DIY-IT project guide: The ultimate resource for SMBs

Updated: If you're working on a DIY project of your own, this comprehensive guide to tech projects is a good place to start.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor

Welcome to the DIY-IT Project Guide. Feel free to explore the projects below, try any of the projects out for yourself, and let us know about the neat stuff you're doing.























About DIY-IT's Project Guide

No matter how successful you are, when you're a small business owner, sweat equity is a major resource. Basically, whenever you can DIY something and either save some money or get a previously unobtainable capability, you do so.

Since I'm a geek, my life is filled with interesting hacks and projects that let me do more than a normal small business budget would allow. And, also, since I'm a geek, my life is also filled with hacks that are simply cool, fun, or just plain neat.

Many of these projects, like the Broadband Studio, are composed of smaller projects. Each of those are discussed as individual articles. This guide is designed to aggregate those individual posts, so you can find everything related to a given project in one place.

Here at ZDNet's DIY-IT, our goal is to take you inside some of those projects, inspire you, and -- when we're very lucky -- get inspired back by you.

See also: And now for something completely different. Welcome to DIY-IT!

So, let's get started with one of our favorite projects...


3D printing is becoming affordable and easy enough to use that we expect to see increasing adoption among end users, small businesses, and creative professionals. In our 3D Printing Discovery Series, we go hands on and, learning together, begin using, designing, and creating with 3D printing.

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The Google Voice project started originally in 2011, and was then updated in 2014, with some further updates in 2015. As Google Voice has changed, along with smartphone capabilities, we migrated from a landline-centric phone environment to a smartphone-centric phone environment. In presenting this series of articles, I'll take you through chronologically in terms of how I explored Google Voice. That means the last article will be the most up-to-date in terms of my current use (which is substantially reduced from what it started out as).

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This project started with a simple goal: create a near-broadcast quality studio for Skype video in a spare bedroom. Over time, however, it expanded beyond Skype and we continue to tweak it, refine it, and add new capabilities.

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There are only 24 hours in a day; at least a few of them should be used for sleep. The rest of them have to be split between family time, playing with the puppy, binge-watching Netflix, and, you know, making a living. Every year, it seems we're asked to do more and more with less and less time. Here, then, are a series of articles that can help you boost your productivity, get more out of your day, and make sure you don't drop any important balls through the cracks in your life. Let's do this!

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My first iPhone was an iPhone 3G. Then I upgraded to the iPhone 4s. Then I jumped ship to the Android Galaxy S4. But now I'm back, carrying an iPhone 6s Plus as my daily driver. We also own a pile of iPads (along with some Nexus tablets and Kindles). With the help of a loaner from Microsoft, I also subjected a flagship Windows phone to the test. If you're interested in mobile and smartphones (and who isn't?), here are some articles that might help you out.

Carrier and buying tips



Apple Watch



Windows Phone

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Just how far can one push a late-2013 iMac? In this series of articles, I take you through my reasoning and setup of what is now my main desktop machine. Further down, you can read more of my articles on Macs and OS X.

Maxed-out iMac

Macs and OS X

Some old Mavericks rants

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I live my professional life in email. It is the single most important application I use. Over the years, I've gone on an ongoing quest to optimize my email experience. A few years ago, I switched from a hosted Exchange solution to Office 365 and then about 18 months later, switched again to Gmail. Here are both sets of stories, along with some helpful tips and techniques no matter which email service you use.

Switching to Gmail

Earlier, my switch to Office 365

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Amazon touches almost everything we do, from hosting our favorite Netflix movies (and our own Web sites) to sending us our goods and services, to providing us with books to read, and even - through the amazing Echo - turning our lights off at night and waking us in the morning. Ever since Amazon's Echo (we call her Alexa) entered our lives, she's become part of the family. In this series, we share reviews, tips, and observations of Amazon's key products and services.

General Amazon

Amazon Echo

Kindle Considerations

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It's often quite a challenge deciding between purchasing options. In our DIY-IT How to Decide series, we present the key criteria you need to consider before making a decision and then walk you through the decision-making process step-by-step.

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Over the past few years, Microsoft has undergone tremendous change. In these articles, we chronicle the hits, runs, and surprising errors Microsoft has made along the way.

Microsoft Strategy



XP obsolescence

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Some of the most popular articles here on DIY-IT have been stories about how to succeed in business (and some cautionary tales about those who haven't). If you've ever wanted to create your own app, start your own software company, or make money in the business of technology, these articles are for you.

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As the Internet has grown, it has proven disruptive to many industries. One of the last old-school holdouts is television, but not for long. In this series of articles, we explore cord-cutting, TV trends, and home TV tech.

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I have a lot of local storage here at Camp David, much of it for management of media used in my presentations, webcasts, and lessons. In this series of articles, I'll describe two projects: one the quest for a versatile media manager and the other about the construction of my Mark I media tank (which has subsequently been replaced by Drobos.

The quest for versatile media asset management

Building the Mark I Media Tank

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Chromebooks are interesting beasts. They're essentially browsers-in-a-box. They combine low cost with easy maintenance and relatively substantial capabilities. In this series of articles, we explore the Chromebook.

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Ever since the iPad, tablets and smartphones have eaten away at the dominance of the PC. In these articles, we look at tablets and get tough on the choices and options.

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Security is becoming an ever-more important issue across all of computerdom. Here on ZDNet, we are constantly covering new exploits, tips, and cautionary tales, so make sure you check out Zero Day. We've also covered security topics here on DIY-IT, and the following articles may prove helpful in keeping your computers, servers, and networks secure.

Logitech Alert series

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Experience provides perspective and in this series of articles, we look back at the changes and growth in the computing field, as well as some personal experiences and war stories.

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I have long had a love-rant relationship with Linux. For years, Linux ran my servers, but it (and the Linux community) have also reached out to bite me where it hurts most. What follows are some tips and tirades about Linux.

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When we speak of "the cloud," we're really using a shorthand for services located off-premises, in data centers operated often by vendors like Amazon and Google. IT has changed ever since it became possible to offload capital expenditures to service providers and buy IT capabilities as you need it. But there are challenges. The following articles look at "the cloud" and help you understand the challenges and choices, so you can make informed decisions.

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Of all the apps and applications we use each day, the browser is probably the most important. Like many of us, I've moved to Chrome. Here are some articles, tips, and thoughts about Chrome and Firefox (remember Firefox?).

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I currently operate more than a dozen Web sites, including archive sites containing thousands of articles. Since about 2010, most of those sites have run on WordPress. This article series contains tips and techniques for managing WordPress sites, along with some hard-won lessons I learned along the way.

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In our video series, Better Know a Blogger, we sit down for in-depth conversations with highly-respected bloggers and discuss not only their areas of expertise, but their lifestyles, blogging practice, and more.

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