IT Help!


In 2017, I took a break from my normal pace of stories. Part of this was getting to the point where I believed few people were really moved or informed enough by the things I wrote to change their perspective on homebuilding and American manufacturing. Part of the reason for the writing break was taking time to contemplate the passing of my father. These have both settled in a bit, so I tentatively went back to writing. 


In getting restarted, the largest impediment has been my frustration over technical stuff. When I want to share a tough story about a bitter but important lesson, in the right hour the words can flow out, but I find it infuriating technical BS like updated software will not allow a simple photo to be shared without distortion. Such maddening glitches which delay publishing a story for a hour, provide a window where part of me asks “who really cares anyway?” and I often delete stories I would have published. IT people may find existing software brilliant and intuitive, but I think it is the best example of thousands of unrequested ‘features’ in a product preventing it from being efficiently used for its ostensible mission, a common issue with too many appliances today.


Into the dilemma, wades my brother in law, John. He has offered, to his eventual great regret, to assist me with the process of getting information out in a much more organized and accessible way. He is going to function as an editor and tech guy for my catalogue of stories. Simultaneously I have offered to teach I’m how to build a Corvair flight motor, this makes a balanced endeavor on paper, but in reality……..


No matter how lacking John claims his knowledge of engines is, I will have a much easier time fulfilling my side of the bargain, not just because The Corvair designed by Al Kolbe was brilliant and the Mac designed by Steve Jobs would be reason to execute him were he not already dead from bad Karma, but critically, because John wants to be a Motorhead and the only thing in the world I would rather do less than be an IT person is to watch a beauty pageant hosted by Donald Trump which had Hillary Clinton as miss Arkansas.


When you are done rinsing your mouth out after that last image, please welcome my Brother in law John to the world of building and flying Corvairs.




Above, John and myself at the circle. Over the years we have had a number of adventures together,  Compared to teaching me computer skills, riding 5,800 miles to pose in front of the sign above was a piece of cake.





BIL Note: I am slowly learning WordPress and hope to improve WEW’s amazing written word treasure chest. If you find a mistake, or have a suggestion, please email me @


John (guy of the left)


14 Replies to “IT Help!”

  1. I missed your stories and share your passion about American manufacturing and experimental aviation. I use to work with your old class mate Kurt Febregas on the 787 program here at Boeing. Can’t wait to start reading the book “The propeller under the bed!”
    I know the feeling of losing a parent, I lost both of them. Even with that in mind I still believe I need to be a good person and make them proud.

  2. I for one am pleased to see you writing again. And as an IT guy (well, as a former IT guy, thankfully), I think most current popular software is way too complicated. It’s not “feature rich” as they like to say, but it’s “bloat-ware”. Takes up too much processing power to run and tries to do to many things. Oh, and I will stick with my Mac, thanks. 😉

    Welcome, and good luck John.

  3. I also hate IT!
    Please keep writing about American Manufacturing and Experimental aviation! I share your passion for it also. I use to work with Kurt Fabregas on the 787 program here at Boeing. I’m ready to start reading the book “The Propeller under the bed!” To get my passion up and running!

    I know what it is like to lose a parent, I have lost both of them. I still think of them and knowing that they are in a better place I still must strive in being a better person… they would be proud of me!

  4. I remember you, John from our chat in the back of William’s tent at OSH this past summer. Thank you & good luck with WW. Glad that WW’s writing again; I really enjoyed this one!

  5. I have been around computers, doing programming since 1968 or 1969, but I am far from a professional. I have dipped into and out of the world of computers ever since, but my ignorance is vast. You can quote me on this, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and I’m real dangerous.”

    I’m 72, and my oldest sister, Lois, is nearly 80. She has a smart phone, but there are a lot of things that she doesn’t understand. She consults me occasionally about computer or phone problems, and, while I’m not that knowledgeable, I do know a bit more than she does.

    A few days ago, we were both visiting my other sister, who’s a year younger than she, and her husband.

    Lois was trying to send pictures from her phone, with an application I was unfamiliar with. It turns out that the program was only for sending photos to a Wifi local net for printing, and not for emailing on the internet.

    After figuring out how she could send out her pictures using her phone’s email capabilities, I coached her through it so she could do it herself. I knew that I could do it for her, but that it would be better for her to do it herself with a little coaching.

    I would walk out of her bedroom she was staying in where she was working on the phone, and visit my brother-in-law in his office across the hall so that I wouldn’t be tempted to do things for her. I would pop back in to check on her progress and encourage her.

    On one visit, I commented to my BIL, “There must be a significant number of murders that are caused by people working together on computers.” He laughed, but my sister in the other room was howling with laughter.

  6. Ooh, very smart to enlist John’s help! I missed your writing, and I have been bumbling along with learning WordPress myself. It’s not easy, but I’m getting there. Looking forward to more good stuff from you.

  7. Hi William, I’m very glad to see you are writing again, I find most of your articles very informative and thought provoking, others are a “real” form of entertainment. Please keep them coming! My son and I take a trip to the BWCA in northern Minnesota every year, it is not a direct replacement for an evening landing on a grass strip in a taildragger, but the experience of total solitude up there does have a healing effect. Best wishes to you

  8. Welcome back, William. You were sorely missed by many. Smart move to delegate the tech stuff to John. No need to destroy your chain of thought messing with bloatware crap. And, yes, we do read it and value your contributions.

