Best new tech 2007, anything for boats?

Nanosolar PowersheetAt this point in the year I like to cruise around the various “Best of” tech lists, mostly for geeky fun, but also looking for innovations that may eventually trickle down to the boating world. Like’s Innovation of the year, which is this flexible, light, and supposedly inexpensive Powersheet solar panel at right. Nanosolar started producing panels just before Christmas, and I’m wondering if they would hold up on Big Gizmo’s big cabin top? Popular Science has more of interest, including sun block that’s built into hand and face soap. Then there’s PC World’s 25 Most Innovative Products of 2007, where you’ll see a few products already Panboed, like the XO learning laptop, the Amazon Kindle, and the HP TouchSmart IQ770. And Cnet’s Best & Worse tech of 2007, where the “Best smartphone” is the very same AT&T Tilt I saw boat cell guru Jeff Siegel fondling recently (more on the nifty software he showed me coming soon). Plus who wouldn’t want to check out’s top 10 gadgets for the filthy rich, along with its many other lists, including “101…strangest…gadget gift guides”.
   So what lists did I miss, or, more to the point, what new general technologies are going to make boating life easier and more fun? (But please save your “most innovative new marine electronics” choices for a discussion to come.)

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

6 Responses

  1. Dan (b393capt) says:

    How about the eeePC (Easy to learn, Easy to Work, Easy to play) … and Easy to power.
    This nifty little laptop PC has a 4 or 8GB solid state disk drive, uses just 11 watts of power at 9.5 volts, 7 inch screen, and although just released in October 2007 quickly made the America’s most wanted Christmas Gift (result from the American Amazon shopping website and CNET based on 14th of November unanimously places the ASUS Eee PC at the top spot on the wish list.). ASUS claims 350,000 were sold in 2007.
    A version due out in April will use just 7 watts and have an 8.9 inch screen.
    Priced from $400 to $500 including Linux operating system, and with these low power requirements, it’s easy to see them being quickly adopted in the marine industry. Hey, for $500 I would risk having one in my cockpit, where a $1200 laptop would be confined to the chart table.

  2. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Interesting! But what marine software runs under Linux? I do know about NavGator, which is a free charting program:
    There’s a free Windows version, too, but I haven’t tried it yet. Anyone?

  3. Gram Schweikert says:

    The eee works fine with XP, and there was even a guy who added a rather affordable touchscreen capability to his eee. I think the touchscreen (transparent screen cover) was less than 100 and he was able to fit it into the case between the bezel and the display.

  4. GPSNavX says:

    So far no decent nav software for Linux. Linux on the desktop just has not become mainstream enough to attract a quality nav app to the platform.
    The rumors are running strong that Apple will release a solid state micro laptop at MacWorld. Crossing fingers that it will materialize.
    We are planning to add iPhone support to MacENC very soon.

  5. Jeff says:

    I think the nanosolar cells aren’t just the best new boating tech of 2007, but the best tech of the decade, maybe even the century. It’s going to revolutionize the entire world, pretty soon we’ll all be flying around in spaceships.

  6. Dan (b393capt) says:

    Well … even if you cannot run your nav software, this is laptop might still be much appreciated for the web-browsing you can do, for keeping a machine readable copy of your boat manuals (which Kindle would have been able to do if it included pdf capability), and reading your email.
    Also … if you have some computer experience, you can make windows programs work on linux using software called Wine.
    Also, I imagine with Wine, the eeePC would make very compact N2K analyzer

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