Experts Exchange EE News Mar 2009

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March 18, 2009 >>

What's New at Experts Exchange
A new old Moderator, Geniuses and Kudos

Empowered IT Pros Save Time and Money
Empower yours with a Corporate Account

Yours Absolutely Free
stone5150 on getting stuff you don't want for free

You Can't Make Me Do It
ericpete on why he doesn't blog

More News and Notes
Really bad public relations

Nata's Corner
Two worms and a list of them

New Certificates
New certificate holders, through March 14

Tips From The Moderators
Use the Request Assistance button

What's New at Experts Exchange

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Old New Moderator: DarthMod, who took a sabbatical a couple of years ago to go over to the Light Side, has returned for a second tour of duty as a Moderator. Welcome home, Master!

New Geniuses: Chris-Dent has earned his third Genius certificate, this one in Active Directory. It should come as no surprise that Mestha—the Expert Formerly Known As Sembee—has earned a Genius certificate in Exchange Email Server. BrandonGalderisi and tigermatt each picked up his second Genius certificate, in SQL Server 2005 and Windows 2003 Server, respectively. ushastry has earned 1,000,000 points in the MySQL Server zone.


  • war1 has earned over 18,000,000 points.
  • CEHJ has earned 9,000,000 points overall. He also has 9,000,000 points in the Java zone.
  • Idle_Mind and GrahamSkan have both gone over 4,000,000 points, in the VB.Net and Microsoft Word zones respectively.
  • peter57r earned 7,000,000 points overall.
  • matthewspatrick is the sixth member of EE to have earned at least 2,000,000 points in each of two zones. He has 3,000,000 points in the Excel zone, and just went over the 2,000,000 point mark in Microsoft Access.
  • mplungjan has earned 5,000,000 points in the Javascript zone.

Kudos: GCIT_Manager was having issues with a domain controller that tigermatt helped resolve: "Thanks Matt. Your responses are the most concise and accurate ones I've ever received here."

StephanieDavid's first question at Experts Exchange, about viewing videos on her TV that were played on a laptop, received some great advice from MASQUERAID, and earned him the following: "AWESOME. You are The Man! From now on every time I hear someone say "You da man", I will inform them that MASQUERAID is, in fact, The Man." Upon reading the comment, mbizup pointed out that it took her a while to convince Matt330 that she was, in fact, not Da Man at all.

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Empowered IT Pros Save Time and Money

As a manager or as a coworker, one of the best things that you can do for your company is to empower employees or teammates to excel at their jobs. Providing teammates with the tools they need to accomplish their tasks can save a business time and money by improving productivity, increasing job satisfaction and even reducing employee turnover.

An Experts Exchange Corporate Account is an outstanding way to empower your IT team with all the tools it needs to do its job. A Corporate Account provides each licensee unrestricted access to all the information they need to keep your technology productive in one place. With more than 2.5 million existing solutions and thousands of the world's best Experts at your team's fingertips, your business will be able to solve any technology problem it will ever face.

Here's what one empowered member, Jason1178, has to say about his experience at Experts Exchange:

"Technically, I am ten times better now at my job than before and my ability to communicate efficiently and effectively has also grown thanks to this site…In short, EE may have been one of the best things to happen to me professionally."

>> Empower your team with a Corporate Account!
>> Learn More

Tips From the Moderators

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It must be nearly spring, because over the past week or so, we've had several instances of new members spamming the site for one reason or another. The best thing you can do is to click the Request Attention button in a question, and ask us for help; you can also write to mods "at", and we'll be all over it.

We have been on a bit of a tear lately with regard to people who abandon their questions, and a number of them have had their privileges to post new questions at Experts Exchange ... restricted a little bit so we can get their attention. A few haven't gotten the message, and have created duplicate accounts, so if you see a question that looks like it might be from one of those duplicates, again, use the Request Attention button.

Empowered IT Pros Save Time and Money

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As a manager or as a coworker, one of the best things that you can do for your company is to empower employees or teammates to excel at their jobs. Providing teammates with the tools they need to accomplish their tasks can save a business time and money by improving productivity, increasing job satisfaction and even reducing employee turnover.

An Experts Exchange Corporate Account is an outstanding way to empower your IT team with all the tools it needs to do its job. A Corporate Account provides each licensee unrestricted access to all the information they need to keep your technology productive in one place. With more than 2.5 million existing solutions and thousands of the world's best Experts at your team's fingertips, your business will be able to solve any technology problem it will ever face.

