How to pass the PMI Project Management Professional Certification PMP exam

Having recently passed my PMI PMP exam on the first try, I thought I would share my thoughts on how to also pass the PMP exam.

The resources

The resources I used were quite limited.

  • PMBOK – I read through once very early on when I was completing the 36 hours of coursework and never used it again.
  • PMP Exam Prep by Rita Mulcahy, was a key resource, and I’ll explain more on that shortly.
  • The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try by Andy Crowe, another key resource and very easy to read.
  • Head First PMP, Book by Andrew Stellman, an online recommendation with the other two resources, but I didn’t like the graphic format and didn’t get through the first chapter.
  • PMI PMP Exam Prep by Pocket Prep, Inc. android app, I used this more as a motivational tool and training reminders.

The questions

The PMP questions are all situational, and in my opinion the practise questions in the above resources a lot easier.

  • Plenty of network diagrams which were easy marks
  • Plenty of basic Earned Value questions, like given PV, EV and AC, what is the status of schedule and budget.
  • No ethics questions.
  • A lot of change control management questions.

The learning

Instead of memorising the process group and knowledge area map, I should have been memorising Rita Mulcahy’s process diagram. These would have helped significantly in the situation, especially for the planning domain which I was Moderately Proficient.

Airbnb coupon code new signup $45 AUD

Here is an Airbnb coupon code, get $45 AUD when you take a first trip of $100 AUD or more using my referral link below;

You can also get $100 AUD when you welcome your first guest as a host.

Airbnb Coupon Code

thydzik’s MAME cabinet update

After over a decade and the MAME cabinet collecting dust, I decided to rejuvenate my MAME cabinet once again.

First to go was the 26″ KORTEK color monitor, which was roughly 30 years old. I stripped out all the legacy IPAC and JPAC harness and went with a basic USB arcade decoder, the USB to Xin-Mo Arcade 2 players with 30 inputs.

I found the Asus VW266 26” Widescreen LCD Monitor, which was the perfect width for the cabinet.thydzik-mame-cab-2016-update

thydzik’s MAME cab

Fix fading red (magenta) toner on HP Color LaserJet 2600

My HP Color LaserJet 2600N printer recently experienced the infamous faded red tones, this is due to the magenta toner being positioned at the bottom of the unit and the optics being the most susceptible to dust and debris.

Here is the details of repairing the unit based on Don Thompson’s Service Seminars whitepaper found at the end of this post.fix-fading-red-magenta-toner-on-hp-color-laserjet-2600-the-unit

The HP LaserJet 2600N printer, first remove all the toner, the paper trays and the output trays. Then remove the screw on the left hand side of the unit near the paper tray.

fix-fading-red-magenta-toner-on-hp-color-laserjet-2600-unscrew-the-screw-at-footerUnclip the plastic hook and remove the left hand side plastic cover.

Unclip plastic clip

Unclip plastic clip

Do the same for the screw on the right hand side of the unit near the paper tray.

Remove right hand screw near paper tray

There is a second screw to remove near the network ports. Then remove the right hand plastic cover.

Remove screw near network ports

Remove the nine screws from the back of the unit.

Remove nine screws from back

Remove all connectors as circled, all the plugs are different sizes making it easy to reassemble. Care should be taken removing the ribbon cables as they are similar sized. Also remove the black cable trays by sliding them to the left to release the catches.

Remove all connectors as circled

Remove total eleven screens, those in the photo and those under removed cable trays and ribbon cables.

Remove the circled screws and those under cable tray

Lift the PCB plate away revealing the black box of optics. Unscrew the screws holding the black box.

The scanner optics box

Remove the single screw at the bottom of the printer holding the optics box in place. Remove the optics box.

Screw at bottom of optics

Once the optics box is removed, unclip the spring to allow access inside.

Optics box

Using an air blowing brush similar to those used on DSLR cameras, clean all the lens and mirrors.

Opened optics box

Reassemble everything in reverse order. Care should be taken making sure the ribbon cables are seated in both ends.

