This video showcases a US Postal Service system that was developed in the 90s; it’s still going strong:
It’s easy to find all sorts of problems with this system. Users need to undergo weeks of training (many of which won’t make the cut). It’s also not the most delightful UI to look at all day. However, one of the top comments on the video from a former user provides a different view:
…once you learn the rules, applying them becomes automatic and extremely fast. It’s a fun job for the right person.
So, while there’s plenty of room for improvement here, but it works pretty well. Something to remember for those of us charged with replacing and improving on these types of systems that were developed 20 or 30 years ago. Don’t assume it’s all terrible by judging the UI based on today’s standards, make sure the good parts aren’t missing from the new and improved system.
One reason big public works projects are hard to execute is that they often take years to complete, making them less appealing to politicians looking to deliver quick, obvious results to constituents and to take credit for a finished project.
Granted, there are many other issues that make massive public works projects difficult execute. But, the perceived need for our leaders to chalk up quick wins during their terms keeps these projects from even getting started. Stringing together quick wins will not yield the sort of infrastructure improvements needed in this country. We need our leaders to have the foresight and courage to think beyond their next election and into the future.
Soft shackles come in handy all over the boat. While every stainless shackle on Uno hasn’t been replaced with dyneema, soft shackles are increasingly being used. Among other things, I use them to attach the genoa sheets and in the downhaul on the boom. They are strong and light–although shackle weight isn’t a primary concern on Uno. I even carry a few extras for emergencies.
All manner of soft shackles can be purchased at the local yacht chandler. However, I prefer to make them myself. I’ve tried a few different styles and favor the “improved soft shackle” from the video below for its ease of operation, strength, and clean look. It is more time consuming to make, but I think it’s worth it.
I change a couple things from the tutorial. First, depending on the need, I’ll change the length. 40 inches of 1/8″ amsteel will make a ~2.5 inch finished shackle using the other measurements in the video. By the way, this is probably the minimum usable size for this type of shackle. To make bigger shackles, add more line (e.g. 41″ of line will make a 3″ shackle). I also taper the ends more than he does by taking out a couple extra strands at 1/2″ from the end.