Sunday, February 28, 2010

What would you pay to read?

The last post was about how "Keep turning left" is now charging 99c per download. But will that catch on?

Just after posting I got reading this article on the BBC web site about news sites paying for content. Two things didn't seem right. Firstly the idea that the NY Times is the world's greatest English language newspaper - sorry, it just isn't. We get the so called best of it with the Observer and it comes over as condescending, blinkered and biased, in particular about the Middle East (more details here).

The other was the concept of a "pay wall", which seems too rigid a concept. It comes from the time when news web sites had just two choices - to be free (i.e. advert funded) or to be subscription based (as per WSJ).

But now there are a range of options from micro-payments per page to pay per read to pay to own to first N free, pay for N+1.

And this flexibility means that payment could in future be a question for bloggers. I'd agree with the author of the Bursledon Blog that my decision from day one was I had no expectation of getting anything out of blogging apart from exercise at the discipline and craft of writing, so there was no need of distracting adverts.

However Dylan's move did make me wonder - along with Tillerman and O'Docker - what would people pay for?

My first cut answer was it had to be something unique and the result of effort or expertise that the general reader either didn't have the time or skills to do them selves. And alas most of what gets posted here would fail those criteria.

But there is a lot of talent out there, and sailing must be a classic niche marketing activity. Not to get to hot-airy, but user generated content for niche interests is a sure fire winner from the opening up publishing to the general public. The professionalism of Keep Turning Left is an excellent example of this.

And the forthcoming iPad brings out some new possibilities - publishing eBooks and articles direct to the public with no publisher or agent. And that is no doubt scaring many, many people in the industry out there.

So it is ironic that the probable most bankable part of this blog would be a fictional sozzled Australian quasi-hack. But is it fair to unleash "Buff Staysail and the swimsuit shoot" on the web - either to its readers or its writer?

I think for all concerned it might be better if this remains a free to read and hence unconstrained to write blog.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Keep Turning Left 49 for 99c

Keep Turning Left has gone pay per view. What was once a free jolly on YouTube is now a dedicated site with a PayPal button.

So what do I make of that? Well the initial reaction is the standard "it's on the internet so surely its free."

But as someone who earns his living selling software that is a slightly weak argument. In reality I think content that has value and took effort to create should be able to make a return. And that means doing what we are all reluctant to do, namely pay.

And there's no doubt that the Keep Turning Left series from Dylan Winters is of a very high standard (though a bit too many panning shots of Walton that don't feel comfortable). So I went over there and with a couple of clicks was able to see the latest instalment.

Quite a lot about seals there was too:

Dylan even gets up at what he calls "horrid o'clock" to do a bit of seal watching. Slightly worryingly he waxes eloquently about the beauties of the female seals - has he been out there too long one wonders?

But the seals are rather wonderful. In the murky mud they use their whiskers to sense minute changes in water flow that might indicate the presence of a tasty fish.

So will I pay up 99c next time? Probably - and as a general rule I don't think we should be scared of paying for user generated content.

Quite the opposite, as there are an awful lot of talented people out there with something to say. And we should be able to reward the good ones with the one feedback that shows really mean it.

Nothing says "good job" as much as a click on a PayPal button.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Washed up whale and a Local Hero

I'm currently watching for the n-th time Local Hero, a lovely gentle movie, where the real hero is the wonderful Scottish scenery. It ends up with the oil refinery project (boo! hiss!) being rejected in favour of a environmental research centre (hurrah!)

And if it had been real there would have been good week for such a centre, with two environmental stories this week from the BBC. First up was the huge 17 metre dead whale that ended up washed on a beach in Cornwall.

Another story was about the discovery of an enormous area in the Atlantic where plastic rubbish accumulates, the equivalent of the great but ghastly Pacific Garbage Patch.

Ah, if only the health of the planet could be guaranteed such a neat ending by gentle script writers.

Here's hoping....

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Book Review: Travelling Heroes

One of the reason I wanted to read this book is that it was recommended by Tom Holland, a writer who used to be a neighbour, and who's books on Rome (Rubicon) and the Greek / Persian wars (Persian Fires) are classics in both senses of the word.

It also looked an interesting topic, as Robin Lane Fox explored how the intrepid seafarers of 8th century Greece - and we're talking 8th Century BC here - sailed the Mediterranean. As they travelled they encountered new sights which they wove into their myths of gods, monsters and heros.

