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Once upon a time, altruistic programmers would make their software available as freeware. This still happens, today, but other programmers decided that they should get some reward for their efforts. Fair enough, they made their software available, asking people to pay for it if they liked it. This was called shareware.

Unfortunately, only a small percentage of users actually pay for shareware. That has led some people to look for other ways to ensure a revenue stream. Selling advertising in the software has provided one means. Call this adware.

Advertisers like to categorize people and target their ads to certain categories. Many people don't like to be categorized, and won't willingly provide information on their personal income, hobbies and the like. This has led some advertisers to collect such information surreptitiously. Some adware also collects information on what else you're doing on your computer and forwards this information back to a central server. In the old days, this would be known as a trojan horse - a program that purports to do one thing, but does another. This particular variety of trojan horse has become known as spyware.


Offshore Sailing book cover Offshore Sailing by Bill Seifert with Daniel Spurr

We went to a Windjammers lecture to hear Bill Seifert and I was impressed enough to buy the book on the spot. I've heard a lot of people talk about ways to improve a boat, but I've never heard one person suggest so many good ideas that I hadn't considered. Part of the charm is the specificity of the suggestions. Everyone says you should secure your floorboards, hatchboards and batteries. Bill shows good suggestions on how to do so.

The suggestions are very practical for the do-it-yourselfer, too. Many show how to make or adapt inexpensive solutions. Tip #12 on closing the deck blower vents is one that will pay off for me without ever going offshore. I'll implement that one to stop the wintertime storms from finding their way belowdecks.

Besides modifications, the book also includes advice for operating offshore, cooking, boat selection, dealing with bureaucracy, and more.

Bill Seifert has worked at Tartan, TPI, and Alden Yachts. He's a veteran of many Marion-Bermuda races and now runs his own yacht management company. His tips are born of experience--not of book-learning--and it shows. He obviously knows his stuff.

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