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Your Technology Problems...SOLVED

JANUARY 2, 2013

Featured Content

What's New at Experts Exchange
From the SLO and beyond

Editor's Choice Article
Test-driven development

Tip From The Moderators
Helping with cleanup

Nata's Corner
Year-end lists and children

In Brief
Things you might have missed

Who did what through Dec. 29

What's New at E-E

Giving back: Over the last couple of years, the Experts at EE have donated their t-shirts to Water Run, and have built two wells. Currently, over 1 billion people around the world lack access to clean drinking water and nearly 6,000 people (5,000 of which are children), die every day as a result of diseases from contaminated water. So, until all everyone has access to this most basic human necessity, Experts Exchange will continue to partner with Water Run to build wells for people in need.

EE is raising funds to build a well in the Aditigray Village of Ethiopia (GPS coordinates: E39.25018, N13.2558). The region is home to over 350 people in need of clean drinking water -- but to fund the well, at least 500 t-shirts must be donated. If you would like to donate some of your t-shirts to the Experts Exchange Charity Challenge, follow the normal t-shirt redemption process:

  • Edit your profile.
  • Click the Rewards tab.
  • Click the Shirts link in that tab. You will see a list of the shirts that you have earned and are eligible to redeem.
  • Click the Redeem button. You will be taken to a page asking for your shipping information and t-shirt size.
  • Write Donate to charity in every field on the page that asks for your shipping information and t-shirt size.
  • Click Submit.

If you don't have t-shirts to redeem, you can also donate directly; make sure you put "Experts Exchange" in the memo field, as EE CEO Randy Redberg will be matching all of the donations.

Webinar: The recorded version of aikimark's webinar on advanced filtering in Excel is now available on our site.

Survey: Experts Exchange wants to know what you think about the past twelve months by taking its first annual membership survey. You could be the recipient of an EE prize pack, including a shirt, 4 GB flash drive and a snow globe. Trust us; the snow globes are like none other.

Kudos: CRB1609 was looking for some help changing a field name, and received a response from LSMConsulting: "Thank you, Scott. Your help with this, and adding fields and deleting tables, has guided me to a practical and elegant solution to a long time problem. I can now be far more responsive to client requests for updates, by making small changes to the back-end, as required, without having to plan major upgrades with data conversion programs, importing and exporting tables, and all that it entails. This has changed the way I think about the ongoing development of my software. I have also learned a lot, which makes me feel better about myself as a professional developer. I can't thank you enough."

Free trial: Know someone who could benefit from Experts Exchange, but who has always said that s/he doesn't want to spend some money on something without trying it? Have that person fill out this form and they'll get a 90-day free trial.

Free pixels: If you use Experts Exchange for your business, share your story with a photograph or video, and we'll put it up -- including a link to your company's website -- on our Business Stories page.

Editor's Choice Article

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A Quick Tour of Test-Driven Development
By Ray_Paseur

On Monday, October 17, 2011, the A.Word.A.Day "Thought for Today" was "A problem well stated is a problem half solved." -- attributed to Charles F. Kettering, inventor and engineer (1876-1958).

The Greatest Handicap a Programmer Can Have
The author of a question here at EE wrote. "I have no test data besides some stuff I can come up with." http://www.experts-exchange.com/Programming/Languages/Regular_Expressions/Q_27305841.html#a36556359

That statement got me thinking about the difference between professional programmers and amateurs who try to "pick up" programming on their own, perhaps by reading computer programs and copying code written by others. Certainly that is one way to learn some things about programming, but it overlooks the most important part of programming, which is the process by which the code is created. Examining a finished computer program is something like examining a freshly baked apple pie. You can appreciate the finished product, but where would you start if someone gave you a basket of apples? What other ingredients would you need? What tools would you use? What process would you follow? How much time should it take? These things are not apparent as you look at that pie. They are not apparent as you look at computer code, either.


Nata's Corner

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Nata's PictureimageMy year-end list of lists:

I spent a good portion of my life in retail management, and if there's one thing I've learned, it's that while the customer isn't always right, it's a lot better to try to work out a problem than it is to deny that a problem exists. We bought gift cards as Christmas presents from Kohl's, and when one disappeared -- probably in wrapping paper -- we asked if they could replace it, and they did after only a couple of minutes of checking. Granted, that's not on the order of what Zappos does, but it's a lot better than what you get from Expedia.

A botnet that used Facebook to infect 11 million computers and steal about $850 million was shut down by the FBI, which arrested ten suspects. The worm is usually disguised as a NVIDIA driver.

A couple of issues ago, I made mention of our first experience with Windows 8, and I included the fact that there's no obvious "Start" button. Almost by magic, the good people at Tech Republic came out with an article on how to build your own. Some of the steps aren't for the faint of heart, though, so if and when I get a Windows 8 machine, I might have to get used to the Windows button on the keyboard.

The Federal Trade Commission has made the rules regarding what information websites collect from children more strict, so if you have kids, expect to spend a little more time going through things like Terms of Use. The FTC fell short of requiring app stores to monitor for the information its partners are collecting though.

Finally, speaking of children, have you performed 26 acts of kindness yet?

In Brief

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Googacolypse: Both Gmail and Chrome crashed, as did Tumblr, but Twitter persevered.

First act of kindness: Anonymous has found a new target: the Westboro Baptist Church, a small congregation that took to protesting at the funerals of soldiers killed in battle. The church had announced plans to show up at a vigil for the Sandy Hook shooting victims.

Clueless at 30 Rock: After NBC's fiasco at the 2012 Olympics we're not terribly surprised that they don't get Facebook either. What's truly scary is that the cluelessness extends to local TV stations too.

Want maps on your iPad? There's an app for that. Again.

First world problems: Instagram (bought by Facebook just before its IPO) fired the first shot by blocking its photos on Twitter, so Twitter retaliated by releasing a filtering system that allowed users to bypass Instagram.

The acquisition by Facebook had a predictable influence on Instagram, by the way; the company's change to its terms of use provoked countless tweets, posts and protests, along with the inevitable corporate two-step backwards. Given Facebook's history, expect the changes to be back sooner, rather than later, if only because a picture is worth a thousand words.

Happy birthday: Stan Lee. You had doubts? You shouldn't. Or more doubts? You shouldn't. Or other doubts? You shouldn't. For one thing, Google is smugly proud of its handiwork.

In requiem: N. Joseph Woodland, inventor of the bar code; and Jack Klugman, one of the 12 angry men who also led the way for CSI and an emerging biotech industry.

Kick 'em while they're down: RIM is being sued for patent infringement again. Speaking of kickers, does your team need one? And while we're on the subject of trolls, the EU is both enabling and imposing sanctions on them.

Light reading: At least, for anyone whose travels have taken them through a US airport.

Help wanted at Palpatine LLC: We had an item a few weeks back about the cost-effectiveness of building a Death Star. Now, the Obama administration has to address the issue.

Signs of the Apocalypse: AOL is 2012's strongest tech stock. "Advertising scientist". And there's no reason to think that anything has changed.


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New Geniuses: ScottPletcher has earned his third Genius certificate, this one coming in MS SQL Server 2008. Earning his first was amitkulshrestha, in Exchange Server. Great job, folks!

First Million: Reaching the 1,000,000 point level in December were akahan, chilternPC and Razmus. Congratulations to all!


  • hanccocka is the 34th member of Experts Exchange to earn 10,000,000 points overall.
  • DaveBaldwin has earned 7,000,000 points overall.
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