It is certainly convincingly argued, with 120 pages of notes and references, and it is an example of a neglected art, the ability to continue a coherent, compelling and complex argument through several hundred pages.

And it does, so that you can follow the threads of evidence, discovering new civilisations, lost empires, strange Gods and for me, a whole new set of Greeks, the Euboeans. I should have been familiar with them, having sailed in those waters last year and indeed stayed on night at the top end of Euboea where was amazed by a giant marble bull.

But it is quite dense, lacking the rattling yarn pace of Tom's books. Pages are to be read slowly, with relatively small font and complicated arguments.

One problem is that Robin Lane Fox seems to be writing for two audiences, not just the average lay reader but also the experts in the field. And so every point must be answered and backed up by reams of archaeological facts. I also wondered who phrases like " specialist who has kept up with the subject would now contest it" are aimed at - not me for sure!

In the end I was glad I had read it, as it enriched my understanding of that time, and its central thesis seemed sound. As the Euboeans sailed the Mediterranean their heads filled with stories of heros and gods they understood the sights they saw through them. So fossils of giant bones were taken as evidence of the giants who battled with Zeus and the rest of the Gods.

By the end you not just understood the Euboeans, sailing across strange seas, encountering other civilisations like the Phoenicians, you understood how they thought. You could join them as they crossed the seas in night passages and imagine yourself in their heads as they tried to understand what they saw though the prism of their myths.

And that is a remarkable achievement - to bring the age of Homer back to life. Though I suspect that those already versed in the minutiae of ancient Greek history - like, indeed, Tom - would have gained a lot more from it than me.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chrome says no comments

An off topic post today about Google, Chrome and blog comments.

I've recently been using Google's Chrome browser which like as its quick and has a clean interface that maximises the amount of screen space for web pages by removing the menu bar and putting the tabs at the very top of the screen.

However it's recently grown one serious flaw - you can't post comments on Blogger blogs with it. Or at least I can't get it to.

What is particularly odd is that Blogger is owned by Google, creater of Chrome. It reminds me of Microsoft, a company getting so big that the left hand does not know what the right hand is up to.

There's also the worry that Google wants to know all about you, literally everything. Those wanting to unplug from Google can follow this helpful guide.

That seems a bit much, but until they get Chrome working will have to be at least partly Firefox.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Another Turkey Problem

O'Docker has a Turkey problem.

He is not alone, I have a Turkey problem. Every time I go to the station heading for the office and work while standing in the rain waiting for a train I see a picture like the one above, with the enticing slogan "Visit Turkey".

It's not helped by a London weather forecast that leaves a lot to be desired:

It's about time for spring to come along....

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Greenwich and the last of the tall ships

Yesterday I went to visit a friend who lives in Greenwich, and we arranged to meet at the National Maritime Museum (ok, yup, that was my suggestion).

Its been a bit of time since was there last so had a quick look around before we'd decided we'd done enough and could go for a chat over tea. The special exhibition was of photos by the Melbourne born Alan Villiers of "The last of the tall ships", which was included 30 odd pictures from the 1920s and 1930s when the age of sail was finally ending.

If you follow the link you can see all the pictures (including the one above) and also a very evocative video of life on board during a storm where the deck is awash, leaving one rather soggy moggy! Maybe the day will come when sail will return, when using nothing and polluting nothing (as he says in one of the film clips) will once again be worth something.

We think of historical events being long, long ago, like the start of a good story. But after visiting the museum we climbed to the top of the hill where sits the Greenwich Observatory, home of zero degrees longitude, the prime meridian.

I was last there when smaller and younger, and though I can't remember the view it must have been very different. Where now there are shiny great buildings within which are based some of the great banks of the City of London there used to be the Port of London.

But that was before my time, and I suspect that during my visit it had been a derelict wasteland, and who knows what will be there a couple of decades from now.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

AC-33: Buff's Commentary

Howdy folks! Buff Staysail here, Buff by name and Buff by nature.

Well, what a blast of an America's Cup that was! Yours truly has only just got over the highs and lows of a week in Valencia. And let me tell you, my throat is just about done from commentating on those races.

