Radio, radio, radio transmission

After spending a week listening for 8 hours a day to channel 16, I can’t help but wonder about the origin of the various strange terms. Why is French the language of the maritime trade for instance. Anyway, for all those classic things you here, what do they really mean?

  • Out. You should normally never say “over and out” 
  • Roger or Copy. Roger stand for the first letter in “Received”
  • Wilco. Stands for WILl COmply. You should never hear Roger Wilco as Wilco implies Roger.
  • Mayday, mayday, mayday. It derives from the French, venez m’aider which means “come help me”. It means the vessel is in grace or immediate danger like sinking. It originated in 1923 from Frederick Mockford who was asked to think of a word that would indiczte distress. He was in London and since most of the traffice was to Paris, he proposed M’aidez. The Morse code is SOS which the Gemerans first used in 1905. It is three shorts, three longs and three shorts and then it was easy to remember as SOS. So it never stood for Save our Souls but that is a backronym or mneumonic to help you remember it.
  • Mayday relay. A call you make on behalf of another vessel. If you hear a Mayday and there is no Coast Guard acknowlegement after a single repetiion and a two minute wait, you should send a Mayday Relay.
  • Seelonce Mayday. Comes from the Coast Guard or the vessel in distress and it means to all other communication on this channel while Mayday is in progress. It is actually French and is spelled Silence M’aidez.
  • Seelonce Feenee. This is French Silience Fini and means silence finished and you can use the channel
  • Pan, Pan. Vessell reqiures assistance but is not in desitress. It comes from the French word Panne which refears to a mechanical breakdown. BTW, no one doe it, but you actually ahve to say Pan six times to do it correctly. The morse code is X X X. The mneumonic is Possible Assistance Needed so you know the difference between this and Mayday
  • Securite, Securite, Securite. Urgent navigational or other information to pass along. Securite means safety in French

Iphone apps u have to have

Wow there r so many. Apple is truly creating an amaIng franchirse.

When u get yours here are the top 5 new apps I love and the top 5 I use over and over.

1. Cardstar. This let’s u put all your loyalty cards into your iPhone and it generate scanablr bar codes on your screen. Pain to setup but this is the future.

2. Flicktunes. Simplifies the interface so u can use in your car. Set a play list and then swipe right skips and left goes back. So no more looking to change songs.

3. Wikitunes. A much cooler interface than the native player app. This shows lyrics.

4.FMyLife. Man is this good entertainment. Read snippets about peoples well lives. Hilarious.

5. 6500 Facts. These r actually pretty interesting.

Then the ones in actually use alot

0. Skype. Works superbly. Just need to be in wifi range. If u have a jailbroken phone try gvmobile that does the same with google voice. And they have free calling to any number in the US now!!

1. Twitterfon. Free and reliable way to post to Twitter

2. Facebook. For when email is down.

3. Flixster. See the latest movie times and then buy the ticker.

4. Opentable. Reservations and it really works.

5. Shazam. I love music and this I’d software is amazing.

6. WordPress. I blog therefore I am.

Etymotic ER-4P

OK, I’ve tried a zillion headphones. From Shures to JVC to everything highly reviewed. I’m still back to the Etymotic ER-4P. Lost these on the plane and got them back. Main reason besides the amazing sound is that they really fit. The Shures are a semi-isolating. You get 10dB of silencing. The ER-4P really fit my big old ears and give you an amazing 35-42dB with foam tips. It is like wearing earplugs. Perfect for being on a plane or tuning out the world. BTW, the big difference between the ER-4S and the ER-4P is that the ER-P has lower impedence of 27 ohms so can be directly driven by an iPhone or iPod. The ER-4S is 100 ohms and is flatter but needs a headphone amp to really sound good. OTOH the ER-4S has been compared with $20,000 speakers.

There is a great technical discussion of both noise isolation and frequency response. The main point is that most sound recordings are equalized so they sound OK with typical speakers in a typical room. Basically speakers that are flat in a sound chamer, when they are put in a room show 4-10dB down at 10kHz. The high frequencies are rolled off which is what the ER-4S does. This sounds flat to a normal human. Interesting huh?

Amazon by the way carries these things for about $180.