Here's what one empowered member, Jason1178, has to say about his experience at Experts Exchange:

"Technically, I am ten times better now at my job than before and my ability to communicate efficiently and effectively has also grown thanks to this site…In short, EE may have been one of the best things to happen to me professionally."

arrowEmpower your team with a Corporate Account!
arrowLearn More

Congratulations to 23 companies that have recently empowered their IT teams:

Nebraska Public Power District
Washington County Public Schools
Canadian Forces College
Wolters Kluwer
Sierra Nevada Corporation
ATS Automation Tooling Systems
Foster Wheeler North America
Famous Enterprises
Ergogroup AS
Bruce Power
Comprehensive Software Systems
Mentor Corporation

Sansum Clinic
The Security Industry Authority
Medical Development International
Mondial Assistance USA
Southeast Kansas Education Service Center
City of Norfolk, VA
University of Kansas Hospital
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke
Hill College
Medico Insurance Company
Edmonton Economic Development Corporation

Corporate accounts

arrow Empower your team with a Corporate Account!
arrow Learn More

Yours Absolutely Free

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stone5150 is the network administrator and de facto help desk for a non-profit organization that is conveniently located just a few blocks away from a Taco Bell.

Most of the time people know that when you are offered something for nothing there is a catch. Almost every time there is a catch. But people seem to think they should get free things on the internet for some reason. I like free things as much as anyone else, but I don't expect to get anything actually free. When someone offers me something I didn't work or pay for, I start looking for how they are going to make me work and/or pay for it later.

Someone brought me their kid's computer to clean up, it was chock full of viruses yet again. I don't really mind, it gives me a little extra cash on a regular basis. It can be frustrating at times though trying to chase down various problems. This time was the worst yet, I ended up having to do format the hard drive to finally get rid of all the infections. I just hope the kid still has his WoW install disk.

I got curious to how someone would go about getting so many nasty infections, so I dug though some of the internet history files. I found that the kid frequently visited standard porn and crack sites. I wasn't overly surprised to find that out but I wasn't about to tell his mom what I found other than the massive amount of infection. If asked, I would have, but I am almost never asked. After all, since no one is getting hurt and it is making me extra cash, it isn't my place to tell someone how to raise their kids, no matter how much I want to.

Obviously this kid went looking for, and found, some porn and some applications for free. In addition to free stuff he got some viruses and spyware, a package deal if you will. Overall it was a really good deal if you only look at the numbers, he got somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,500 various types of malware along with the dozen programs and a few hours of porn he went searching for. But this stuff obviously wasn't free, it ended up costing him $150 and loss of his computer for nearly a week.

I guess the moral of the story is that if you go looking for something for nothing you will get more than you bargained for... and keep service people like me in business.

You Can't Make Me Do It

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An editor by trade, a writer by avocation and an Expert by some cosmic practical joke, ericpete puts together the newsletter for Experts Exchange.

I write a lot about the news media; it's what I know. My parents—who decided to escape the suburbs of Los Angeles for rural Northern California when I was eight—bought a couple of little weekly newspapers that, during the time the family owned them, went from hot lead through offset printing and phototypesetting to computers, and were just beginning to investigate that new-fangled Internet thingy.

The one constant was their attitude towards the news. They were always fair, they knew that the context and history behind a story mattered, and they never blamed a high school player for fumbling a football; it might have happened, but they figured that children—even 17-year-olds—shouldn't be ripped for it in the same way college and professional players were. I'm not sure what they would write if some sophomore at the local high school was arrested for sexting.

But because of that attitude, I've never had much use for most radio, and have virtually no use for television news. I have even less use for blogging (some evidence to the contrary notwithstanding). Most blogs can fall into one of three categories: rehashes of someone else's work that is lifted generously from other blogs, the oversimplified ramblings of someone whose research has consisted of reading the top three links shown on a Google search, or the despair at the fate of a neighborhood cat that thought he could outmaneuver an oncoming automobile. That doesn't mean all blogs are useless—just most of them. My buddy Kevin calls them "noise"—like what used to happen to the TV when the broadcast signal failed.

I don't mind when a blogger has an agenda; veteran reporters often get moved over to the op-ed pages of newspapers because after covering a beat for a while, one develops biases. Mine tends toward a disdain for almost every bureaucracy anywhere, but especially governmental ones. There's something that rankles me about the arbitrary decisions to delay resolving a situation by those people whose livelihood consists of turning "public service" into an oxymoron overshadowed only by "exact estimate"—and it annoys me even more that they feel their entitled to the job at a pay rate higher, with better benefits, than their counterparts in private enterprise. State employees unhappy with the Governator over one furloughed day off a month? Please. Tell it to the 1.8 million people who have lost their jobs in the last year or so.