Yup, it was up to me to keep the viewers of Queensland Community TV (figures show up 50% - thanks mum!) informed with a second by second account of the action.

How do you do that? You may well ask - I heard that one other feed you could clearly hear in the background someone say "keep talking!" but there was no such need for QCTV.

It's a sign of an experienced commentator that is prepared with a strategy to get you through the 4 hours of a typical race. The key to my success is to have a set of standard comments and then cycle them at random.

AC-33 was no exception, and I was all ready with:
  • Alinghi are rapidly catching up!
  • BMW Oracle are increasing their lead!
  • What a lethal winning machine is that awesome wing!
  • The wing is bigger than that of a Boeing 747!
  • These boats sail around three times faster than the wind!
  • I'm not sure if Alinghi has its windward hull out of the water!
  • Look at all that high tech carbon fibre - these are really spaceships!
  • Look at them go - over twenty knots!
  • Jimmy Spithill's ruck-sack is literally packed with electronics!
  • Jimmy Spithill's sun glasses use space age head up display technology!
  • Of course Russell Coutts hasn't lost an America's Cup yet!
  • When fully aloft the crew are thirty feet off the sea!
  • They said BMW Oracle would struggle in light winds - well they were wrong!
  • It was a long wait to see these boats race but it was worth it!
  • Valencia has been a fantastic host for these races!
  • Will the America's Cup being coming home?
  • Alinghi have yet to make their penalty turn!
  • It's a drag race for the mark!
  • Look at the way the wing segments are angled and adjusted second by second!
  • Look at the way Alinghi's traveller is moving back and forth, adjusting for gusts!
  • I think Alinghi's got a lift!
  • BMW Oracle are pointing higher and going faster!
  • ...
By saying these at random its possible to work on the important things - like admiring the delectable Sabine (only joking, big misunderstanding that, but banning yours truly from press conferences was a real over-reaction). If things slow put on a limey accent and pretend to be someone else!

But Buff, you ask, what happens when you say Alinghi are catching up when the VMG shows BMW Oracle extending their lead? No problem - just remember that half your audience aren't listening and the other half can't read the screen. In the unlikely event they are listening and can read and furthermore understand they will be feeling slightly smug, so everyone's a winner.

I heard one commentator recorded his selection on an iPhone and then put it on shuffle, which made me laugh. It reminded me of the Cup when old Bobbie (so sad, poor chap, unfortunate accident with his trusty pipe and a leaking gas tank) and I competed to see how many imaginary sailing terms we could make up and include in our descriptions of what then was those 12 metre boats.

Ah, happy days.....

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

AC-33: USA-17 and the Lamborghini

The 33rd America's Cup was clearly an extravagant way for two billionaires to sort out their differences. The boats they came up with are a million miles from what you and I sail, unless you are a Silicon Valley billionaire.

Take that wing thing - how exactly do you reef it? Lets say the weather picks up and it's getting a bit hairy what's the plan exactly? Go aloft with a screwdriver and lower a segment or two down to the deck only to find there isn't one?

But at the same time it was awesome, to see those giant multi-hulls absolutely scream along at speeds usually above 20 knots and sometimes 30 when the real wind speed was a fraction of that.

To me it felt a bit like a super car. A Lamborghini is absolutely useless as a family wagon, no good for the weekly shop, and redundant in the traffic jams of central London.

But as a symbol of what can be done, how form and function can be welded together into a beautiful whole, move with power and grace, effortlessly, it works.

And I felt that about BMW Oracle's USA-17. It appealed to the inner space cadet nerd, who thrilled at how each of the wing components could be independently adjusted, to Jimmy Spithill's back-pack powered head up display sun-glasses.

It brought out the inner eight year old who's into something that looks so cool.

But please BMW Oracle, do not use the phrase "Mission Accomplished" - it brings back a lot of bad memories.

Monday, February 15, 2010

AC-33: Race 2

I missed the start of yesterday's race (above), so pretty much the first thing I caught was the cross just prior to the first mark. Alinghi had to tack slightly above the line letting BMW Oracle whiz by:

BMW Oracle's line up to the top mark was simply brilliant: kudos to JK:

So around the mark they went....

