Newsletter #40

Newsletter #40 - November 17, 2010

Open WiFi Dangers...

>>> Open WiFi Dangers >>>

Needless to say, we love the Internet. We've all come to rely and depend on it for communications, purchases, and references while cruising. We've been using high gain WiFi on our boat since 2003. There are many benefits that WiFi provides. But there are also dangers and these dangers have become much worse in the past couple of weeks when using an open WiFi connection.

Open WiFi is when you connect to a marina's free WiFi without any password. Many of us have also connected to open routers at anchorages or in busy places. Many coffee shops and restaurants provide free and open WiFi. If you're connecting to these open sites, we have just one message: Don't use open WiFi.

There is a lot of confusion about this topic. There will be people who will tell you that this issue has always existed. That's true. But in late October 2010, a new free software tool was released that makes it trivial for any 14 year old to grab your passwords, cookies, and emails while you're connected to an open WiFi router.

There are some ways around this issue but they all require add-on products and some cost money. We're testing them on PC's and Mac's and will provide our advice in a clear and calm way in future newsletters.

Using a cellular connection via an aircard, MiFi, or tethering to your phone is safe. Use those methods to connect to the Internet. In addition, if a marina has free WiFi with a WPA or WPA2 passcode, that is safe. If you need no codes to access WiFi, you're at risk in a big way.

Here are some reference articles that provide more information:

ABC News, October 25, 2010:

Computerworld: October 26, 2010:

Open Public WiFi Dangers are REAL: November 1, 2010:

Note the dates of these - this is new. The potential issue has always
been there. The new tools just make it too easy to be exploited.

Don't use open WiFi.

>>> PYI - we had no idea >>>

PYI Inc. was the first company to provide a points award to our captains. We loved their Clamp-Jackets and thought most boaters would love to try them. They've been providing their points award for 18 months - month after month. We also knew of PYI's PSS shaft seals and have had them for 8 years on our shafts. We love having a totally dry bilge. Not a single drop of water, ever.

What we didn't know about PYI was some of the other products they make and especially a new style Max-Prop propeller called the Ecowind. It's a new propeller who's pitch changes automatically according to how much load it is trying to accommodate. In other words, the propeller's pitch will always set to the angle that obtains the maximum efficiency for the RPM that you are running, resulting in either much higher speeds at a given RPM or much better fuel efficiency at a given speed. It was unveiled just recently. What's nice about this propeller is that it's good for both powerboats and sail. Here's the reference:

We're considering replacing our props with these and keeping our existing props as spares. We love to discuss any issues and advantages and will report more about it in the future.

Cruising and extended family emergencies - it's all much more difficult on a boat. We received some incredible help from friends and the emergencies have subsided. We should be back on our boat this week and heading to Bald Head Island by next week. It's been fun playing with our niece and nephew for 10 days but we miss the sunsets from our cockpit. Dyna & Dylan have enjoyed chasing squirrels on land. Watch their adventures:

Karen and Jeffrey Siegel
Castine, Maine
The Interactive Cruising Guidebook

Newsletter Archive
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Because of this, all later newsletters are being only put onto the ActiveCaptain Help Center found here:
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Older newsletters will be duplicated here until these pages are removed.

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