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    Re: Celestial Calculator Comparisons
    From: Luis Soltero
    Date: 2000 Mar 09, 10:55 AM

    Thanks for all your positive comments.  David and I
    have put a lot of work into creating the best possible
    hand held product on the market.
    A note on the manual.  Unfortunately the manual lags
    the software by a bit.  One quick change to the software
    can yield piles of changes in the manual.  We have just
    released a new version of the manual available for download
    at www.starpath.com.   The manual is in PDF format and
    its free for download by anyone.
    We would like to make this product better.  Please feel
    free to e-mail comments to info@starpath.com.
    Also, please note that the calculator comparison chart
    has also been updated. Again comments and/or suggestions
    are welcome.
    ----- Original Message -----
    From  Richard B. Emerson 
    Sent: Thursday, March 09, 2000 10:17 AM
    Subject: Re: Celestial Calculator Comparisons
    > Harjit Singh writes:
    >  > Can anyone, give me some information on the PC Sightmaster, as compared
    >  > the other calculators?
    >  >
    > While I haven't used PC Sightmaster, I'll offer a couple of comments
    > about "other calculators", specifically the Celesticomp V and
    > StarPilot.  I own both although I just bought the StarPilot about two
    > weeks ago.
    > The main advantage over these calculators is they don't live on a PC
    > (although StarPilot, through its host TI-86 can make some use of a PC
    > for updates and printing output).  Celesticomp uses a programable
    > Sharp calculator with long-life lithium batteries (I haven't had to
    > change mine in over two years) while StarPilot uses a TI-86 which uses
    > AAA alkaline batteries (projected life is about a year) and a lithium
    > backup battery.
    > The basic sight reduction process is common to all three products; the
    > difference is the user interface and added features (e.g., sight
    > planning, set and drift calculations).  StarPilot is loaded with
    > options and uses a larger screen to display prompts.  Celesticomp fits
    > all prompts into one line and can, on occasion, be a little cryptic
    > (but a little practice smooths over this wrinkle).  It doesn't have as
    > many "chrome" features (for example, StarPilot can do lunars and uses
    > its screen to give a rough map of stars).  On balance, the added
    > "chrome" can actually impede usefulness (for example, if data is input
    > on one for air temperature and pressure and then forgotten in another
    > day's work, it could be a problem).
    > Documantation for both products is, I think, a triffle thin.  While
    > each product has examples demonstrating the calculators' functions, I
    > came away with the feeling that I wasn't quite ready to go to sea
    > based solely on what I'd learned from the manuals.  Now, in all
    > fairness, there is the very real issue, for the writers, of drawing
    > the line between "this is how to use this product" and "how to
    > navigate, coincidentally using this product".  One demonstration of
    > what I'm referring to is the short dip option.  StarPilot can use
    > Short Dip (where the horizon used for a sight is closer than the
    > visual horizon - this is useful when practicing sights on a small bay
    > or lake, for example) and this option is described to some extent
    > (page 19 or section 10.11, for those reading along [g]) but, aside
    > from knowing the option exists, I still don't know where the actual
    > distance to the horizon is entered.  Also, there are a few typos
    > (e.g., "Resale" for "Rescale") which seem to plague Starpath products
    > in general.  Nevertheless, I think StarPilot, bcause of its connection
    > with Starpath and their navigation training courses, gets a slight nod
    > for its manual.
    > On the question which is easier to learn, I think it's a draw.
    > Celesticomp's inputs are a little easier to get to and check (for
    > example, date, fix time, DR data can be inspected at the start of each
    > sight reduction or skipped over with one key stroke).  The prompts are
    > short and based learned by using the calculator in some practice runs.
    > StarPilot, once all the options are understood, can be set up a little
    > more easily because most prompts aren't as brief ("WT" for watch time
    > still bothers me but that's a personal quirk) as the Celesticomp's.
    > Remembering all of the options, however, is a slightly larger chore.
    > On the matter of price, the Celesticomp V (list price is about US$250)
    > is available from a limited number of sources but, with a little
    > effort, can be found at a discount.  StarPilot lists for the same
    > price but is sold both with the calculator and on a CD-ROM or via
    > Internet download (along with the documentation which is supplied in
    > PDF format and can be read without a license).  I bought a brand new
    > TI-86 on eBay for US$65 (discounted prices vary from about US$100 to
    > US$130).  The GraphLink adapter (one time purchase to connect the
    > TI-86 to a PC) sells for US$20 or, in a couple of cases, US$19.95.  I
    > ordered it and the software download license ($119) from StarPath.
    > When asked to recommend the Celesticomp or the StarPath to a friend, I
    > said that the Celesticomp is a little less complex and better for the
    > person who says "all I want is to just reduce sights and do my own
    > plotting".  StarPilot is for the person who wants the option to use
    > more of the lesser known navigation techniques (e.g., meridian
    > transits, latitude from the altitude of Polaris, or GMT from lunar
    > distances).  There is no clear-cut "A is better than B" in this
    > comparision; each product is very good and the decision will have to
    > be made on what fits individual needs.  It's easier to fit either (or
    > both! [g]) in my nav bag than it is to fit in my laptop.
    > DISCLAIMER: As stated above, I own the products mentioned but have no
    > other connection with either Celesticomp or Starpath, save as a
    > customer.
    > Rick
    > S/V One With The Wind, Baba 35

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