John’s Tips, Tricks and Thoughts—July

I have been busy commissioning our new-to-us J/109, so lots of entries since we rolled out this new type of content last month.

This Month

I have written:

  • A lot on rigging, based on dressing and then stepping a brand-new mast.
  • Quite a few entries on tools I use and like.
  • A few entries linking to stuff I found interesting on the Internet.
  • A wide range of other stuff.

In all, some 80 new entries in the last five weeks.

Take a look, using the Old Twitter Feed button at the end of this post, but first, here are some thoughts on the experience to date:

Working Well

So far, I think this is worth continuing because:

  • A decent, although not amazing, number of readers are visiting the feed page.
  • I’m enjoying it.
  • It’s acting as my notebook of ideas for future articles.
  • I no longer have the nagging feeling that, since I had no quick way to share them, I was wasting so many of the lessons I learn on a pretty-much-daily basis—remember that doing dumb shit so you don’t have to is just one of the services we offer.
  • Creating the entries does not take me long, and fits into free times in my day that are too short to work effectively on articles, so this is not taking away from my real job: writing in-depth long-form articles.
  • Since they’re on a separate page, these entries don’t clutter up the site.
  • Being constrained to the 280-character Twitter limit makes me keep the entries short and focused.


On the other hand, while it has worked out well as a tool to prove the concept, using Twitter and then embedding the resulting stream here at AAC has drawbacks, of which the most notable are:

  • There’s no way for you members to comment directly on entries, so we miss a lot of potential wisdom-sharing.
  • The entries don’t show up in searches of AAC.
  • The entries only exist on Twitter, so if anything changes there, the whole works could be lost.
  • Though I am hash-tagging entries, presenting them by subject—for example, adding a chapter of all the rigging tips to the appropriate book—is, while possible, not elegant.
  • There’s no way to send out an email digest of entries to members.
  • As our testing has shown in the past, but counterintuitively, posting more to social media brings in very few new members.

Version 2.10 (Updated 2nd August)

Given those disadvantages, I have created a new system running on AAC software and server that I think will have most all the advantages of, but solve the problems with, the old Twitter based system.


After checking out the old and new AAC feeds (buttons at the bottom of the page), please share your thoughts:

  1. Comment on entries in the old feed at the bottom of the page—really inelegant, sorry.
  2. Comment directly on the entries in the new feed—biggest reason we changed.
  3. Please also give us your thoughts (at the bottom of this article) on the AAC based new-version and what added features you would like to see—this is definitely beta test.
  4. Some specific questions on notifications:
    • How would you like to be informed of new content? Email seems to work well, but I’m guessing that no one wants an email every time I get a bright idea (or a dim one), since that could be several times a day.
    • How often? Weekly or monthly? My thinking is that if we went with monthly and I’m productive, like last month, 80 entries on one email would be overwhelming, but 20 a week would be OK (just)?
    • Of course, as always, there will be an opt-out option. I’m thinking that existing members would have to opt-in but new members would be automatically subscribed with the option to easily opt-out. What do you think?
Like what you just read? Get lots more:

Learn About Membership

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Steven Schapera

I don’t use Twitter and frankly don’t see the merit in having content anywhere but your own website.

John Armitage

Plus one for me. No twitter.

Leslie Reed

I agree. No Twitter. Too twitchy.

Frank Heyward

I agree. Web based is best!

James Peto

I too do not use Twitter and much prefer the one stop shop of e mail

Ferdie Burger

Same for me

Chris M

I don’t use Twitter, your content here is easier to read…


Evan Cobb


Jane Anderson

I use Twitter but like the AAC format as well. Getting a digest once per week (or at least a notification once per week that there are X new entries, come check them out) would be ideal, at least for me.

Stephen Nosal

I never got around to restarting my twitter account. I really like the AAC version – easy to read, all in one place.

I’d be happy with a weekly email letting me know there is new content – I enjoy visiting the site and going down the many rabbit holes I find.

Robert Withers

No Twitter, please

James Blake

I feel adding Twitter is superfluous; website is the proper place for all content and comment. Keep up the great work. Your site is such a treasure of resource and knowledge-

John DeRuyter

I don’t use Twitter and look forward to the information shared via email

Mike McCollough

I do not have the luxury to peruse all of the interesting information on the web. I am on the shorter side of the remaining runway. Facebook, Twitter, …, blogs, websites, and biased search engines take significant time to use and keep “current”, whatever that means. I found value in AAC in its format, content, and rich commentary. I became a paid subscriber to access the value and support its existence. $.02

Alastair Currie

Succinctly said! That is my view too and the main gripe with Twitter, it takes effort to focus content. I hope my runway is long enough to land a space shuttle, but who knows what is round the corner.