Then it was a drag race to the 2nd mark, and BMW Oracle powered up and put their foot to the floor leaving Alinghi visibly dropping behind in their wake:

BMW Oracle was steaming away - here hitting 31.1 knots:

After the 2nd mark, Alinghi seemed to be yawing a lot more than BMW Oracle, hunting for the angle that just keeps the 2nd hull flying. BMW Oracle must have been doing their tweaking by simply the adjusting the wing segments:

Alinghi vented some water ballast again - maybe because the winds were lighter and so less righting weight was required (though it did look a bit like someone had gone to the heads and they didn't have any holding tanks):

BMW Oracle had to do one final gybe before squaring off directly towards the line:

And finally after hundreds of millions of dollars and years of lawsuits, it was victory as BMW Oracle crossed the line, winning the race and the America's Cup.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

AC-33: Oracle BMW wins the America's Cup

Congrats BMW Oracle for winning the America's Cup!

What can I post but the wonderful YouTube clip of this amazing boat.

Friday, February 12, 2010

AC-33: Butterworth's reaction

Adam quoted the moment when Butterworth glared at the person who dared ask about the design differences and replied with a question "Did you watch the race?"

But just before that he managed a rye smile and asked "What can I say?" (above).

What could he say? Their boat was slower on conditions that should have suited them.

After all those millions upon millions of dollars, endless battles in the courts, and years of work, yup, what can one say.

Except see you Sunday.

AC-33: How to make Ernesto smile

Simple: ask him if he wished his was bigger! Was that a hint that our old friend Buff is somewhere in the audience?

Apart from that rather a grim set of faces from Alinghi at the press conferences. Indeed Ernesto several times talked about there being just the one more race to go, rather than the potential two.

But as they agreed they don't have time to build a wing by Sunday, just do some tweaks.

"Lets see" said designer Rolf Vrolijk:

But the odds on the Betfair market say another story. Alinghi are now at 3.2 while BMW Oracle are a wafer thin 1.06.

As Queen Victoria was once told, "there is no second".

AC-33 Race 1

What a great race! I was at home "writing" but to be honest not much got done, as glued to the computer.

There was a bit of waiting for conditions to be right and then the pre-start gun went on the 33rd America's cup.

And immediately there was drama with a port vs starboard protest followed by the big BMW Oracle trimaran stalling on the wrong side of the start line.

Alinghi grabbed the moment and was first to cross, opening up a 600 m lead. But it didn't last, as BMW Oracle recovered and went storming in pursuit.

All too often it was the cat that had both hulls on the water while the tri was flying. BMW Oracle was sailing higher and faster and the Swiss's lead vanished. From about a third of the way up the way to the upwind mark the American boat took the lead and never seemed to be in any danger.

One clear difference was the ability of the solid sail or wing to change it shape. This pic shows the sharp angle between leading and trailing bits of the wing, here on the downwind leg:

For comparison, Alinghi's soft sail was pulled straight - for both upwind and downwind legs:

Alinghi tried altering the balance by loading or dumping water, but it didn't help:

But the finishing line was in sight for BMW Oracle, and James Spithill just had to keep calm and keep his hat on.

So BMW Oracle got there first, a well deserved win, and the wing certainly showing its strengths both upwind and downwind.

At the end Alinghi did it's 270 degree turn but seemed to do it on the wrong side of the line and hence had to go back and cross the line again.

That's one up for the USA, with the next race on Sunday.

AC-33: Wings 1, Sails 0

AC-33 Online

What a great start!

If you're having trouble with the video on the AC official site the stream on the BMW Oracle site is flowing very nicely.

I should be writing today but this is too distracting.....

Thursday, February 11, 2010

AC-33: Caption Competition - What are the odds?

So the two teams are ready, both aiming for the same prize. The spectators are lined up, ready to be amused and entertained.

Yes, it's the America's Cup Caption competition and its Tillerman vs. Messing about on sailboats.

And yes, I was about to post the same but not one but two other bloggers got there first.

What are the odds of that? I guess its great minds etc....

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

AC-33: What are the odds?

I am not a betting man as you only have to look at the profits from casinos and betting companies to see that the statistics are on their side.

But I am interesting in how to go about calculating odds and to make prediction a bit better than palm reading or crystal ball gazing.

So how to approach this America's Cup? It is particularly difficult as neither of the two boats have raced anyone, let alone each other, and each boat is unique.

