•≈ U-Tide
Thursday, 10 July 2008
Now here's a handy wee tool, courtesy of Jorn Eichler, now on my mobile for tidal examination. If your mobile has a decent performance at floating-point mathematics you could do worse than have this application running in your pocket. Saves walking all the way down the garden to see if it's in or out, or bad timing your arrival at an impasse or landing zone at sea because of low, high or adverse tides. Helps as as a tech reference point to traditional ocean reading skills, night or day, as well as aiding protracted or specialist landing areas, especially if you are familiar with the tidal flows & accurately forecasting eta's. µTide is basically a slimmed down version of XTide, which itself, is a slimmed down version of the excellent WXTide32 for Windows. All are useful tools. That said, toys like this should never substitute genuine & intuitive oceanic forward reading skills & experience. There are far to many idiots on the oceans with EPIRBS, that cant even roll. Is this because you can buy an EPIRB in a shop but you can't buy a storm roll in a shop? If that's the case, an EPIRB without a roll is simply a beacon pinned to a potential floating corpse. Easier to find I guess... Similar mentalities have crept into the apprenticeships of the traditions of climbing. People now believe that because they have an gold Amex card they have a right to overrule the experience of a mountain guide on Qomolangma & throw tantrums when they don't get their own way, that because they have all the right names on their equipment, they are suddenly bombproof & qualified to climb E9 or solo ice in Scottish winter. Every year the numpty influx becomes more prevalent, as the advertising industries market the great outdoors for blatant profit, yet fall hideously short of educating the great swathe of consumer participants it attracts to the edge of something they are often ill prepared for. Soon we'll be giving children loaded guns...Oh!...we are...bad example.
Educate yourselves beyond technological reliance. Enjoy the short-cuts on offer, but first know the long way round - in the dark.

Hey! I have 10 EPIRBS, 2 SatNav systems, a foredeck satellite dish, 3 electric pumps, a blow up bed, a headrest, an arm rest, a back rest, splits, quads, a trolley, solar panel power, 4 VHF/HAM installations, 4th generation NVD, heat vision, every colour of flare, an infra red strobe, a blue strobe, a white strobe, a bluetooth laptop, a dongle, 3 dingles, a personal flotation device, an inflatable person device, a helicopter tracking me overhead & a RIB following on... Man, I just love the natural peace & freedom of the wild...

I always think: Good, but you're still a f*cking idiot - try not to sink.

Anyway, I'm ranting...µTide implements a subset of XTide's function. It calculates high & low tide times for a given station & day with impressive accuracy.
There are several different data sets available which implement as separate jar-files, ergo they are available as separate applications. µTide has an excellent tide graph for any given day calculated. You can also forward +1 day to calculate ahead & so on, +2, +3...
It also supports reference stations & derived stations for which data is available in XTide format. µTide does all its calculations by default in meters. It can however show the results in feet as well. This can be set on the main screen.
If you need any help installing this on your phone, let me know. Took me about 40 seconds start to finish to load & set it onto my SonyEricsson K810i through the apps folder & usb. Running µTide will also be dependant on your phones processor speed & J2ME device handling. I played with it all night under the downy like a kid with a torch, & with the collie curled in, we studied tides from Thurso to Tromsø. I even phoned Lars at 2:30am & told him to get µTide. He called me a f*cker & went back to bed. :o)
It looks like this when enabled:

Twas a 4am start today, shearing, dipping then out to the fish stocks plagued by Portree gulls trained into the laziest means of food acquisition by endless tourists throwing endless supplies of chips off the harbour wall..Later I'll pilot over to Harris in the pot hauler, & we'll drag up through the Western lochs, Loch Roag running drops & crawl back through the small hours, the 350hp diesel Cummins lump thumping out beat steady rhythms of 12 or 14 knots to an undefined candela of red & green, & the collie will sleep curled on the gillnets, & we'll shadow down through Kilt & Rona again & drift into harbour, idle as the dawn is quiet...
Shoulda' been at T-in-the-Park aye...not in the Wheelhouse-in-the-Dark.
Next week I will back rolling the qajaq.

The discussion in the wheelhouse doorway was going something like: Brrr, put a brew on wi ya, & then hand me that basta shotgun & two rocksalt cartridges John...
posted by •≈ Sgian Dubh at 23:16:00 |

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