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Your Technology Problems...SOLVED

MARCH 27, 2013

Featured Content

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

Nata's Corner
Harvard, hacking and hiding

The Streisand Effect
Google's soul ogooglebar

Editors' Choice Article
The "Hello World" Exercise

In Brief
Things you might have missed

Who did what through March 23

What's New at E-E

HarperSocial Notes: The newest member of the Experts Exchange family is Harper, born March 21 to Steve and Deanna Lucas; her grandparents are Nata and Netminder.

Guest blogger (and the latest podcast): When EE asked teksquisite if she would come up with a guest blog post, they had no idea that she would write what has to be a definitive guide to securing a self-hosted WordPress site. She then called in to talk with our Brittny Peloquin about security (and the lack of it) for this week's podcast. All of the Experts Exchange podcasts are available on iTunes and SoundCloud, and you can listen to them on the Stitcher app for iOS and Android mobile devices.

Used in solution: The system that allows you to link to an article as a solution to a question has been upgraded significantly. You can now use any of the following formats:

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  • Links created by the URL Shortener that you can find in the footer.

BugfinderBugFinder: BugFinder is Experts Exchange's new system that allows you to post your website and have Experts help you find the problems with spelling and grammar, display issues, functionality and security issues, or just get feedback. You assign points based on the nature of the bugs found, and can reward those Experts who help you out the most. Check it out.

Charity: Tim Holman will be riding a bicycle from London to Paris to help raise money for Pancreatic Cancer UK in honor of his father, who died just before Christmas 2011 of the disease.

Raspberry Pi: We have a winner in our contest to see who can take Raspberry Pi model B come up with something interesting from it. wfranzin will also get a $100 Newegg.com gift card to replace the "check engine" light with a check the Pi device.

Cats: The bad news: you have only a couple of days left to enter EE's latest contest. The good news: that means they'll be picking a winner shortly.

DrackulaDrackula: It's a data center app that doesn't bite, also known as dRACKula. Designed by EE's sysadmins, who were frustrated with lost productivity configuring and updating server racks, it allows you to monitor and update your systems with a smart phone or tablet -- from anywhere. There's even a free trial, so you have nothing to lose.

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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The "Hello World" Exercise with jQuery and PHP
By Ray_Paseur

jQuery is a JavaScript library that greatly simplifies JavaScript programming.

AJAX is an acronym formed from "Asynchronous JavaScript and XML." AJAX refers to any communication between client and server, when the human client does not observe a new page load. An HTTP request occurs, but it occurs as a result of a JavaScript event, rather than an explicit page load or form submission. As a result, the web page takes on an appearance much like a desktop application, with smooth transitions as data is added or removed from the viewport. This is often referred to as the "Web 2.0" effect.

I found myself looking around for a jQuery/AJAX "Hello World" example (that simplest of scripts to prove that the essential moving parts are working correctly). There are lots of partial examples in many different places all over the WWW, but nothing seemed complete and well-documented, so I decided to write my own. Here is the result of that effort.


Nata's Corner

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Nata's PictureHarvard University is getting some bad publicity lately because the school looked at email headers to help identify the extent of a cheating scandal that broke last fall. It was obvious that people were going to be upset about it -- but isn't Harvard one of those schools that prides itself on having an honor code, and an expectation by professors that students won't cheat?

In my last column, I mentioned in passing that you shouldn't dump an old hard drive into the garbage can, but should take it to a e-recycling center. If the device is still working (like an old cell phone), until a few weeks ago, you used to be able to trade them in using EBay's Instant Sale, but no longer. There are still a few other services that do the same thing, but they're... well... not EBay.

It's hard for me to be very sympathetic to people like Andrew Auenheimer, who was sentenced to less than four years in prison for hacking into AT&T's network and stealing iPad email addresses. Not that I'm a fan of AT&T, but this is personal data of customers of a corporate entity (who should have done more to protect it, but that's a different issue). Contrast that with the punishment threatened for Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide after being charged under the same laws and was told he could go to prison for 35 years in prison and owe $1 million in fines for accessing scientific papers from MIT.

You see it on TV all the time: the cops checking the texts on a cell phone found at a crime scene that inevitably leads to the perpetrator. In real life, a whole bunch of police organizations want cell phone companies to keep both logs and the texts themselves of every text you send and receive. At the same time, there's a bill in Congress that would make it illegal for police to use the GSP signal in your phone to track you without a warrant -- another favorite of television script writers. You think that maybe I'm being a little bit paranoid? A couple of weeks ago, researchers published a study that found governments, including the US, Australia, Great Britain and a few others, are using off-the-shelf software to spy on their citizens.

There are a few signs that maybe all hope is not lost, though. A federal judge in California ruled that "National Security Letters" -- the ones that the government can send to a company to get information about its customers, and the company isn't even supposed to say it's gotten the letter -- are unconstitutional. A couple of weeks ago, Google released information anyway, and now, after the judge's ruling, Microsoft has done the same thing. And of course, there's never been any guarantee that the government will ever find anything.

Finally, if you own a Mac and still think you're immune from malware, guess again. You're not.

Google and streisanding

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ericpete is a former newspaper editor, occasional low-level Expert and basketball junkie who has spent over 13 years at Experts Exchange, and has spent much of the last decade editing the EE newsletter.

One of the best things we ever did in our youth was spend about thirteen months in the delightful city of Skellefteå, in the northern part of Sweden (we look at the local paper every once in a while), so it was with no small amount of schadenfreude that we are able to include -- in part because of some technical difficulties getting the newsletter "on to the press" this week -- an item from the Christian Science Monitor that says that Google has asked the Swedish Language Council -- an organization that defines a word and issues the official Swedish spelling of it -- to remove ogooglebar, which means "ungoogleable", from its list of new words.

