Category Archives: Questions

For the Hobbyist DIY’er: Simple Ways / Tools to Change Dimensions on Projects

I’ve been wanting to make some stackable wooden crates and have been searching for an option that would be a good fit for me:

  • Needs to be friendly for my child, so I can have him participate using the hammer, drill, etc.
  • Ideally, on the same topic, shouldn’t include too much work that I have to do alone )(e.g. fine details), don’t want him to get bored waiting or feel left out.
  • Looking for something relatively inexpensive, so no need for fancy ornamentation or decoration.
  • Simple enough for my admittedly limited DIY’er skills.

I think I’ve found a good, simple wood crate diy project that fits the bill. We actually went out and purchased a number of the items we’d need to build it (a few tools, screws, wood glue, etc.). (Un)fortunately our local hardware store had run out of the wood we needed and there weren’t any reasonably inexpensive alternatives available.

My one “concern” with this project is the size of the crates. They are using boards that are 12″ wide, this limits the depth and/or width of the finished crates. This is a fairly good size, but I’d like to go a little bigger, maybe a bit deeper.

So that left me wondering – what good methods or tools are there for changing the dimensions of a project? Sure, I can do some hand scratch math but…:

  1. I don’t do this frequently enough to be able to do it without second thought.
  2. I like to check my work, preferably with a tool I know always gives the correct answer.
  3. This works for the larger items like the wood but what about screws? For example, if I double the width of the cart do I need to use longer screws or should the ones specified in the initial specifications still be adequate?

So I’m curious – how do you handle these measurements when resizing dimensions on a project? Are there tools (software, work sheets) that make this simpler to accomplish?

A (Simple) Electronics Question: Unexpected Behavior

I recently bought a Snap Circuit kit for my son that we have been using to build various projects offered in the provided manual. We started with a simple switched light like so:

Then we added a motor with a fan like so:

As one might expect, the light grew dimmer as now the light was sharing the electricity with the fan.

Then Asher took the fan off the motor and something unexpected happened – the light turned on momentarily (when the switch was turned on) and then went out (added detail: I neglected to mention initially that the motor is still rotating at a high speed, it doesn’t stop even though the light goes out). Like so:

It is this last result that has us confused. Shouldn’t the motor be consuming less electricity since it doesn’t have to overcome the air resistance caused by the fan?

I’m a tech guy, but not an electrical guy, any ideas?

Looking for Recommendations on Windows Application Virtualization Software

I’m looking for recommendations on Windows Application Virtualization software. I’ve looked for options over the years but have never found the perfect (or even good enough) solution for my needs.

Windows Application Virtualization software means a lot of different things to different people, so lets start by establishing exactly what I’m looking for…

Runs Locally

The virtualized application should run on the local computer without the need for a separate server.

From my perspective this excludes Microsoft’s App-V, Cameyo, and Turbo which all seem to require a separate server.

Isolates at the Application Level

In other words I’m not looking for a full OS virtualization solution, it is only an individual application that needs to be virtualized.

This rules out Microsoft’s Hyper-V, Oracle’s VirtualBox, Docker, etc.

Persists the Data and Allows Interaction with the Host File System

Windows Sandbox, while not virtualizing at the application level this is an attractive option due to how light the VM is. I could almost me swung to use it with multiple applications BUT it doesn’t persist applications (which is great for its intended use case) nor does it provide access to the local file system.

In my case I’m not working with untrusted applications. Its trusted applications that I simply don’t want become enmeshed with the OS, hopefully delaying the inevitable need to perform a clean install on the base OS (and potentially expediting the setup process once the OS is installed).

Simple

Ideally the packaging process should be fairly simple. A UI is nice but not necessary. Avoiding having to setup a separate virtual machine for packaging purposes is ideal.

Affordable

I’m not looking to use this in an enterprise environment but on my own systems (though these are used for professional purposes). Something with a high price tag won’t do.

What Am I Trying to Accomplish?

When the average Windows application installs itself it inserts files and other modifications into numerous locations – this can include Program Files and Program Files (x86) as well as ProgramData and Users\username as well as (seemingly) randomly choosing Users\username\AppData\Local or LocalLow or Roaming.

Don’t forget the numerous records in Windows Registry and potentially the installation of various dependencies (e.g. redistributables).

Something akin to the virtualization Microsoft’s MSIX performs but without needing the software vendor to provide an MSIX package.

Making a Career Change and Asking a Question

I’ve been working in Information Technology for 17+ years. My primary responsibilities have generally been systems focused although I’ve oftentimes had the opportunity to develop software as a secondary or tertiary focus. I’ve decided I want to flip that – to make software development my primary occupation.

I’m currently IT Director for Liquid Church, a multi-campus organization and I’ve discussed with them my plans and they have been supportive. I like to do things well and so I’m taking a phased approach to leaving. We are currently actively recruiting for my replacement and I am seeking to provide as smooth a transition as possible.

At some juncture in the near future I’ll be stepping out of the IT Director position so someone else can step in. I’ll still be at Liquid helping this individual get up to speed and supporting systems in the meantime – but I won’t be the IT Director anymore.

The question I’d like to ask you today is – what do we call me during this transitional period and how should this be reflected on my resume? IT Director Emeritus (I jest)? IT Consultant? Software / Web Developer (as I transition out of the IT Director role and I’m needed less in that arena, I’ll be picking up more in the interim on the development side)?

Maybe I’m overthinking this, but I’m a little concerned about how to reflect this on my resume as I pursue new opportunities. I can’t imagine I’m the only one facing / having faced this situation. So what would you recommend?