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    Re: Cap'n tips
    From: Rick Emerson
    Date: 1999 Feb 13, 18:54 EST

    Robert Cairns writes:
     > I am about ready to upgrade from Navmaster III to The Cap'n.  You can save
     > some work by pointing out those oddities and typos.
    Ordinarily I'd reply off-list but I want to be sure my comment about
    The Cap'n's quirks isn't misunderstood by the list at large.
    After a moderate amount of tinkering around with various features in
    the calm and dry safety of my office, The Cap'n has worked quite well
    despite a number of problems traced to an upgrade to Win98 (I'm
    backing out Win98 right now).
    Whatever typo I found was of so little consequence that other than
    recalling seeing it, I can't recall where.  It stood out mainly
    because it's the only typo I can recall seeing.
    One quirk I did see repeatedly is a loss of centering when using
    "intellegent zooming".  This feature which is very useful keeps
    selecting the most appropriate scale chart for the area being
    displayed.  If, for example, you're looking at a 1:40000 chart and
    want to zoom down to get a close look at a feature and a 1:20000 chart
    covers the area, this chart is brought up automatically.  Conversely,
    zooming out will invoke the next smaller scale chart (e.g., 1:80000).
    When zooming in, however, occasionally the center of the new, larger
    scale (smaller area) chart is no longer anywhere near the center used
    with the previous chart.  I was looking at the Portland, ME area and
    zoomed in to look at Peaks I but found myself looking at a spot well
    to the southwest of there.  I'm not sure *why* this happens and will
    accept it may well be an error on my part but it can be frustrating on
    occasion.
    Another minor but irksome point is the handling of multiple coastal
    pilots.  I have regions 2, 3, and 4 (covering the Maine/Canada border
    to Norfolk, VA) loaded.  When asking for the Coastal Pilot info for,
    say, the Cape Cod Canal, all I got was information about the first
    region I loaded (the Chesapeake).  It's a fairly task to select the
    right Coastal Pilot (Options>Preferences>Charts, I think) but a
    smarter process for selecting the right volume would be nice.
    I've worked out routes of varying distances, from short daysails to
    3-4 day trips along the coast.  Laying out the routes has been easy
    and so is adjusting the routes after they're laid out.
    I've worked a little with the celestial nav. features but I haven't
    done enough to comment meaningfully.  What I have seen, however, looks
    quite servicable.
    The Cap'n isn't perfect (nor does Nautical Technologies claim it is)
    but I expect to be finding new features and functionalities for some
    time to come.  And this highlights the program or packages's weakest
    point: the documentation.
    It's just not as thorough as I'd like.  Going back to the question of
    changing Coastal Pilots, the on-line help files don't seem address the
    issue directly.  The fix took a bit of poking around to find but, and
    this is perhaps the best demonstration of why the weak documentation
    isn't a major issue, it was fairly easy to locate and use.
    I've looked the Jeppesen package and, quite simply, it's not ready for
    prime time.  The potential is there and it has some attractive
    features but I didn't have to think long about turning it down.  I've
    also seen and used Navigate! on a PC (there's also a Mac version which
    seems very similar to the PC version) - save your money or spend it on
    more paper charts.  I've also seen and used the Nobeltech product (the
    name's chaged a couple of times) and it's a little faster than The
    Cap'n but it didn't seem as navigator-friendly.  The comparison
    between the two is The Cap'n is a navigation program written by
    navigators, while Nobeltec is a navigation program written by computer
    people.  I'm willing to sacrifice a small amount of performance if it
    means making the job easier.
    Would I buy The Cap'n again?  Yes.
    Rick
    S/V One With The Wind, Baba 35
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