DVD Cases: Redux

DVD cases galore I'm in the middle of a cross-country move and had to initiate a second round of DVD case reduction---they're just a huge waste of space. The inlined picture is a few of the cases I had to throw out. I put them in recycling, but who knows what their final fate will be? Interesting to note is that all these cases were acquired in the last 1-2 years, well within the era of broadband internet connections.

The possibility of PADI switching to slim DVD cases spurred some readers to comment. Apparently I'm not the only one frustrated with the excess plastic lying around. Some commenters think scuba agencies should switch to internet distribution, and I tend to agree. Some even pointed out the conflict between all this plastic and PADI's own Project AWARE. Others point out that apart from any environmental impact, they just take excessive shelf space (thin cases vs. full size doesn't save that much plastic, after all).

In other areas PADI seems to be opting for digital distribution. New instructor manuals, for instance, can be downloaded in PDF format. The PADI Guide to Teaching also comes with a digital version, in addition to the oversized hardback binder. I think this is great, and in fact never use the hard copies (and most likely never will), instead opting for iPad + PDF.

I wonder if copyright protection has anything to do with the slow adoption rate? It's easy to duplicate digital files, and selling books / DVDs is a good stream of revenue for most agencies.

Is pure internet distribution in the near or distant future for the major agencies? Would most scuba trainees even prefer this over traditional paper or DVDs? It seems at this point the question isn't if, but when.

The Sea on Fire

Sea on Fire We don't see much diving fiction, besides maybe a few scenes from Clive Cussler novels. In The Sea on Fire, author Howard Cunnell wisely foregoes the diving-as-action approach and presents the emotion and sensation of diving that we feel through the main character, Kim. As a diver and someone who writes about diving, I was intrigued when I heard of this novel and how it would capture these feelings in words.

Kim is a man who needs to decide what he wants out of life. In his youth, Kim worked as a dive guide through many exotic locales with ...

Dive Theory Study Guide

No matter which scuba diving agency you train through, once you get to the leadership level there are some basic theory requirements you must complete (the Recreational Scuba Training Council requires it). With areas ranging from physiology to physics, it can feel like a lot of material.

Fortunately, Rod Abbotson of Dive Aqaba has put together a Dive Theory Study Guide. It's PADI-centric in that it is a (very quick) summary of their Recreational Encyclopedia, but I imagine even those from other agencies would find it useful in their studying, given the significant overlap in material. It is especially ...

PADI Switching to Slim DVD Cases?

I was in my local dive shop a few weeks ago and saw some of the new PADI merchandise. Among them was the DVD for a specialty course, I think it was Underwater Photography.

The noteworthy thing was that the DVD was the slim size---half the width of a standard DVD case. Now this doesn't sound like a big deal, but sure is nice for those of us who have a unwieldy collection of PADI DVDs. In fact, I'm about to put all of mine in a single disc holder and trash the plastic cases. Chucking all that ...

Reef Burial

Really like the sea? Then spend the rest of eternity there.

Neptune Memorial Reef will take your cremated remains and mix them with concrete, then place the resulting molded shape into an artificial reef structure. A commemorative plaque is placed later.

You're not quite fish food, but you get to hang out with your favorite creatures. It sure beats the cemetery!

Sea Lion Cove

It had been a long day. After two dives near Los Coronados islands, off the coast of California, we were having boat trouble. Meanwhile, the passengers were getting restless and ready to just call it quits, forgetting our third dive.

Finally, after an hour or two, the crew got the engine running again. Reluctantly, about half the boat decided to go for the third dive at a sea lion cove. Pulling around the smallish island, we see the cove, and about a 100 California Sea Lions all around it! As soon as we pulled up, the started splashing in the ...

Long deco time? Read an iPad

Tec divers spend a long time decompressing at various depths. Usually much longer than the actual dive length. Most of that time is spent in fairly shallow depths, just hanging on the anchor line.

I had an idea a while back to put an eBook reader like the kindle or nook into a ziplock bag and tie it to the line at 20 feet. Then, when you're spending 30+ minutes hanging out, pass the time with a nice book.

Now, DryCase is selling a watertight bag for your eBook reader or tablet that could serve a similar purpose. My ...

Shark Feeder Bit - What a Surprise

A scuba excursion operator was bit on the arm during a recent "shark interaction" dive. Now I’m not going to say he deserved it. That’s unkind, and it’s not true. You all know how I feel about shark feeding. If not, click the link and read. I’ll wait.

The funny thing about this story, no funny is not the right word, the ironic thing about this story is that Florida outlawed shark feeding years ago. This guy operates out of Florida, yet takes his guests all the way to the Bahamas, where feeding is still legal ...

Sacrificing Quality for Numbers

I recently read an article on AquaViews that posed the question, are scuba agencies sacrificing training quality for numbers?
I don’t think anyone would deny that most scuba agencies are after numbers. Anyone who has gone through a pro-level certification can tell you that. Is it such a bad thing? Having numbers drives the accessibility up (and price down) for scuba diving, but what if the price is too high?

numbers To answer this question, we really have to look at the standards. Fortunately, most major agencies follow the same set of scuba standards for each level of certification. I ...

Wetsuit or Wet Suit

The other day I was thinking, what is correct to write, wetsuit (one word) or wet suit (two words)?

The history of compound words is filled with dispute. In general, words tend to follow a particular pattern. Let's take the word basketball as an example:

basket ball -> basket-ball -> basketball

Two words are used together so much that they eventually take on an identity of their own, beyond their constituent words.

Here's where things get tricky. Some people (probably young whipper-snappers) like to move briskly through the three stages. This happens often with tech words. For example, electronic mail ...