But what really bothers me about blogging is this: Newspaper reporters are almost compelled to report accurately; for one thing, they are employed by someone who can be held accountable for anything published that isn't accurate. As a reporter, one cannot allege some local supervisor of having a special fondness for farm animals without verification. ISPs don't have to worry about it; they aren't publishers of the sites they host, but rather, they just provide the press, the paper and the ink. But even those sites that host blogs can get away without being held responsible.

Jim Cramer, who blogs for both CNBC and, is an example of why I do not be accused of blogging. Apparently, he has no qualms at all about writing things about Apple CEO Steve Jobs, knowing full well that they're going to have an immediate and direct impact on Apple's stock price. He doesn't do it because they're true (in fact, they are frequently not); he does it because he can, and while the SEC has rules against such manipulations for the purpose of profiting, Cramer doesn't have that as a motive. He's just a weasel.

To paraphrase Marx (Groucho, not the other guy), that's a club to which I would just as soon not belong.

More News and Notes

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Really bad public relations: Companies make strategic errors all the time. Banks will buy insurance that the price of housing will continue to rise, knowing full well that they've been handing out mortgages to anyone who is breathing using criteria that would scare away the worst dockside loan shark. Automobile companies will do the same thing, hiding the expensive inefficiencies that make their products overpriced. But it's another thing entirely when you're a security company that includes in an update an executable file that sends information back to you—without telling your customers that you're doing it. About the only thing you can do that's worse: you can delete questions about the file from your user forums, which is exactly what Symantec did.

Happy Birthday: The World Wide Web is 20 (Tim Berners-Lee's original proposal, warts and all, is still available). Nata is a little bit older.

Only in Chicago: Let's see. A governor removed from office for offering to sell a US Senate seat. A US Senator who may have thought about buying it. The Cubs. And a sheriff suing Craigslist because he thinks it's a bordello. About the only thing missing is a cop who posts his thoughts about being Denzel Washington in Training Day on MySpace and Facebook and loses a conviction because of it.

Maybe Ghostie will learn something after all: MIT professor Barbara Liskov has won the Turing Award, the computing industry's equivalent of the Nobel prize.

Numbers: In case you're curious, here's what a trillion dollars (one-eleventh of the national debt of the United States) looks like. (Thanks, Kent!) It looks a lot worse to the 30 per cent of the world's billionaires who are no longer on the Forbes list.

Fairey tale: Susan Kirkland's article last issue noted that the Associated Press had sued Shepard Fairey over the use of an AP-owned photograph for a poster. Turns out that Fairey had sued first, so the AP filing is actually a countersuit. Looks like Fairey has used enough of other people's work to almost qualify as a class action.

Just don't stare at it: Just in time for the newspaper industry's Sunshine Week, the Obama administration has decided that a treaty dealing with copyrights is classified information. Just out of spite, we hope someone follows the lead of whoever leaked a draft EU proposal on open source, heavily edited by a Microsoft flack, to WikiLeaks.

Official time-waster for the next two weeks: The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament pools.

Signs of the Apocalypse: A Microsoft executive, Philip Reitinger, was named to protect the federal government's computer systems, and a Google executive, Tim Armstrong, is the new CEO at AOL, taking over the same week the company laid off 10 per cent of its employees.

Nata's Corner

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Nata's PictureThe Conficker and Koobface worms are back. Conficker, also known as Downadup, was in the headlines in January when it infected millions of computers exploiting a Windows vulnerability, but now, the people who wrote it have updated it; instead of getting instructions from 250 domains, it will now get instructions from a list of 50,000 URLs. It also turns off the security and protection systems on the computers it infects. The good news is that instead of infecting millions of computers, it is estimated to be on "only" hundreds of thousands, but a new variation of it is due out on April 1.

Koobface is quite a bit different in that while it has spread rapidly, it generally does so by targeting users of social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, and depends a lot on the lack of sophistication on the part of users. Still, Microsoft has added it to their Malicious Software Removal Tool, and will be trying again to rid computers of the infestation.

Speaking of infestations, the slimeball that sued for calling him a spammer is at it again, sending out SMS messages in New Zealand, lending credence to the notion that somewhere in that beautiful land Orcs really do exist. Somehow, he hasn't made the list of the worst of the worst... yet.

Finally, people seem to be having some problems with IE7 crashing when running on Vista, specifically when they're visiting pages that have Flash movies on them; in fact, I've heard of other people having problems with Firefox as well. The most common advice is to uninstall Flash and then reinstall it, which seems to work for a while, but the problems always seem to come back after a few days. The one system I've heard of that is reasonably permanent is to use Adobe's uninstaller to remove the plug-in, and then reinstall it.

And finally, what a botnet looks like from the inside. The BBC bought one and tested it—with fascinating results.

New Certificates

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abelCascading Style Sheets (CSS)Master
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