Further details can been found in Don Thompson’s Service Seminars whitepaper.


Hyundai does not recommend an engine flush during routine service

I recently had my Hyundai Tucson services with the Hyundai authorised dealer recommending an engine flush, even prior to inspecting the vehicle. An ‘engine flush’ clears the gunk out of your engine by pouring a chemical into the engine and idling. Due to the use of chemicals, it can possibly be damaging to modern car’s engines.

I was concerned due to no mentioned of an engine flush in the Hyundai Recommended Maintenance Schedules, so I contact Hyundai directly, this was their response:

I have been in contact with our technical department both locally and overseas and they have advised that Hyundai don’t recommend an [engine] flush at service.

Review of Perth Premier Studio ( and their dishonesty

In March this year, my dad excitedly let me know he had won a “Premier Photographic Experience valued at $500″ from Premier Studio ( by entering a competition in the HIA Perth Home Show. Given I have two young daughters, he was looking forward to getting some family portraits of them for his home. I took it on board to arrange a time suitable for all of us.

Within a few days I called Premier Studio to see what $500 worth of photography would get us. The voucher already mentioned a weekday appointment would cost $100, with a weekend appointment costing $200. I was happy to take a day off work to make the most of the voucher. For some reason Premier Studio were extremely hesitant to disclose what could be purchased with the voucher.  Stating my dad had to call and get a personalised package, as it depended on where he placed it in his house, over the couch or television.

It was only at the end of the call that Premier Studio mentioned $350 is the price of their smallest framed photo (10″ by 8” if I recall). I mentioned this to my dad and we agreed a nice photo of the two girls would be ideal.

I was aware that my dad had to be present since he had the voucher. I thought I would take the girls with him to get the portrait, leaving my wife home to get some time to herself and a chance to study. When I called to book the appointment with Premier Studio, things took a strange turn. Premier Studio insisted that the whole family needed to be present, I mentioned that it was difficult due to a full car already, but they insisted that these were part of their terms and conditions. I mentioned that I didn’t remember previously reading about this. When I got home and reread the terms and conditions, I noticed Premier Studio added the additional terms. Below is a screenshot of the additional terms (they also took the opportunity to fix a spelling error).

Premier Studio T&C’s March 2016. View the old T&Cs here.

Premier Studio T&C’s April 2016. The addition of “Premier Studio reserves the right to refuse service if the entire family does not attend the photographic shoot. ”

After Premier Studio changed their Terms and Conditions, we decided we didn’t want to deal with this dishonest company.

To not disappoint my dad, we ended up taking our own photos in Kings Park. My dad is very happy.

Get the number of days in a year in Excel

Here is a quick post on how to calculate the number of days in a year given it in a standard date format. i.e. returns 365 except for 366 on leap years.

=IF(OR(MOD(YEAR(A85),400)=0,AND(MOD(YEAR(A85),4)=0,MOD(YEAR(A85),100)<>0)),366, 365)

Is a mobile phone steering wheel mount legal in Australia?

It is well known that mobile phones need to be “secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle” in Australia, but does a mobile phone secured in a mount affixed to the steering wheel, a “phone steering wheel mount”,  meet this requirement?Is a mobile phone steering wheel mount legal in Australia?

I emailed the Western Australia Road Safety Commission to clarify, and whilst it may meet the secured in a mount requirement it produces a number of additional problems.

The response is below.

Please be advised that, while it may meet the definition of a mounting for the purpose of the mobile phone regulations, there are a number of issues which are of concern. These include:

  • It may interfere with the deployment of the air bag;
  • It may become a projectile when struck by the airbag;
  • It obscures the instruments, notably the speedometer, or (if installed the other way up) the road ahead;
  • As it occupies such a large proportion of the steering wheel’s circumference it is our view that it does compromise proper control.

On this basis, I believe it would contravene vehicle standards regulations most notably Reg. 235(5) of the Road Traffic (Vehicles) Regulations 2014 which covers changes or alterations to the body or equipment of a vehicle in a way that adversely affects the safe operation of the vehicle.