Ben Stein

Is Visible’s $40 cell plan better than Verizon’s defunct $65 unlimited hotspot deal?

27 Jun


Visible, a relatively new Verizon subsidiary, has been offering a $40 per month (taxes included) unlimited plan for about a year.  While the plan’s pricing is great, its usefulness has been potentially limited by a 5mbps speed cap. Today Visible announced that they’re removing this speed cap while keeping the rest of the plan the same.  Is this as good as it sounds?

A snippet from Visible’s FAQ section about slowing data speeds

Visible’s $40 per month plan is different from the $65 prepaid unlimited plan Verizon offered until mid-May.  First, it’s a phone plan, not a mobile hotspot ...

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Geek Alert: ngrok remote tunnels make connecting to devices on the boat easy

12 Jun


Prior to being a boating geek, I made my living running mission-critical computing operations for financial services firms. Which is to say I was a professional geek; I have a deep background in networking and still enjoy when I can use networking tools to make things easier. I have a lot of data on the NMEA 2000 network on Have Another Day but no way to access it all remotely. I’m getting ready to leave the boat for a few weeks so I really want to access all that data off the boat. After some digging for a way ...

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Eye popping electric bills, monitoring and reducing electrical consumption

8 Jun

A Blue Sea M2 1838 Meter installed on the side of the control box for Have Another Days Salon AC

Have Another Day is currently in Fort Myers on the Caloosahatchee River.  It’s quite warm here with daily highs in the low to mid 90s.  As a result, the water in the marina is also quite warm at nearly 90 degrees.  Last month Have Another Day sucked down over $300 in electricity, that’s more than she uses in an entire season in Chicago.  During the day, with the thermostat set to 76 degrees the salon air conditioner runs nearly continuously ...

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Fusion Apollo and Signature Series, a boatload of audio goodness

3 Jun

The cockpit Fusion MS-RA770 head unit running in PartyBus mode (as indicated by the green border) from FlyBridge stereo

A day on the water is better with good tunes, and the rise of streaming has changed how we get music on board a lot.  For the last decade, Fusion has lead the way with stereos that use the latest technology to deliver audio on boats.  I’ve just finished a complete install of the company’s current gear aboard Have Another Day and as you will read, Fusion continues to leverage the latest tech and deliver great sound.

Fusion has been busy ...

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Dinghy as depth scout with Garmin QuickDraw Contours

22 May

The Garmin Echomap 64cv MFD at the helm of my dinghy

My boating career started in the generally deep waters of the Great Lakes where the prevailing wisdom is: If you can’t see it, you can’t hit it.  But cruising the Great Loop taught me the perils of shallow water boating, especially because our props hang lower than any other part of the hull by two feet.  So I’ve gotten creative in an effort to make shallow water boating involve fewer clunks of running gear meeting bottom, and the most effective technique I’ve found so far is advanced scouting with ...

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Wave WiFi MBR, a Swiss Army knife of a boat router

20 May


The Wave WiFi MBR-550 with one of the optional LTE antennas

Internet afloat isn’t always as simple as we would like, but Wave WiFi is working hard to make it simpler with their MBR-500 and MBR-550 multi-source routers.  These devices can select between as many as six different sources of internet connectivity and they can do it all automatically.

Panbo’s coverage of Wave WiFi began back in 2010 when Ben E’s review of the Rogue Wave WiFi bridge noted the user-friendly interface software that Wave had flashed onto commodity hardware which was also kitted out for Marine use.  More ...

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Clogged air conditioning condenser coils make for a hot boat

17 May


A hot room and air conditioning fans on high blowing warm air isn’t a good way to start your day.  About two weeks ago I woke to just that.  I knew something had to be wrong with the air conditioning but figuring out what involved a few wrong turns before finding what turned out to be a pretty obvious problem.

I’m a prima-donna when it comes to air conditioning.  Though I love the water and love living on a boat I don’t love the feeling of a warm damp boat.  So, little ruins my mood faster than a failure ...

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Blue Guard Innovations BG-Link installed and testing begins

6 May


Blue Guard Innovations calls their BG-Link an internet of things (IoT) gateway and further describes it as a unique boat monitoring system.  After my impressive test of their BG-One oil detecting bilge pump switch, I am intrigued to see what makes the BG-Link unique.  With one installed on Have Another Day  I’m getting more clarity about what their IoT first approach is all about.  The BG-Link shows a lot of promise and does some things extremely well but also has some areas in need of further development.

Announced in March, the Blueguard BG-Link is available as a $700 ...

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Fusion’s new RA670, completing the Apollo line

26 Apr


Today Fusion announced the MS-RA670, the third head unit in their Apollo line of marine stereos. I’ve been testing one for a few weeks and it looks like the 670 slots in between the top-of-the-line Apollo MS-RA770 and the much smaller MS-SRX400.  Here’s the lowdown on what the 670 offers and how it fits within the line.

As I mentioned, the $450, three-zone RA670 is the third stereo in Fusion’s Apollo line joining the $350, single-zone SRX400 and the $650, four-zone, touchscreen controlled RA770.  Like the SRX400, the RA670 has a button-driven interface with a 2.7″ full-color display.  ...

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Fusion ARX Remote: simple, effective and convenient

17 Apr


Sometimes you just want to turn down the volume or skip to the next track, and the Fusion ARX remote is the right tool for that job. The remote’s simplicity, size, and flexible placement allow it to be mounted in the perfect spot to control your stereo, or in several such spots.  I now have four of them installed on Have Another Day and this entry will detail why they’re making me happy.

The remote is available in white or black and comes with the mounting ring seen on the right

The $50 Fusion MS-ARX70 (Introduced in October ...

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