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Your Technology Problems...SOLVED

MARCH 28, 2012

Featured Content

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

Nata's Corner
Texting and tracking

Tip From The Mods
The Community Support TAs

Articles of Note
From EE's Articles and Blogs

In Brief
Things you might have missed

Who did what through March 24

What's New at E-E

mplungjanWinner: mplungjan is the winner of our contest to get the word out about EEv10; he will soon have his hands on an iPad 3 for his efforts. Thanks, Michel, and congratulations on becoming the newest member of the 10,000,000 point club!

Kudos: Even some of the most experienced users find themselves in a quandary; such was the case with matthewspatrick (ninth on EE's all time Hall of Fame), who ran into an annoying virus and turned to EE. He came across jmarkfoley's question on Security Shield, and that led him to younghv's article on Rogue Killer: "Just wanted to let you know that your suggestion of a one-two punch of Rogue Killer and MalwareBytes allowed me to dispatch the very annoying Security Shield 2012 virus today. Thanks for this article, and for your answer over [in Security]."

Jenedge73 wanted to do a reverse phone lookup, returning the names that corresponded to a long list of phone numbers. The data was already in Microsoft Excel, perfectly set up for a simple HLOOKUP formula. Only problem -- there were about 1300 different phone books that had to be searched. As it happened, byundt had worked with dlmille on a previous question to find a way of passing a 3D range (e.g. A1:H20 for every worksheet between Sheet1 and Sheet1300) to a user-defined function. From that starting point, he wrote a 3D version of HLOOKUP for Jenedge73's question. dlmille then posted a formula using INDIRECT that returned a number given a name, taking advantage of the fact that the worksheet names were very repetitious. After some debate back and forth, a formula was proposed using three INDIRECT functions to return the name given the number. Jenedge73 accepted that as the Answer, noting that it only took two minutes to do all the lookups. Since volatile functions, such as INDIRECT, can make a workbook quite sluggish when used to excess, Jenedge73 was asked to measure the time for both approaches. Must to Jenedge73's surprise, "the Hlookup3d is tons more efficient. It does [the initial calculation] quicker and doesn't keep recalculating." While dlmille and byundt predicted to Jenedge73 that HLookup3D might be faster, it took a trade of information between all three experts to know what the best solution really was.

And special props to gregclough, molsen-ee and bobexpert, without whose stellar response under pressure this issue wound not have gone out on time.

Webinar: Mark your calendar for EE's next webinar, on cloud computing applications, presented by Clayton Pippenger, the vice president of application development for Quest, will be on Thursday, April 19, at 11 am. Register here.

Podcast: mbizup, one of our most active Community Volunteers, will join the Experts Exchange crew on this week's podcast to talk about how to get more women in technology. The podcast will be posted to the EE company blog this week.

Beta-tester t-shirts: The new shipment of shirts has finally arrived at the EE office and will be sent out to everyone next week. We thank you for your patience.

User group sponsorship: Over the years, Experts Exchange has sponsored the occasional user group meeting; now, you can get EE to help your user group by first taking a look at the short list of requirements and then filling out the application. EE will come up with up to $300 for your group, and will kick in six-month trial memberships for your group.

Free ink 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.

Certified, customized and cool: If you haven't grabbed one already, be sure to nab your very own certified Expert Badge and show off your skills on your personal blog or website. All the cool kids are doing it!

Articles of Note

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Editors' Choice: PHP/MySQL User Authentication
By Derokorian

Developers of all skill levels should learn to use current best practices when developing websites. However many developers, new and old, fall into the trap of using deprecated features because this is what so many tutorials and books tell them to use! What is deprecated? Well in English it means "to strongly disapprove of." In software, features become deprecated because new features supersede them. The reason for deprecation instead of removal is to provide backwards compatability so programmers can update their code (which doesn't mean it happens!) although deprecated function may be removed completely in future version. So we must learn to cease and desist the use of deprecated functions.

Blog Post: Quickly Install Windows 8 Consumer Preview
By leew

In a previous Experts-Exchange article (http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/Windows_7/A_8951-Boot-from-VHD.html), I described how and why you might want to boot from a VHD. With the release of Windows 8 Consumer Preview, I suspect many people will want to test out the new version of Windows to see what they can complain about (myself included) :-) To facilitate the installation process (make it easier for those interested in playing with it), I wrote a script that should help you quickly setup a VHD for installing Windows 8 without modifying your existing OS (beyond, perhaps, the boot loader).

Below is a summary of the steps I took to install the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on my laptop without affecting my regular Windows 7 install.

Blog Post: jsFiddle -- My Number One Tool
By mplungjan

On the day I achieved Savant status (10,000,000 points) at Experts Exchange I am writing this blog entry to share the most useful tool in my toolbox.

