Knots: The Reef Knot

In which I discuss a simple, handy knot...

Someone suggested in passing it would be cool if I nerded out about knots because I am a Scout so here we go. My first post of an unspecified amount about the topic of knots.

Knot facts

  • Name: reef knot

  • Also known as: square knot

  • Useful for: joining two ends of rope

  • Knot style: jamming, binding

The reef knot is one of the simplest and oldest knots. It is very versatile and probably one of the first knots most people will learn. It is certainly the first knot I remember being taught in Scouting.

To make this knot you take two ends of rope and go "over-under then under-over"*, as I was taught, before pulling taught. The knot tightens easily and it is a jamming knot so it only gets tighter as you pull on it. However, it is not a good knot for binding in actuality because the ends of the rope need to be matched or it can slip, defeating the point of the knot. If you pull one end away from the knot it can also rotate (known as capsizing) which again, defeats the point of the knot.

It is an excellent knot for teaching some basic knot skills and for quickly tying two things together. I can't stress enough that it should not be used for anything where a life may be on the line for the limitations mentioned above.

Tom out!

*Also formulated as "right over left then left over right".


The Reef Knot used under CC by SA 3.0

Photoshop and Dragons: Building a World Map

Photoshop and Dragons: Building a World Map

In which I discuss mapping a whole new worrrld ♪♫♬...

Generally I like to start a campaign with the world still in my head and get a feel for it before setting locations in stone. There comes a time, however, when your players need to leave their starting locations and you have to stop being wishy-washy about how long travel takes. That is when a map is called for. This is a guide on how to generate the kind of map I like using Photoshop and some select tools.

2019: The Year of Me

In which I set my goals for the year, a little late

The Year of Me

Fans of Cortex (a podcast from CGP Grey and Myke Hurley) will be aware of the concept of yearly themes. This year they were talking about the concept of the Year of Me where you take stock and refocus on things that matter to you. Since this is my first year doing such a theme I feel that I will take this in its purest form: I'm approaching 30 so is my life headed in the direction I want?

How to Update Plex Jails on FreeNAS 11

How to Update Plex Jails on FreeNAS 11

In which I post a reference, mostly for myself, on how to update my chosen media server...

I'm not going to cover how to install Plex on FreeNAS as it is very easy using the plugins system explained in the docs.[1]

Upgrading, however, is a different issue. While the plugin does get updates that will preserve your data they are often quite behind the release schedule of the Plex team. Also I have had issues with some of my Plex plugins (like after using this upgrade method. In the past I have tried a hodgepodge of different methods to acheive it but now the most reliable method is using the PMS Updater script.[2]

Podtrac and Squarespace 2018

Podtrac and Squarespace 2018

In which I get some download tracking for my podcasts...

If you listen to podcasts you won't be surprised to hear adverts for Squarespace's hosting platform. It's also what this website and my associated podcasts run on.[1][2][3] The inbuilt analytics are pretty decent but when it comes to RSS feeds for podcasts they suffer from all the limitations that tracking RSS has.[4]

Podtrac is a service that aims to fix this.[5] Unfortunately it used to be a massive faff to get it working with Squarespace.[6] Fortunately following the latest update to the platform it is now really easy.

2017: In Review

In which I review the year that was...

It's been a pretty exciting year for me. I've started two podcasts, changed jobs and started reviewing food and drink for Luxury London. Less travel in my new job means that I've been able to spend more of my spare time on my side projects. All in all that's lead to:

 25 podcast episodes, 11 food/drink reviews, 9 blog posts

And I'm hoping there will be many more in 2018.

October 2017 Digest

In which I summarise October...

So this is a new idea I'm trialling. Now that I'm writing reviews and have 2 podcasts on the go it makes sense to put all the links to what I've done in the last month in a digest. You can get the digest only RSS here:

Podcasting Setup 2017

Podcasting Setup 2017

In which I discuss my podcasting setup and how I expect it to change…

I've recently started podcasting. I have two podcasts:

It's been a fun learning curve so I'm going to try and distil what I've learned into this post and also create a snapshot of my current setup.

Toggl: 5 Months of Time Tracking

Toggl: 5 Months of Time Tracking

In which I find out what I do all the time...

Since we have just passed the midpoint of the year and I have had a Toggl account for just over 6 months I thought it was time I tried to analyse how I spend my time at work. In this post I'm going to be looking at overall working hours and travel.

I have 20 weeks of full data (though I was on holiday for one week)...