Dave, I know you like the guy- I find Mr. Siegel unnecessarily offensive and argumentative, and find the e-boat card system unnecessarily intrusive.
I do like Jeff. I like Karen also, and she is more pleasant to look at. *grin* The dogs aren't bad either.
That doesn't mean I always agree with him. Without digressing too badly, I disagree with Jeff's perspective on paper charts. Out of date charts are out of date whether paper or electronic.
As far as the value of crowdsourcing goes, the input from one crowd has less value than the input from many
A crowd IS many. A crowd is a crowd. As long as the population is representative and statistically significant checking a different crowd has little value other than as a thesis topic. ActiveCaptain has done a great job of getting lots of people to contribute lots of information. Not all of it is great, but sorting it out is pretty fast.
Jeff's personality has nothing whatsoever to do with the tremendous contribution of ActiveCaptain to the cruising community. It's a brilliant concept that in its simple elegance has changed the complexion of sharing information.
Relevant to the thread topic, coffee table books and indeed cruising guides in general have the limitation of a single perspective. It may well be an experienced and educated perspective but still just one.
Mark and Diana Doyle, The Waterway Guides, Claiborne Young, and John Kettlewell among others provide a very real service to cruisers. My Kettlewell guide is long enough in the tooth (don't tell Jeff how out of date it is! *grin*) that I'll be replacing it this year, probably with something from the Doyles.
On the occasions when I do take the ICW I sit down each night to go through the next day's trek with one of the chart guides. I use ActiveCaptain and SSECN as planning supplement.
Underway I'm all electronic except for bridges - I find a published list of locations and times easier to use to calculate appropriate boat speed to reach bridges about five minutes before opening. My goal is to conserve both fuel and time.
For coffee table purposes, sitting in front of a fire on a cold day, I like the more chatty style of guides like those Claiborne Young writes or that Bill Shellenberger offers for the Chesapeake. On the other hand, sitting around with other cruisers I like the chart book style like the Doyle's On The Water Chart Guides and the Kettlewell Guides (reminiscent of AAA TripTiks). Running our fingers along the chart and sharing stories is great fun. Sometimes a picture or chart really is worth a thousand words.
Sailnet is free, and we get to help each other as well.
Agreed. There are many solutions to most problems and often multiple solutions are the best answer in the end.
If time is a factor as it often is for navigational issues a guide, a chart, or ActiveCaptain are the resources I will turn to. If I'm approaching an inlet like Port St Lucie I'll use Steve Dodge's Inlet Guide (another coffee table candidate), Active Captain on Charts & Tides, and likely a call to the local Towboat/US base. SailNet and other fora are more useful to me for less time sensitive issues.