – Great design with safety in mind for this multi-purpose cutter another ‘must’ for your grab bag. The blade is housed in a patented 9mm channel which virtually eliminates the possibility of slash or stab injuries whilst allowing the toughest of ropes to be cut along the full length of the blade, prolonging blade life and reducing the effort required to cut the rope. The channel allows ropes up to 12mm to be cut with ease. The handle is robust and features a shackle key which can also be used for a lanyard. Blades are easily replaced by undoing the brass securing screws in the handle.|
|Phosphor Ink Watch – Not only does this watch look very futuristic and cool but it is water resistant to 5 ATM (50m) – The digital display utilizes the revolutionary E Ink electronic paper display this gives high contrast readability and big digits so you can see them through the rain and the fog! A standard numeric digital display in one mode, a graphic hour clock display in another, and ability to switch between white-on-black to black-on-white time display give this digital watch a style all its own – sorry no moon phases…|
|The Cinemin Swivel – There are a number of mini projectors on the market but this is my favourite – it connects to iPods, mobile phones, video …cams, laptops dozens of devices. Ever thought of projecting a movie or slide show on to your sail while at anchor in some Caribbean hideaway – it could even be a source of income – oops I didn’t say that !!Swivel’s 90° hinge makes it easy to leave on the deck and project on to any surface – without having to prop it up or use a tripod. In a dimly lit environment, Swivel can project a crisp 60-inch (1.5m) image from over 8 feet (2m) away, or floor-to-ceiling in a typical room – like the beach bar:-)
Using the AV-in jack, Swivel connects to a wide variety of personal media players – including iPod, iPhone, Flip Video, PSP, digital cameras, portable DVD players, netbooks, and smartphones with video-out functionality. For audio simply listen to the built-in speaker, or connect your portable speakers to the headphone jack for even bigger sound. The Cinemin Swivel has enough juice to enjoy a full movie as the rechargeable battery lasts over 2 hours.
|Ninja remote stealth – How many times have you tried to hold a conversation with someone in a café or bar, struggling to be heard as their attention is on the muted TV above your heads? Or how many times do you watch the same loop of adverts on the TV in the doctor’s surgery, constantly telling you to take more vitamins and get more exercise?!
This tiny device will switch off virtually any television. If you want some peace and quiet in a bar or when out for a meal and there’s a TV ruining it for you, simply point and zap to turn it to ‘standby mode’. Small enough to attach to your keys and keep in your pocket so it’s always ready to turn off televisions wherever you are. Of curse if you really want to watch another channel then you can select channels, control volume, mute, and even select audio video inputs!
|Light My Fire Firesteel is simply staggering. You have evenetually reached the beach and collected some suspect driftwood to light a fire or the BBQ and now discover that the box of matches you brought is empty or wet! …just reach for your Firesteel and you’ll never need – or want to use, frankly – a lighter or matches ever again. Working even in the wet or cold, a slow and easy ‘strike’ across this magic little steel produces a huge spark up to 3,000°C!.
|Tool Tethers – you know the problem – you are concentrating on doing the job, using the tool and not falling overboard and then the tool you are using slips overboard…use the tether – especially if you are up the mast!
|At last something worth plugging into that external screen port on your chart plotter – This Thermal Navigator camera is affordable – at last! But unlike many other night vision systems that require low amounts of light to generate an image, the Navigator needs no light at all. The Navigator is an extremely rugged system. Its vital core is well protected, IP66 rated, against humidity and water. The Navigator can be cleaned with a hose just like any other equipment. The Navigator operates between -25°C and +55°C. It is equipped with a 19 mm wide angle lens, and produces clear thermal imaging, at 320 x 240 pixels see the video on their web site.|
|Glowfast – So you already have your thermal imaging camera but what about stuff that has no heat signature – like your sail or other items of deck equipment that are vital – here are some useful tapes that you can use to make things glow in the dark – even tell tails!…
|I love it – how are you going ot use all those electronic gadgets an dthe touch sensitive screen on your brand new chart plotter while keeping your hands or at least most of your hand warm? – here it is the the 3 fingered glove….:-)|
|These Marine FX LED boat products are waterproof and are built for interior and exterior applications. They’re perfect for areas with small mounting surfaces, or those that need more light, like the engine compartment or the steps into the cabin. Each mountable pod includes six ultra bright LED’s suitable for interior or exterior applications.But for a bit of fun their ColorStorm watercraft lighting system lets you outline your boat with lights shining onto the water if you like. And with the wireless remote you can remix colors and program custom effects. The remote even stores your color selections. The audio interface lets you create special effects that pulse to the beat of your music. Less elaborate and very affordable are the ElectroPods.|
|Wireless on Water (WOW) is kind of a universal remote control system for your boat. They make a basic system that lets you control two DC accessories like bilge blower and stereo system from up to 1,000 feet away. The top of the line system lets you control both AC and DC systems. For example, if it’s a hot, muggy day, you can turn on the air conditioning in the cabin from the dockside while you unpack your car. And turn on the bilge blower to vent any fumes before you go aboard and start the engines. Or you can use the system in reverse. From your boat you can trigger the remote control to turn on dock lights and lower your boat lift.|