Alastair Currie
  1. I joined Twitter to read your content and I did think it was great idea. I do follow you but I am at a loss as to when the feed is visible, Take for example your last Tweet about this subject, I looked in Twitter and there it was, now it is gone replaced by a lot of stuff I don’t want. I did a search and up popped AAC, so now I can see the Tweets. I guess for me, Twitter is not as intuitive as I assumed because I thought what I flowed would stay in my feed. I guess I am naive and Twitter actively targets me with stuff it thinks I want to see, but its all football and sport, which I never follow. It doesn’t bother me if you use Twitter or drop it, but I do like the quick posts and brief comments style. I get what others are saying about having it all in one place. Certainly if it is not attracting the following that makes it worth it, then you should drop it and focus on the AAC Tips and Guidelines. Summary, Twitter is not for me, but reading your feed is interesting and I can filter straight to AAC Tweets, but if it doesn’t attract a good mass, drop it as it just becomes an overhead that does not add value.
  2. The entries are good, I like the format, straight to the point, good, rubbish or interesting stuff.
  3. The item posted here, but only where it is relevant, linked to the eBooks and links in the eBooks to the AAC system, but that is not important to me as the main articles and the comments therein is the meat and veg of AAC.
  4. email digest once a monthly is fine. Personally I don’t read email regularly but I would like a monthly digest of just the titles, then I can select what I want. Also I like to graze about unless I have something specific. SO if just curious grazing is my default way of reading frequent content i.e. I will not read and email every week, but will dip in and out over month between emails.

Hop this helps. Regards, Alastair

Ken Ferrari

I’ve really enjoyed the Twitter stream. With that said, I don’t use Twitter at all unless I’m sent there via link. I definitely see your posts on Facebook that point me to Twitter (usually I’m on of the first to “like” the posts), and I always click. With that said, I’d click just the same if it sent me here or somewhere else. It’s the content I’m after – regardless of where it’s posted. Your stuff is still the best content I’ve paid for in the last 10 years!

Ken Ferrari

That’d be great if you’d still cross-post the tip/content links to Facebook. As much as I despise Facebook, I’ve too many personal connections there to abandon the platform, so i find myself using it more than i want to. And, we’re out cruising, so I don’t routinely browse this site unless I see a link. Some of us are high-maintenance, I suppose!

Michael Hiscock

I would assume you saw this line on Balmar’s website regarding firmware updates, but I am posting this for others (like me) who were slow in finding it.

I could not understand why I could not get my SG-200 to update the display while using an IOS device. Then I found this–“IOS – APPLE USERS: You MUST reboot your phone after updating the SG2-0300 Bluetooth Gateway. The phone stores cached information that is incompatible after the upgrade, and rebooting is the only way to clear this data.”

After updating the gateway, I could not update the display until I rebooted my phone.

Tim Gift

Not a twitter user either. The idea of you posting there sounded interesting, but then I promptly forgot about it. Probably best to keep everything on your site.

Gentry Bruce

I come here to read your Twitter. If you’re not seeing the return from that site then using it seems like extra work for nothing.

I opt out of all updated emails or notifications. I’m happy to check back and read what’s here. I’m sure I’m not the norm but notifications aren’t what I want.

Gentry Bruce

Forgot this but add a button with the “about/new/books/topics” to link to the rants and musings so I don’t have to keep that window open indefinitely.

Gentry Bruce

I’ve found that now. Looks like you’ve dropped the “ load more” option.

I usually start at the “New “ page and read anything I haven’t yet. I’d use a link from there to “tips, tricks and thoughts” if it was available.

Gentry Bruce

No rush John, Hope it’s a change with your time.

Please feel free to call me Gentry, all my friends do.

Gentry Bruce

Understood. I’m nearly exclusively a phone reader and need the layout to work. My girlfriend’s iPhone 6 actually can’t load anything other than the text on the site, but I’m guessing there’s no advantage in looking back.

Bruce Toal

I liked the twitter feed. Email notification is fine, but I would like a tweet notification as well.

Nojan Moshiri

Put me in the camp of no twitter. As much as I hate to say it, something in Facebook might be good. I’m out cruising full time and so many pieces of vital information for cruises is on Facebook that I have to check it daily. But, understandably that sucks too for many people. Groups.Io is the replacement for yahoo groups, you can make it private and people can choose to receive weekly digests or immediate emails if you have an idea. Another option could be RSS feeds. Are those still a thing? What else . . . A WhatsApp group or text group or something ? Im sure that many people may hate that.

Twitter was really built for this type of thing, but the place is so toxic I just can’t.

Whitney Dow

Yes to twitter, it serves as sort of an ACC index/notebook with editorial. It will also bring people to the site that would not otherwise find it. Don’t let the old grumps scare you off.

Whitney Dow

Got it, that would be a great idea bc twitter’s algorithms do not always create the most useful feed. (to put it mildly) A good example of twitter’s value was your post yesterday about the Victron charger. You recommend, and in two minutes of research I could see it was perfect for helping to sort out the battery setup on a friend’s new (to him) boat. It is a way to get access to all the bits and bobs of experience floating around in your head without you having to write an extensive article.

Mark Wilson

Most useful Tip so far, for me, was the Wise Card. Already saving me a fortune as I have a large insurance claim going through on a boat in Italy and have just sold a boat in France.

My UK bank was very resistant to the idea of issuing me a Euro bank account, let alone a bank card to go with it. I know I will sound like a cheesy advertisement for a hair loss treatment but setting up the Wise account couldn’t have be easier. And it allows you to transact in 10 different currencies. The rates are the best I have come across and the fees minimal.

Thanks John.