SPOT again, the confusion


Alas, my fantasy life is not Clark Beek exhilarating. In fact you might deem it rather pathetic, like yesterday’s imaginary turn at the New York Times copy desk red-lining the bejezum out of a blurb about SPOT. The NYT’s Circuits section is usually sharp on gadgets I already know something about, but this particular piece is loaded with mistakes and misunderstandings (bigger edit image here). Ditto the commenters section on a recent Endgadget SPOT entry (which I tried to correct). And this PLB rescue story apparently confused that technology with Spot’s before it was corrected. In fact, SPOT is racking up some rescues (see Anchorage article), and there is good dope about it on the Web (like on Panbo, I think).

But there’s a larger problem here, I’m pretty sure. An already tech inundated boating citizenry is about to be deluged with all sorts of gadgets that combine GPS and communications for one purpose or another, or several at once. Let’s see, we’re going to have VHF radios that do DSC (maybe tracking too), cell phones that chart and track, little blackbox security thingies, and lots, lots more. How about GPS-Buddy, which turns your Garmins into fleet tracking, monitoring, and management tools (vehicles now, boats eventually?). This stuff is going to confuse everyone, including a lot of tech journalists. Mistakes will be made. En garde!

PS. Yo, New York Times tech edit department: call me!

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.

4 Responses

  1. John Foster says:

    The New York Times actually has a wonderful example of Steganography (hiding things in plain sight) for their corrections.
    Good luck in getting that corrected….
    The Times welcomes comments and suggestions, or complaints about errors that warrant correction. Messages on news coverage can be e-mailed to [email protected] or left toll-free at 1-888-NYT-NEWS (1-888-698-6397). Comments on editorials may be e-mailed to [email protected] or faxed to (212) 556-3622.
    Readers dissatisfied with a response or concerned about the paper’s journalistic integrity may reach the public editor at [email protected] or (212) 556-7652.

  2. Dan (b393capt) says:

    West Marine has SPOT all over their web-site, with the tag line SPOT “LIVE TO TELL ABOUT IT”

  3. Chris Ellingsen says:

    The NYT did it again on January 30th. There was an article about SPOT saying that it can transmit your position via the GPS satellites even when out of range of cellular towers.

  4. Steve says:

    Although it is in the edge of the grey area for SPOT coverage, my SPOT just made contact with the satellite from Cebu in the Philippines. It was early evening. Several previous attempts during daytime failed.

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