The story, in Swedish, is here.

Now, before you all head to Wikipedia (or even Google) to find out about Sweden, it's about the same size as California (and long and narrow, like California), but has only about a fourth of the population, about 9 million. People in Norway and Denmark can usually understand words spoken and written in Swedish, and a fair portion of the Finnish population is familiar enough with the language to be able to understand it, but let's face it -- it's not in the top ten of commonly spoken languages around the world. So if there are going to be any dilution of the word, it will be Google's own fault.

Google certainly hasn't raised any objections with the film and television communities; there aren't many television shows today that don't have someone referring to "googling" something, and in more than a few ways, the folks who have been running Google like the idea of hanging with the same politicians that celebrities do. Microsoft has gone so far as to produce commercials for Bing that even ask people what search engine they use, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out which one Microsoft is going after. About the only reason we've never used the word Google as a verb is because we're wary of what a parent who taught us to never use a proper noun as a verb would say.

Google was successful in getting those dastardly Swedes to remove the word from its list -- which, of course, will have absolutely no impact (except maybe on an occasional term paper somewhere) on whether the Swedes continue to use the word. You'd think someone in the Googleplex would be familiar with the Streisand Effect (we couldn't resist using a Swedish site's definition) when it comes to the Internet. At this writing, the word shows up 377,000 times in Google's search results, but give it until after the 10 o'clock news.

To that end, we hereby vow to use "ogooglebar" whenever we can't find something by searching: an article that tells us how to do something in CSS, the book we know we have somewhere that we can't find, or even the car keys. "Ogooglebar" is the least we can do for Sweden.

In the meantime, we have some advice for Mr Page & Co.: Take a couple of aspirin, grab some kleenex -- and go xerox yourselves.

In Brief

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The Ring drove your brother mad: Google is developing a USB ring to replace passwords, but we can see people holding out for tattoos.

The Blood of Numenor is all but spent, its pride and dignity forgotten: The Internet in a nutshell. The smaller problem of two people losing their jobs obscures two larger issues that have been muddied enough recently: First, that there are a lot more men in tech than there are women, and that a lot of them are rather deficient in social skills -- but they're also the vast majority of people skilled in the work tech companies want done; and second, that tech companies are pretty bad at minority hiring, probably for the same reasons. It's old news.

Whatever you did, you've been officially labeled a disturber of the peace: You can find out a lot with a botnet.

One does not simply walk into Mordor. Its black gates are guarded by more than just orcs: If you haven't done so, you'd better get your hands on the first (and apparently only) service pack for Windows 7, because if it isn't installed, Microsoft won't support you after April 9.

Don't turn me into anything... unnatural: What happens when sales fall, your new release stumbles and your CEO "quits"? Your stock rises.

...the Dark Lord Sauron forged in secret, a master ring, to control all others: We can see it coming. It's going to take something bad happening before anyone takes utility cybersecurity seriously, because the bad guys are out there. It certainly won't be a coincidence.

The ring came to the creature Gollum, who took it deep into the tunnels under the Misty Mountains, and there it consumed him: Matthew Keys, a "social media editor" for Reuters who is accused of giving login information for The Tribune Co., parent of (among others) the Los Angeles Times to members of Anonymous, says he didn't do it.

A Balrog. A demon of the ancient world. This foe is beyond any of you. Run! Should anyone be terribly surprised?

There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world: Visa is being sued for arbitrarily charging excessive fees to a retailer that was breached, even though no customer data was stolen.

It came to me, my own, my love... my... preciousssss: Intrade shut down over "financial irregularities". And of course, there's always Florida.

Many that live deserve death: Now all you young folks can see what all the fuss was about.

Precious? It's been called that before, but not by you: Google Drive had issues. Also having issues: Google's department of "lets see what we don't need any more" as it announced a shut down of its RSS feed, Google Reader, and then changed its mind -- sorta after a good amount of predictable sound and fury (and finding alternatives). And one can only wonder if the grumbling about Glass will ease up when the price comes down.

Do not take me for some conjuror of cheap tricks! Damn the bad luck. A botnet is taking a lot of money out of the hands of the people who buy ads on behalf of others. Y'know... the ones who don't produce anything, but just get their hands wet for convincing others to spend money for advertising.

The language is that of Mordor, which I will not utter here: There. Someone finally said it.

A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins: Apple, whose founder mercilessly trashed Adobe Flash, has hired Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch.

Your love of the halfings' leaf has clearly slowed your mind: Our new favorite site that comes in handy when dealing with that one department everyone knows about. While we're being easily amused, 404 pages. And for some reason, this seems like a perfectly appropriate name.

Nobody tosses a dwarf: What to do about performance appraisals. Don't be surprised if some people don't get it.

Yet hope remains while the Company is true: If you're having trouble selling software, you can always pay people to buy it.

If I take one more step, it'll be the farthest away from home I've ever been: We're not going to go into the whole "warp factor" thing, because you still can't get there from here. On the other hand, we will wish James Tiberius Kirk a happy birthday.

You can learn all there is to know about their ways in a month: North Korea, using techniques learned in China, is suspected of causing a major meltdown of South Korea's financial and media networks. The Chinese say they're willing to talk about cybersecurity, but talking and doing something about it are two different things.

Even the smallest person can change the course of the future: Happy birthday, Twitter! Here's where you stack up against other social networks, and what you can tell people about your users.

I need a holiday. A very long holiday. (AKA Signs of the Apocalypse): Internet rants don't work. Meaningless phrases in resumes. Meaningless likes, tweets and views.


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New Geniuses: Ray_Paseur's sixth Genius certificate is in JavaScript, while Sharath_123 has earned his first in MS SQL Server 2005. Well done!


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