According to the creator Piotr Zalewa it is a

playground for web developers, a tool which may be used in many ways. One can use it as an online editor for snippets built from HTML, CSS and JavaScript

With the possibility of choosing any of the most popular frameworks and add plugins an CSS from elsewhere, it is an incredible tool for

  • trying out a hypothesis
  • visualising a jQuery plugin
  • debugging code snippets
  • giving a demo of an answer -- public or not

and much more.

Nata's Corner

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Nata's PictureI know I've mentioned that we travel to the Midwest fairly frequently. For a long time, we flew, but for the last couple of years, we've been driving -- which normally takes about three days, and gives us an excuse to see some sights and such. I have a new favorite site that just launched: Tingo, where if the price you've booked a room at drops, they refund the difference. The other thing we do is to stop at a nearby place that has free Wi-Fi and book a room on line, then go check in; on line rates are almost always less than what you'll pay when you just walk in the door. Another toy you might like -- if you don't mind the idea of laughing at what the star quarterback in high school looks like now -- is the new extention for Facebook that keeps up with your classmates.

Don't say you weren't warned. If you're applying for a job someplace, you can expect to be asked for the login and password to your Facebook account, and probably your Twitter account too (not that they can't find out anyway). It makes perfectly good sense that if you do share them, you're breaking Facebook's rules, but now the government is getting involved, which means the solution could be worse than the problem. And if you're trying to get a divorce, be careful about trashing your spouse -- even if s/he deserves it. Better to just move them to the casual acquaintances list.

One of the things that's always bugged me -- pardon the expression -- is that there are all these companies spending all this money trying to keep our computers safe, but it seems like the company that makes the operating systems most of our computers run on never does get it right the first time -- and they're always finding more things that are wrong with their systems. I mean... Windows XP is over ten years old, and there have been two releases since then, with a third in beta testing, and there are still vulnerabilties?

Just in case you've forgotten, Google's new privacy policy, which includes the ability to merge all the data about you that it collects from its various sites into one big file, went into effect this month. Google hasn't been saying a lot, but there are a lot of people doing the talking while Google is silent -- and to me, the longer Google goes without explaining things is almost the same as saying that everyone is right about them. It's a little late, but if you still want to change your privacy settings, and do as much as you can to stop Google from tracking pretty much everything you do, the instructions are pretty simple, and if you're more than a little paranoid, there are some tips for protecting your privacy that work.

Finally, if you're in Great Britain, you should be aware that nearly half a million of you have had your personal information, including credit card details, sold by call center workers. Check your statements...

In Brief

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"Because otherwise I'd have to do yardwork?": cyberkiwi posted a fascinating read about overtime and why it doesn't work a couple of weeks ago.

Making a dent: Microsoft and federal marshalls took down a botnet last week, but Microsoft admits that it's only disrupting, and not really putting the bad guys out of business.

Okay. Now they've officially lost it: The TSA swabbed a 3-year-old (in a wheelchair) for explosives residue. Your airport security fees at work... We're sure we don't understand the actual situation.

If you Googled for it and it came up in the SERPs it must be true: ... unless someone in the Google PR department is trying to make a souffle out of a leftover omelet.

No matter how you slice it... Forrest Gump can buy a whole bunch of shrimp boats, even if it's must a drop in the bucket of Apple's cash reserves. And then there's the predictable whining about the iPad 3.

What goes around: Android is now officially back as a part of Linux.

Einstein wasn't so dumb after all: New findings that were the result of research done to verify last year's announcement of faster-than-light particles show that Einstein's special theory of relativity is still the boss. And yes, we missed his birthday last issue, so everyone gets a few reminders.

In requiem: The Encyclopædia Britannica print edition.

Why the US Commerce department should not give up control over the Internet's naming services: Because ICANN can't -- or won't.

Lending a whole new meaning to the word "social": Mike Stone finally found a date (two, actually) for his high school prom, but the school nixed either of them.

Our bracket went in the tank... so we're watching this one instead.

Don't expect to see these in the EE Store: An inexpensive replacement for your Bluetooth.

Honor among sleaze: Yahoo, which has pretty much ruined every company it has acquired over the years, is trying a new tactic to achieve financial growth. It's suing Facebook over everything. WalMart bought a Facebook calendar app with 16 million users so they can remind you of someone's birthday -- and probably suggest a good gift that's available at... yep. And then there are the wireless companies selling the new iPad who skip over the fact that just one of this weekend's NCAA Sweet Sixteen games will burn up your monthly data allotment on a 4G network.

Because we can't resist stirring things up once in a while. (That's for you, Susan!) Apropos of which, note that the folks from Chaotic Moon didn't use an iPad when they were building their thought-powered skateboard. We're not going to let PAQ_Man put one on a Segway, though.