  9. Sorry for your loss William! I lost my father, also a career military man serving 26 years in the USAF, in the early 90’s. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him. He will always be there as my wing man. I for one am glad to see your stories returning and your brother in law joining you.

    On a more technical note, many builders complete there engine in advance of their plane being completed. Could you address the proper way to store the completed engine and then the procedure for preoiling before starting after storage. Thanks in advance. Michael Armstrong, Pueblo,CO

    Sent from my iPhone


  10. WW & John: First, I see that the lovable and human typos will remain [‘guy of left’] ….good! Second, so called IT for us ‘consumers’ (just think of all the ‘evacuation’ that requires) is like some Bizarro Superman (if you’ve ever wasted time in the back of your surf fan reading such accompanied by oreos and chocolate milk prior to a pleasant nap after a physical session 1/2 a century ago parked on eucalyptus dappled back streets of an art colony beach town in socal) inversion of reality…in this case the analogy of a brand new Model T accompanied by a rather blank map and a mandate to take off cross country with no guarantee of reaching one’s destination, knowing non existent replacement parts will break, mud will consume, babbit will disappear, gasoline will be absent but kerosene will be present, tires will destruct, and some how this will become the industry of the future comes to mind. Bloated indeed….with our money….when there are engines to be built, rivet holes to submit to clecos, stress to be relieved, and blue yonder awaits….[;^)

  11. I wish I had the discipline to do what you are doing with your writing.

    So what if only a few read it today, hundreds and eventually thousands may read it long into the future.

    I have gone back and read many of your old writings and learned very much.

    Its good therapy for you to get it out!

    Its good for us motor heads or aspiring motor heads to have the resource!

    Its a legacy you are leaving of not just mechanical information but of acquired wisdom on many things!

    All of us as human beings should constantly read and learn from you or anyone else with a story to tell about a lesson learned!

    Life lessons hard learned only benefit you if you don’t share them. They may benefit many when you do share.

    Keep it up,
    Santa Monica CA.

  12. I’m an IT guy. Been one for 35 years. I install, configure and operate the Unix based computers that run a billion dollar company. Other than scripts I write that execute routine tasks, I’m not a programmer. Programmers, or software developers are the guys that create the computer programs that startup when you double-click the icon on your computer desktop. These software programs are what makes the computer useful for reading email, surfing the web, creating art, or writing a blog post. Computer programs can contain millions of lines of code and are unbelievably complex. That they work at all is sometimes surprising. Just like everything else in life, computer programs don’t stay static. They are changed. These changes are called software updates. Software updates occur for three reasons:

    1. Enhancements. These are new features that have been requested by current or future customers. Additionally, software developers add new functionality to either keep up with or keep ahead of the competition. At one time, Wordperfect was the king of word processors. It was text based and required the user to learn a significant number of control keystrokes to move about the page and add or alter text. Along came Microsoft Word with what is called What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG). The user interface was much easier to grasp. What was on the screen is what came out of the printer, and navigation was with a simple mouse click. Wordperfect was slow to react. They were like the guy with 3000 feet of runway behind him and still hoping for liftoff. They were paralyzed by indecision. By the time they came out with their own version of WYSIWYG, it was too late, and today, Microsoft owns the word processor market. So software companies are driven to add new enhancements to stay relevant. Unfortunately, these changes often force existing users to re-learn how the new version operates which can be frustrating. And sometimes changes introduce software bugs, or what I like to call “features without a benefit” which is reason number 2 for software updates.
    2. Software Bugs. All software programs have defects. This is the reason no computer software comes with a guarantee. I suppose software developers could work and rework the millions of lines of computer code until they had uncovered and corrected every possible defect. The software would then be so expensive and outdated that no one would buy it. So software is released after a reasonable amount of development and testing. As defects are discovered, patches are created to correct the defects. Sometimes these defects are discovered by someone will ill intentions. We call these security defects, and patches are created in a hurry which can cause functionality defects when they are applied thereby necessitating another patch. Microsoft seems to be particularly adept at this kind of death spiral. But, defects are found everywhere. Automobiles and appliances are subject to recalls, airplanes crash because some small but critical part fails, and houses burn down because a wire got too hot. It is the nature of our high tech world. And the higher we go with technology, the more spectacular the failures get. Imagine riding in your self driving car when the computer software that is driving encounters a defect. Oops.
    3. New hardware. The companies that build computers are constantly improving their products. Each new computer generation is more reliable, more capable, and less expensive. In order to achieve these order of magnitude improvements, computer architecture changes. Software must be rewritten to operate on the new hardware, and to take advantage of new hardware capabilities. It is a never ending cycle driven by us, the customer. We demand the most for the least, and just like we turned away from Wordperfect, we will put any company out of business that fails to keep up with our expectations. It is a viscous cycle. No one is more aware of this than IT guys, believe me.

    I’m not making excuses. I’m also a consumer of IT products. I’m also frustrated by changes to the computer programs I use every day. But I also know why those changes happen. They happen for the same reason we don’t build Corvair flight engines the same way we did 10 years ago.

    So, keep up the good fight William. Your writings are entertaining and informative. I began my journey to build an airplane at the front end. I never imagined I would decide to build a flight engine with something designed by Chevrolet in the 1950s with the last one built in the 1960s. But your website and your book have me convinced that for me, this is the right engine to build an airplane around that will take the people I love high above the earth.

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