Robert Vance

Author's posts

HOWTO: Microsoft Certification Exam Preparation Generator

If you’ve ever had to write a Microsoft certification exam, you know that the exam syllabus is available from a URL that looks like this: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/exam-##-###.aspx Where the ##-### is the specific exam you are writing.  You likely also know that  the way Microsoft presents this information is not ideal from a study guide perspective.  …

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HOWTO: Build a Temperature Alert System using a Raspberry Pi

I recently had my furnace fail while I was away on business.  Fortunately there were no lasting consequences but it could have been a very bad day.  To try and minimize the risk of such issues in the future, I decided I wanted a temperature monitoring solution that would alert me if the temperature in …

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HOWTO: Calculate Elapsed Business Hours Using PowerShell

Have you ever needed to calculate how many business hours / working hours have elapsed between a specific date and now?  For example, you may have some metric that says something needs to happen within 4 business hours.  We define business hours in this case as 8AM to 5PM Monday to Friday and does not …

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HOWTO: Backup and View All Contents of an Android Device

This HOWTO is written primarily for my own future reference but hopefully it’ll help someone else too. Let’s say you want to back up the entire contents of your Android device.  How do you do that? 1) Download the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) tool that comes with the Android SDK Platform Tools.  The link of …

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HOWTO: Generate a Microsoft Exam Checklist

Are you studying for a Microsoft certification exam?  If so, then you are probably familiar with the “Skills Measured” website that describes what will be covered on your exam.  If not, it looks something like this: I’m currently studying for my 70-347 – Enabling Office 365 Services exam.  The skills measured list above is a …

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Is it just inflation?

I recently received a reminder to renew my AMA Plus membership.  2018 marks my 10th anniversary of having an AMA membership.  I pay in annual lump sum payments as it’s cheaper than the monthly option.  I was curious how much they’ve charged for the service over the last decade.  Have a look as I think …

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HOWTO: Automate One-A-Day Photography

This will be a somewhat unusual HOWTO compared to those typically on this site.  In an effort to lose weight, I decided I wanted to take a photo of myself, once per day so I could track and further motivate the progress of regular exercise.  I then wanted to overlay the date each photo was …

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Bank of Canada Interest Rate Changes Review

For those of you that live in Canada, you are no doubt aware that the Bank of Canada recently increased their policy rate from 0.5% to 0.75%.  I heard of a lot of media reporting that said this is the first change in 7 years.  I further read that we could expect further increases in …

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HOWTO: PowerShell Function Return Quirk

Have you ever been using PowerShell, created a function that called another function and then tried to return data from the parent function only to discover that the returned data included more ‘stuff’ than you intended? This quick blog post demonstrates why that is and presents one workaround to prevent it in the future. Clear-Host …

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HOWTO: Use Autohotkey to Toggle Windows Based on Window ID

Autohotkey is an invaluable tool for automating tasks we perform hundreds of times per day without even thinking of it.  The tasks many only take a few seconds each, but added up over the course of a year or more, it really adds up!  One such common task involves switching between applications in Windows.  Sure, …

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