Buddy, can you spare a dime? A good number of the people who shelled out between $600 and $1400 to attend this year's South by Southwest confab in Austin were terribly distraught over a marketing company's hiring -- at $20 a day plus whatever they could collect in donations -- of 13 homeless people who carried wireless Wi-Fi devices and wore custom t-shirts that said "I'm a 4G Hotspot". Apparently the stunt was too disruptive.

Ever been curious how Twitter is gathering information about you to sell to advertisers? Big Macs.

Blog of the Week: Almost everyone techy, at one point or another, has seen something from despair.com ("Marketing: Because making it look good now is more important than providing adequate support later."). A Tumblr collection has upped the ante.

Thanks, Werner: Meanwhile, in Canada...

Serendipity: Remember a couple of months ago when the US Justice department shut down Megaupload and arrested its very strange founder? Now, the record and movie folks want to go after Hotfile, which has Google annoyed. Also annoyed are the US government employees who can't get to their documents because they've been seized by... yep. Oh, and in case you still harbor the fantasy that the record companies are out to protect artists, maybe this is your wake-up call.

Fire sale: If you are one of the gazillion people who haven't bought Microsoft Office 365 for your business, but were mulling it over as being something you might someday think about doing, it's a good thing you've waited, because the price dropped 20 per cent a couple of weeks ago.

Signs of the Apocalypse: Microsoft as one of the world's most ethical companies. Also included: Best Buy. Also, stores with lots of iPads; a Microsoft Mustang; and Samsung and RIM are being sued over emoticons. :(


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New Geniuses: kaufmed earned his fifth Genius certificate in the past couple of weeks; his most recent came in ASP.NET. Earning their fourth 1,000,000 point t-shirts were leew in Windows Server 2008 and alanhardisty in Windows 2003 Server. Earning his first was hades666 in Microsoft IIS Web Server. Congratulations!

Milestones: With this issue, we are including both answer and articles points here.

Expert In Topic Area Certificate
nepaluz.NET ProgrammingGuru
BuggyCoder.NET ProgrammingMaster
EaswaranP.NET ProgrammingMaster
JamesBurger.NET ProgrammingWizard
dvt_localboyActive DirectoryGuru
hirenvmajithiyaActive DirectoryMaster
dstewartjrActive DirectorySage
babuno5Apache Web ServerMaster
larsrohrApache Web ServerMaster
mccrickApple HardwareMaster
HonorGodApplication ServersGuru
coolsport00Backup / RestoreMaster
dbruntonDisplays / MonitorsMaster
nociLinux NetworkingSage
akhafafLotus NotesGuru
hades666Microsoft IIS Web ServerGenius
e_aravindMicrosoft IIS Web ServerMaster
busbarMicrosoft LCSGuru
digitapMicrosoft OSMaster
mpfisterMicrosoft OSMaster
ScottPletcherMisc DatabasesGuru
Expert In Topic Area Certificate
charlestasseMisc HardwareMaster
hdhondtMisc NetworkingMaster
ve3ofaMisc NetworkingMaster
dvt_localboyMisc SecurityMaster
ACH1LLESMS ApplicationsMaster
nobusMS ApplicationsMaster
ged325MS DevelopmentMaster
ssaqibhMS OfficeGuru
dlmilleMS OfficeWizard
hanccockaMS Server OSMaster
colly92002MS SharePointMaster
dale_burrellMS SQL ServerGuru
ged325MS SQL ServerGuru
aarontomoskyMS SQL ServerMaster
ACH1LLESMS SQL Server 2005Master
St3veMaxMS SQL Server 2008Master
venk_rMS SQL Server 2008Master
TempDBAMS SQL Server 2008Wizard
imnorieQuery SyntaxMaster
yuchingQuery SyntaxMaster
MysidiaServer HardwareMaster
hanccockaServer HardwareSage
RobSampsonShell ScriptingGuru
ahoffmannSSL / HTTPSMaster
ValentinoVSSRS SQL Reporting SvcSage
MereteStorage MiscMaster
hanccockaStorage MiscSage
paulsolovSwitches / HubsMaster
TomuniqueUnix OSMaster
AndyAinscowVisual Basic.NETMaster
cordeosVoice Over IPMaster
BillDLWeb BrowsersMaster
alanhardistyWindows 2003 ServerGenius
btassureWindows 2003 ServerMaster
Harel66Windows 2003 ServerMaster
CarlWebsterWindows 2003 ServerWizard
BillDLWindows 7Master
Darr247Windows 7Master
hopeleonieWindows 7Master
BillDLWindows OSGuru
leewWindows Server 2008Genius
ACH1LLESWindows Server 2008Guru