If you look at the UK betting company William Hills site they give the odds to win (using the fractional format) as follows:

BMW Oracle: 1.80
Alinghi: 1.91

So in other words there's not much in it but a slight preference for BMW Oracle.

It's anyone's guess what the reality is but if forced to plump for some numbers I'd probably be close to these, given:
  • that wing contraption (which you can see how it's made up in the pic above) is generally credited to be more efficient and can point higher
  • the stresses on Alinghi are higher, which one can guess means closer to design limits, making a fatal breakage slightly more likely
  • the first race was cancelled due to lack of wind, which means that there is a minimum wind speed and hence less room for the theoretical advantage that Alinghi has in those cases.
Of course putting a tenner on the trimaran is nothing to the biggest punt of the competition which is what those two billionaires and their industrial teams are doing, for they do not know who will win either.

Update: William Hills has stopped quoting odds but over at Ladbrokes the fractions are tending even further towards BMW Oracle. Clearly someone has an idea what James Spithill has written on his hand!

Monday, February 08, 2010

AC-33: Buff tweets hat-gate

Alas due to technical problems (see report here) Buff was unable to send out his Twitter feed live. But here are the days' twits (as Buff for some reason calls them):

#bufftwit: Hello, JP, is this working?? God my head hurts, not the drink honest, mate, you know me, but had to do that interview with Tillerman about t
08/02/2010 07:35

#bufftwit: Howdy folks, Buff Staysail here, Buff by name and Buff by nature! Yes its finally AC-33 race day, and I'm just off to the tender to see the
08/02/2010 08:10

#bufftwit: What is wrong with this twitter thingy? It seems to keep cutting me short??
08/02/2010 08:15

#bufftwit: Anyhow now on way out with the flotilla of boats to see the action.
08/02/2010 08:33

#bufftwit: Did that get through ok? No answer. Ok, well the two boats are towering over us now as we wait for a signal from the committee boat
08/02/2010 08:38

#bufftwit: And an update on what the press corps here are already calling hat-gate or maybe cap-gate!!
08/02/2010 08:39

#bufftwit: That is of course the big story of the possibly illegal use of non-resident countries to manufacture the BMW Oracles hats!
08/02/2010 08:40

#bufftwit: Since I broke this story we've been approach by a source we gave the code name Obama Disney who tells us the secret behind the hats
08/02/2010 08:55

#bufftwit: It appears that the hats are aerodynamically designed to give a lift or down-force depending upon whether worn forward or backwards
08/02/2010 08:59

#bufftwit: So by choosing the angle its worn the crew can tweak the forces on the two outer hulls to improve the performance-
08/02/2010 09:06

#bufftwit: Hang on, there's been an update, yup, ok, well JP, I've been told there's not enough wind so racing been's postponed.
08/02/2010 09:15

#bufftwit: So we're just bobbing around here waiting for something to happen
08/02/2010 09:55

#bufftwit: Have you heard the one about......
08/02/2010 10:17

#bufftwit: God these RIBs roll.....
08/02/2010 10:29

#bufftwit: Bllallasdfajs;dfjasdojfas;dfuur
08/02/2010 10:45

#bufftwit: Sorry about that, very odd, must have had a touch of food poisoning.
08/02/2010 11:03

#bufftwit: Racings been cancelled!! Back to shore!!
08/02/2010 13:47

#bufftwit: Ok, time to do some more research. But which bar to try first.....
08/02/2010 15:23

Sunday, February 07, 2010

AC-33: Buff in Valencia!

Howdy folks, Buff Staysail here! Buff by name and Buff by nature!

Yup, you read that right, ol' Buff has got himself over to Valencia to report on the one, the only, yes, its America's Cup 33!

And what a show it will be, two monster multi-hulls both styled in gun metal carbon fibre, two beasts hunger for the prize, battle it out under the Spanish sun!!

Your's truly is right in the centre of things, having had a beer with the brother of the security guard at the BMW Oracle yard. Turns out they have a secret weapon, and at the press conference I was all prepared with the question of the moment.

"How do BMW Oracle sailors keep their hats on?"

I mean, have a look at the picture above. Here's the rocket ship powering away at 30 knots or something and the crewman's hat is still on his head.

