Wednesday, March 30, 2011
To prevent this kind of theft, pretty much all portable computers have a Kensington Security Slot, a small reinforced hole for a locking mechanism that looks somewhat like but a bit smaller than a USB slot.
A variety of computer locks are available ranging from complete junk to complete overkill. A good balance of function, security, and convenience is the Targus DEFCON CL PA410U, which features a 4-digit combination lock (no key to lose) that you can set to the combination of your choice. (It won't stop a determined thief with heavy bolt cutters, but pretty much nothing will.) Find a good price with Google Shopper.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Due to serious deficiencies, I now rate the Targus DEFCON CL PA410U unacceptable -- see A Tale of Two Locks.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
These eight knots will cover 99% of your marine knot needs.
[click links to more information and instructions on how to tie]
- Alpine Butterfly (animation)
Strong and secure, will not shake out, will not jam, better than bowline. Use Method #4 (video) instead of Bowline.
- Bowline (animation)
Strong, easy to tie, but can shake out if not locked.
- Buntline Hitch (animation)
Great knot for halyards, securing fenders to lifelines, etc, but can jam.
- Cleat Hitch
Use for securing ropes to cleats.
- Figure Eight Knot (animation)
Good stopper knot, can be adapted for other purposes.
- Gripping Sailor's Hitch
Great for securing one rope to another rope under load.
- Slipped Half Hitch
Quick-release knot for sail ties and bags, not secure. Also useful as temporary stopper knot; e.g., for spinnaker sheet at a block (animation).
- Square (Reef) Knot (animation)
Famously used for tying reef points in sails.
Two Alpine Butterflys tied together or two bowlines tied to each other (Bowline Bend) are better alternatives, or for ropes of roughly similar thickness the Alpine Butterfly Bend.
More Knot Resources
Monday, March 14, 2011
Composite Solutions Inc, who:
- promptly built a 3-foot carbon fiber tube to match the outside diameter of our pole,
- machined down the ends to match the inside diameter of our pole,
- leaving a center section to replace the broken pieces we cut away from our pole, and
- rushed it to us by air.