I like to think of myself as a computer technology guru. After all, I've been doing it since 1962. I could read floating point numbers in binary, and read ASCII text by looking at the holes in paper tape.
I bought my first personal computer, a Commodore Pet, in 1977. In 1979, I bought an Apple ][ Plus and I lugged it around for mobile computing on trips to Helsinki. (Those beat the IBM PC 1981 and the Apple Mac 1984) I created my personal web page in May 1994, within a month of when Mosaic (the first web browser) was released.
On the boat, I blog on land and at sea and I have more computers than I can count. I like to think that anyone who's better than I at onboard electronics just has a bigger budget. Not true.
I heard from my friend Jill. Jill is a Kiwi who is circumnavigating on her Westsail 32. Jill stunned me with her story. She is using an iPad as her primary navigation chartplotter while circumnavigating. Not only that, but her iPad is also her primary Internet access device. She has the iPad with GPS and 3G cell network service. Not only that, but rather than paying international roaming charges, she simply buys a new SIM card in each country she visits.
Jill said that she bought a SIM card in Brazil. Internet there costs only $2/day.
While at sea or otherwise out of range of 3G, the chartplotter app presumably has copies of the charts in local storage, so GPS is the only signal needed.
Not only that, but as she sails up the coast of Brazil, she ducks in close enough to shore almost every day to pick up a 3G signal. Doing that, she is able to do email, Facebook, and to follow the Americas Cup races. She says that sometimes they even watch a movie at sea via the 3G.
Wow. I'm stunned. That is much more bang per buck than I've ever achieved. Hats off to Jill.