Everything is Always Broken

Good thing I didn’t read The Design of Everyday Things when it was recommend on here.

I read it when I was mentioned on here. The book has some serious flaws but I think it is worthwhile.

Now as for this article I have been reading Cory’s work for decades. Most I agree with but he doesn’t have a perfect track record either… but one thing in this article really resonated with me:

“ * Systems must co-exist with bad actors, for example, thieves who steal a car’s catalytic converter for the precious metal, identity thieves who break a system’s security model, etc;

This has been one of the biggest challenges of running gcaptain over the last decade and a half…. And it’s one of the biggest challenges to innovation in the maritime space.

The maritime has huge barriers to entry and it’s slow adoption of new technology and ideas makes it difficult for outsiders to scam the system. Look at banking which also has high barriers to entry… almost everyone reading this has been victims of a fraudulent check or ebay transaction or credit card charge. Yet very few of you have been boarded by pirates or scammed into buying the wrong charts or diverting cargo to the wrong port.

There is a lot of graft in Shipping but it is mostly done by insiders.

gCaptain, on the other hand, has hackers constantly attacking us. We have seen our share of con men and scam artists. We have successfully warded off all major attempts but each attack is very resource intensive.

Bad players target us because they know seo, they know the power of publishing, they know how much money targeted advertising can bring in, they understand viral marketing.

What’s most frustrating is the fact that, even after 15 years of educating our clients (mostly advertisers) most legitimate players in shipping. Our industry are still skeptical. They don’t see the power of this network.

Hell it’s even hard for us to convince certain non-profits to write for us and advertise for free.

Our success, which has surpassed my wildest expectations, is really a magnet for bad actors but is still a difficult sell for legit maritime entities who could be leveraging us to change the industry for good.

This conundrum is supremely frustrating and any advice you guys can think of would be very much welcome.

P.S. it’s not just gcaptain. Lots of really potentially game changing new startups can’t even get a meeting at a legitimate Shipping firm but are inundated with investment offers from shady businessman.


My experience working with the UK Nautical Institute and hence the IMO is they are/were made up of the old farts who volunteered and unfortunately in this era that meant they can barely use a PC as the industry was pen and paper that they came from.
That has caused lots of issues and the most glaring was ECDIS with no standards and no idea about how to update and the security issues that came with that.
So now you have people making regulations on technology they have never used.
Class is of course right there with the same issues.
DP came along and class just said we have no clue so you need to get a 3rd party to survey that and tell us it works as it should, before we stamp the documents.

Class is approving thruster controls( run by Ethernet, another disaster coming ) that have intelligence in them which overrides what the DP system commands…
any yes that has caused accidents but you cant undo class can you??

The industries around shipping love to innovate but as one industry veteran mentioned a few years ago, very soon we will deliver vessels that the trained crew are unable to understand and operate.
Already happened on some pipelayers I have bean told, the Electrician’s are part of the watch

You will figure it out. There are two parts to solving a problem, the question has to be understood first or otherwise, if the question is not understood; when you do come across the answer, or part of the answer, perhaps by happenstance, it will not be recognized. as such.

I think this is true throughout the maritime publishing industry. Compared to other industry focused media groups, maritime publishers, both US focused and international, don’t seem very strong. Obviously industries that employ far more people like healthcare, aviation, or shoreside construction have strong industry media because they employ far more people, and gain much more interest from the general public or allied industries. The ever present truth in the maritime world is that we are “out of sight, out of mind”.


Reminds me morbidly of the joke between the organs of the body. The heart, liver, lungs, and kidneys all had good cases. Then the asshole spoke up. “What if I quit?”


I fully agree on that.
Years ago I was participating to an Ecdis course in Southampton (uk) . I was the only Captain having used Ecdis on board after following courses our instructor admitted that he was very close to retirement and he had never used Ecdis on board apart theoretical studies .Despite that he was giving us a full and official certificate for Ecdis operator on board cruise ships.


How are are CEngs going with fuel cells/methanol/LNG/ammonia and all the other new stuff that will just arrive in the fleet?

From the linked article in the OP:

There’s a wonderful parable about this in the form of Donald Norman’s two classic engineering/design books, “The Design of Everyday Things” (1988) and “Emotional Design” (2003).

At the “Emotional Design” link is this article:

Attractive Things Work Better

Seems like BS but well supported in the article.


I don’t know but it seems to be an exciting time. Lots of knowledge to be gained. The.learning curve will be stéep but I have confidence theyll figure it out. God knows us baby boomers adapted from one sort of fuel.to.another fairly easily. I have confidence in our children amd grandchildren. At the end of the day thats all.you.have

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John, having recently started a new company, I salute you for your success in starting and building gCaptain as it is no small feat to be successful anywhere today.

Fair Winds and Following Seas.

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