From past experience those baseball hats are the first thing to go in a race, and it's a bit of a palaver to go round and pick the darn thing up (though JP will insist its good man overboard practice).

Alas the BMW Oracle team were keeping mum but there's clearly secrets in that camp that have yet to be told!!

Watch this space for a Buff special update!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Buff's Phonetic Alphabet

Howdy folks! Buff Staysail here, Buff by name and Buff by nature.

Well JP was wondering what it was that bugs ol' Buff, and let me tell you that's a long long list. But one thing spring to mind - having to memorise the phonetic alphabet.

I mean it's ok if you know Greek or read Shakespeare (and don't ask JP about that - he's been babbling about the BBC's Hamlet for weeks) - all that nonsense about delta romeos.

When the boats on fire or about to go down you don't want to have to battle to remember what N is. It's a bit like the ethos behind the history book "1066 and all that" which contains all the bits you remember - it should be the first thing that springs to mind.

And the most memorable N internationally is the trainer brand Nike, so why not use that?

From that simple principle here's my new revolutionary alphabet:


It's a piece of cake!

So this is Britney U2 Facebook Facebook saying over and out!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Some sailing things that bug me

Tillerman has a new blogger's writing project. Rats, had hoped we'd be able to post random thoughts about the AC to while away the cold dark evenings.

This one has got me scratching my head as its the worst sailing innovation hmm.....

Ok, here are some initial suggestions:

1. AC lawyers - naah, that's just too easy

2. Twin wheeled small cruisers (see above). There's this whole attitude that big racers have twin wheels, and they go fast, hence if you have a smallish (i.e. under 40 foot) production cruising boat and give it twin wheels and bingo! its a flash racer. Nah, doesn't work like that.

3. Anything involving the word "frostbite". No, nope, ain't going to happen, seriously there's a clue in the name there. Its just a ruse for masochists to get some race points over the sane.

What else? Well I know there's something that annoys ol' Buff, but maybe that's best left to another day.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Technology and the AC

To balance the last post with a bit of pro-technology rah-rah-rah, here's the video of BMW Oracle powering along, which I guess most of you will have seen already.

It is simply spectacular, and that's just one of them. It may be hard to believe but it is now under a week to go before some actual racing (heaven forbid) occurs in the America's Cup.

And if two billionaires want to fund two over the top multi-hulls to blast around a corner of the Med and let us watch for free over the internet, well I'm not going to say no.

Navigation and new technology

Couple of navigation and technology news items have caught my eye recently.

First up there's the story that Trinity House, the organisation responsible for the lighthouses here in the UK are thinking of switching off Beachy Head and up to 5 others (see chart above).

The argument is that nowadays there is GPS and so there is less need for a lighthouse. They have issued a request for comments on the Aids to Navigation Review, which can be found here, though alas responses were due last week.

In the PDF it goes into more detail, in particular that it makes a number of assumptions including the following:
  • Generally, the lights system can be considered a complementary but secondary system to GNSS
  • Generally, having one light in view is acceptable
I must admit to be unconvinced. Yes we do have GPS, and it is wonderful and so cheap that most boats have multiple receivers and yes there will be iPad like toys in the future (and imagine the Navionics app on that - fantastic!).

But often in leisure yachts these are kept below deck where they can be kept dry and so not as accessible. This is different from the situation in most commercial vessels these are more likely to be to hand as they steer from the comfort of a heated bridge.

And having just the one light doesn't give a fix, it just gives a direction. For good situation awareness it would be better to have at least two lights in view at all times, particularly in busy shipping lanes like the English Channel.

But it could be worse - on the drawing boards of the US military are robot killer boats, roaming the seas with no oversight what-so-ever, relying totally on radar. Well alas that has shown to be insufficient as was shown by the story when the Ouzo was lost after an encounter with Pride of Bilbao. Small boats reflect radar poorly and are often hidden by wave clutter.

I'm afraid I'm really not convinced that they'd keep a good lookout for small boats in their quest for who ever the Pentagon is labelling this week as the "bad-guys". And I'm not at all sure who you (or more realistically your insurance company) would sue if one ran you down.

Don't get me wrong, I like technology and am drooling for an iPad already.

But the ethics of use of robot war craft are woefully undeveloped and I for one do not want to share the seas with 'bot boats that rely on an inadequate radar system.