The Essentials of Living Aboard a Boat * Living Aboard

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The Essentials of Living Aboard a Boat

The uber dream: to live aboard a boat. This book’s job is to wise you up about the reality of that fantasy. It will equip you with essential facts for this grand adventure, or else it will graciously eliminate the notion from your head forever. In either case it deserves a medal. This kind of clarity and sound advice is in short supply. Marina bookstores overflow with practical memoirs by salty authors, few of them with a view wider than their own hulls. This one is based on the experience of many liveaboard practicioners in many styles, and is the most useful way to answer the persistent question: “What is really involved living full time on a boat?” To clarify: The Essentials of Living Aboard is concerned with life on a boat that spends the bulk of its time docked, and only cruises occasionally. Your neighborhood will be other boats instead of open water. It is not too much of an exaggeration to say this lifestyle is less about living on a boat and more about living in a marina.

 

-- KK  

The Essentials of Living Aboard a Boat
Mark Nicholas
2005, 284 pages
$13

Available from Amazon

Start with the Essentials book and proceed to the magazine if you are not dissuaded.

Sample Excerpts:

from The Essentials of Living Aboard a Boat

Speaking of investments, in general, boats are not good ones. Not only do boats depreciate in value, but the difference in value between a boat that is 19 years old and 20 years old may be significant, because many financing companies will not lend money for a boat that is 20 or more years old. You may find that you own a boat you cannot one day sell, which makes your boat virtually worthless.

Even adding electronics and fancy gear to your boat won’t help much in maintaining value. Once installed, the electronics will immediately depreciate. This isn’t like a house (on real land) in which a $15,000 kitchen renovation might bring about $35,000 in increased market value. On a boat, a $2,000 radar system might bring an increased market value to the boat of $500-$1,000. That’s an immediate net loss of 50-75 percent. Then, after just a couple of years, the electronics, valuable if separated from the boat, will bring no market value increase at all to the boat.

*
A better deal will always come along, even if that deal does not exist today. When you think that a great deal is passing you by, don’t be nervous, because there is another one coming. … So be patient, my liveaboard brothers and sisters. Relax and enjoy the ride. Don’t panic. A better boat is right around the corner. If you remember that, and learn to believe it, this process will be less stressful and more fun; you will be a much better negotiator knowing that you can walk away and still have terrific options. And you will be more emotionally willing to take the time necessary to choose for yourself the best possible boat.

*
We already talked about how accessories are not worth their original prices once installed. Good accessories do not make for a good boat. A good boat is a good boat whether or not it has a good radar system. Unfortunately, a bad boat does not become anything other than a bad boat just because it has a $2,000 chartplotter.

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RankForest

RankForest has many more features, and friendlier interface. Unfortunately, you can track only one book for free. And you don’t get historical info; you have to register a book to track it. For more books, and more features you need to pay a monthly subscription, beginning at $3/month and up. Other goodies in the paid version include the option to add other online bookstore rankings, like Barnes and Noble, complex graphing options such as racing two books, alerts, and so on.

 

RankForest
Free to track one title
$3/month+ for more than one title



 

TitleZ

TitleZ is a new free site (for now), It’s been in beta for years. You can track many books for free, and get some handsome graphs of their ranking. The good thing is that TitleZ will instantly give you the back history of a book’s ranking back to 2004. The downside of TitleZ is that you can’t export the data, or do much else.

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A TitleZ track of my 1994 book, above. Below is a comparison chart of my two books in print.

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TitleZ
Free as long as it’s in beta



TitleZ * RankForest

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Amazon sales ranks have become a surrogate for measuring actual sales online. When Amazon says a book ranks 2,000 it means it is the 2,000 besting selling book that hour; it doesn’t tell you how many were sold. In fact often a few copies sold can move a book’s rank, depending on time of day, week, or the rest of the world of books. (Use this chart to make a rough correlation between rank and copies sold if you really need to know.) Nonetheless, because these ranks are public (unlike bookstore sales) and easy to grab, they have become a great way for anyone to monitor how a book is selling. In the past it might take 6 months before sales of books were reported. Now authors and publishers with new books will check hourly to see if their rankings have been improved by a radio interview, or book review.

But you don’t need to be the author or publisher to have an interest in how a book is selling. Trendspotters long ago discovered that books are good canaries of ideas, and that monitoring clusters of books gives you a zeitgeist reading, very similar to Google’s Hot Trends, which monitors search terms over time. Also keep in mind you can track other things on Amazon besides books: CDs, games, software. You just need Amazon’s ID for each item.

While you can just check the Amazon page to see what a product’s ranking is, what you really want is something that constantly tracks an item and compiles the data into graphs, charts, and spreadsheets. There are several websites that do this. I previously recommended JungleScan, the original Amazon tracker, for a free way to track Amazon rankings. The site was abandoned last year (although its owner says he will revive up “someday.”)

TitleZ

TitleZ is a new free site (for now), It’s been in beta for years. You can track many books for free, and get some handsome graphs of their ranking. The good thing is that TitleZ will instantly give you the back history of a book’s ranking back to 2004. The downside of TitleZ is that you can’t export the data, or do much else.

outofcontrol_above_sm.jpg

A TitleZ track of my 1994 book, above. Below is a comparison chart of my two books in print.

chart_below_sm.jpg
 

-- KK  

TitleZ
Free as long as it’s in beta

There are other trackers out there, some catering to publishers, but these two are the best for non-publisher types.



 

Modern Biology catalog

The winter 2002 issue of the venerable hacker’s zine 2600 had a decent article about bio-hacking. Here is the $80 kit they recommend for introducing a firefly gene into an E. coli bacteria. It’s made for classroom use, but will work fine at home.

Producing a Strain of E. coli that Glows in the Dark
$82
Available from Modern Biology, Inc.

 



 

Creative Biotechnology

Not yet at the level of a dummies’ guides, this book supplies explicit instructions for executing basic genetic procedures with a minimum equipment. The couple of hacks sketched out (cloning a tree, starting a culture of your own skin) are enough to get your enthusiasm going. I wish the material was better organized, and I wish there was more of it. The book is handy, but the PDF of the book is free and immediate.

Creative Biotechnology: A user’s manual
By Natalie Jermijenko & Eugene Thacker
20 pounds
Locus +17, 3rd Floor
Wards Building
31-39 High Bridge
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE1 1EW
UK

Creative Biotechnology, PDF

 



Bio Hacking Resources

I’ve been expecting tools for basement bio hacks any day now for about 20 years. They are getting real close, although most of what you can do with this stuff so far is elementary, trivial and not very useful. Still, here are a few do-it-yourself gene hacking resources finally emerging. The prime users are artists and students. Not a bad start really.

Creative Biotechnology

Not yet at the level of a dummies’ guides, this book supplies explicit instructions for executing basic genetic procedures with a minimum equipment. The couple of hacks sketched out (cloning a tree, starting a culture of your own skin) are enough to get your enthusiasm going. I wish the material was better organized, and I wish there was more of it. The book is handy, but the PDF of the book is free and immediate.

Creative Biotechnology: A user’s manual
By Natalie Jermijenko & Eugene Thacker
20 pounds
Locus +17, 3rd Floor
Wards Building
31-39 High Bridge
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE1 1EW
UK

Creative Biotechnology, PDF

 

-- KK