My boss’ management is clamoring for metrics. They want to know, at a glance, what we’re doing and how far along we are. Sounds like a job for stacked bar charts in Excel to me. So here’s how to create a stacked bar chart in Excel.
Figuring out a way to track our progress was fairly easy. Figuring out how to make Excel display that chart in a meaningful fashion… Well, that took about five hours. I’ll try to make it easier for you than it was for me. Read more
St. Louis-based Central Hardware was one of the first big-box home improvement chains. It peaked in 1993 at 39 stores in six states in the midwest, employing 3,700 people. It was once the 19th largest hardware retailer in the United States.
Central Hardware’s motto was “everything from scoop to nuts,” a play on the English idiom “soup to nuts,” which means beginning to end. Their inventory was over 40,000 SKUs, comparable to today’s home improvement stores. Its stores regularly exceeded 50,000 square feet. That’s about half the size of a typical home improvement store today, but it was large for the 1970s and 1980s. Traditional hardware stores ranged in size from 2,000 to 10,000 square feet. Its employees wore orange vests so customers knew who to ask for help.
I get the question all the time how to take apart Hot Wheels without a drill. This trick doesn’t work on older cars with metal bases. But you can indeed take apart newer cars with plastic bases without drilling the rivet. The trick is to use a soldering iron to heat up the rivet and the plastic base enough to let you take it apart. So here’s how to open a Hot Wheels car with a soldering iron.
I guess it was inevitable that someone would make a flexible p-trap out of expandable, accordion-style pipe. I’ve written about that stuff before, and you definitely don’t want your p trap to be made of it.
Frequently I have a problem with self-assemble furniture not holding together as well as I would like. The bolts back out over time the legs in our kitchen chairs get wobbly. Or a bolt from an office chair falls out completely and something that used to work stops working. If I don’t notice the mystery bolt on the floor and the malfunction on the same day, I get other problems.
Changing a worn-out garbage disposal can be a 10-minute job–assuming you anticipate everything, use the same brand as the old one, you know what you’re doing, and the person who installed the old one was at least as competent as you.
It didn’t quite work out for me like that the last time.
My home inspector told me about an easy, inexpensive and nearly permanent repair: Loose brick repair with epoxy. It works really well if you need to fix a loose brick in something like a fireplace or a retaining wall. Epoxy is a effective loose brick adhesive.
Epoxy works because it’s stronger than cement. And while it’s not economical to use epoxy for mortar instead of cement, in small quantities it’s cheap enough, and much quicker.
From time to time I see accordion-style flexible drain pipe (also sometimes called flexible waste pipe) in use, much like the one on the right. St. Louis County inspectors take an exceptionally dim view of these, and I always wondered what the big deal was, since literally every hardware and home-improvement store in St. Louis County sells them. Why would they sell something if it isn’t okay to use it? Read more
Early Monday morning, a fire broke out a couple of streets over from me. Sadly, there was one casualty, a seven-year-old second grader who attends the same school as my oldest son. His older sister heroically came and got him and tried to lead him out the front door, but they became separated and he lost his way.
The paper noted that there have been a large number of fires with fatalities in my area in this past year. It did not speculate on the reasons, but I think I know why.
I think inadequate smoke detectors have a lot to do with it. Read more