Great quotes and mood for the day

Thanks to twitter of all places, here are some great quotes and other things that suite my mood right now on this glorious early summer morning 🙂

Anais Nin (1903-1977)

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”

Anais Nin quotes

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”

William Shakespeare quotes

“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have
been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to

And some music too…Easy Silence by the Chicks…haven’t listened in a long time to this one, but it really speaks to me…

And as an aside, you have to check out David Sides (twitter), if you like classical piano and love the melodies of hip hop, he really does a great job of combining both. He’s not signed, but he’s seriously good. Thank goodness for the Internet. He’s 24, from Riverside and self-taught. Apologize got 4M views on YouTube! Makes me want to take up the piano again. Nothing quite like a real Yamaha Grand. I can remember hearing a C3 for the first time after years of banging away at an upright. Magical. The Youtube covers are phenomenal like Halo another real favorite right now…

And here is David’s cover…

And then to all of life’s possibilities and because no one can be serious all the time. If you are on a slow boat motoring for eight hours on autopilot, there’s nothing quite like Calle Ocho to dance to on deck 🙂

iPhoto slideshow hang

Strange problem with iPhone 8.0, when I press on the slideshow button for an event, nothing happens, then when I click again, the screen goes blank like it is trying to do a slideshow and then returns to the main iPhoto screen. Nothing on the web on how to fix, but feels like either the plist (preference list) or the iPhoto library is corrupt. Easy to do with 2,000 photos!

Some fixes are noted on including deleting manual the preference list, it is in /yourusername/Library/Preferences/ and also holding the Option key down when starting iPhoto and then select Choose Library to help it find your library of iPhoto or try to backup and rebuild. Hold down the Apple and the option key both down to rebuild.

VEX robotic kit

If you want the ultimate in geekdom, get the Vex Robotis kits. They are expensive, but a good deal if you know you love making robots. The part numbers that are the best deals are:

VEX-CLASS-1. This is the complete kit that gives you remote control and also a microcontroller so you can program the beast. If you just want the basics, then the

Autonomous Control Starter Bundle (276-2320-EASYC) is the same but without the other parts. And is $380 cheaper.

Plus if you went to the idTech robotics camp, then you can save an additional 10% by calling them directly and telling them the city and your camp name. Nice deal! But you do have to call 1-903-453-0800

Nanaimo and Desolation Sound rocks

What a great place to come. Herr are some notes but it is a terrific hour from Seattle

  1. Kenmore Air. They fly nonstop from their Kenmore site. Don’t go to Lake Union! But it is just 1:15 to Nanaimo at the center of Vancouver Island. The 9AM departure is very convenient as is the 2:15 return.
  2. Nanaimo yacht charter are really friendly. Ian and and Lorraine are terrific as is the rest of the staff. Plus you save lots of time getting up to Desolation sound If u really want to be efficient get there the night before because charters start at 9am. Make sure to check everything. Their Hunter 410 is a good size for a couple or three people and is easy to handle.
  3. The most dangerous part of the whole area is Nanaimo harbor itself. Very shallow at 3-5 meters and there are two rocks right in the middle. Beware particularly of Oregon rock. It is only marked by a very ordinary looking green channel marker. This is one place where sticking close to the market is a terrible idea. And the locals run their powerboats at full speed right over the rock, but it is very shallow less than six feet at high tide, so you can wipe out a sailboat. Voice of experience here! There are plenty of rocks, so make sure your depth alarm is on.
  4. Sailing across Georgia strait is pretty easy but check to make sure the whiskey gulf area is clear. Then it’s a straight shot at about 350T to pender harbor. And the reverse is true as well at 167T. Works well in either the usual southeast or northwest winds.
  5. Fuel is hard to come by so this is a 30nm sail. U want to refuel at John Henry before putting in. On the other hand a typical sailboat only burns 4 liters per hour, so you don’t necessarilky need to do it.
  6. Desolation Sound is a pretty easy 7 hour jaunt if you are in a sailboat motoring at 6 knots. Or if you are lucky or have the time, you can tack into the typical northwest wind.
  7. Strait of Georgia – North of Nanaimo is the weather page to track. Typical weather is winds 5-15 from the northwest. Although it can get heavy so you can see 10-20 knots from the southeast which is much heavier.
  8. Whiskey Golf. This is a naval exercise area in front Nanaimo that you have to check. Either listen to Weather 3 or call Winchelsea Island Control at 1-888-221-1011 and you can talk with a real human (amazing!) who will tell you if WG is open or not.
  9. The currents here are less of a factor than in the San Juans, but in a 6-7 knot sailboat, a 1 knot tide really makes a difference.