Experts Exchange EE News Apr 2009

Having trouble viewing this newsletter? View our web version to see it in your browser.

April 1, 2009 >>

What's New at Experts Exchange
A fond farewell; features, staffers and Geniuses

Corporate Savings are Available to You
Regardless of your membership status

Microsoft Unveils New Device
stone5150 updates the iTwitter

The Changing Face of Experts Exchange
Our site administrators preview some new features

More News and Notes
Netscape fans are smiling

Nata's Corner
Single-button assistance from Microsoft

New Certificates
New certificate holders, through March 28

Tips From The Moderators
Ten signs you're spending too much time at EE

What's New at Experts Exchange

back to top

A fond farewell: Brian Gardner, the lead engineer for Experts Exchange for about as long as anyone can remember, is leaving the company. Brian joined EE in 1996 when he wandered into his father's fledgling business and started learning how to program; among his first tasks was helping design the Moderator tools for his mother, EE's first Moderator. During his tenure, he has been the glue of EE's engineering department, having overseen at least three complete redesigns of the entire site. His steady demeanor and thoughtful presence will be sorely missed. Here's looking at you, Brian—best of luck, and please don't be a stranger.


  • Member rank: Experts Exchange will be temporarily removing the Member Rank feature from the site. According to Andrew Alsup, the Site Director at EE, the queries behind the Member Rank system are taking too long to run. "This is preventing a good user experience," Alsup said. He added that EE will be looking to re-implement the feature using caching, but that will take at least a few weeks to schedule and build. The Zone Rank feature will not be affected.
  • Page Editors: In anticipation of the upcoming release of the Articles feature to the live site, Experts Exchange is bringing back the Page Editor program. The Zone Advisors were originally called Page Editors, but the name was changed when the Articles system was put on hold during the redesign of the site to its current version to more accurately reflect their function at EE. The Page Editors will be responsible for setting and maintaining standards of quality for articles; those articles that are approved as "Editors Picks" by the Page Editors will earn bonus points. For more information about the Page Editor and Zone Advisor positions, contact the Site Administrators.

New Geniuses: war1 has earned his eighth Genius certificate, this one in Email Software, becoming only the second member of Experts Exchange to have that many. LSMConsulting has earned his third Genius ranking, in Access Forms, and mark_wills earned his second Genius certificate in Microsoft SQL Server, as did leew, in Windows XP. Earning their first Genius certificates were TextReport in the Access zone, dtodd in the SQL zone, and Kravmir in the Cascading Style Sheets zone.

Milestones: nobus has earned over 7,000,000 points.

Work smarter. Work faster. Work better.

Put the world's best IT experts to work for you today. Upgrade to Premium Services.

  • Receive professional help for your IT problems
  • Save time to use on other projects or tasks
  • Improve your IT knowledge through interaction

Upgrade in less than 30 seconds! Upgrade now.

To make sure you get the next issue of our newsletter, please add the email address to your address book for a better viewing experience.

Corporate Savings are Available to You

You don't have to be a new member to take advantage of the savings Corporate Accounts offer. If you're an existing premium service member, you can upgrade your premium service membership to a Corporate Account at anytime. When you do so, we will reduce the cost of your Corporate Account by the prorated value of your remaining term.

Once you've got your Corporate Account up and running you can also import your coworkers with existing usernames using your Corporate Administration. Your Corporate Administration also allows you to easily activate, deactivate and purchase additional licenses at your convenience.

No matter what your status at Experts Exchange is, Corporate Account savings are available to you without losing the value of your current membership term.

>> Upgrade to a Corporate Account
>> Learn More

Tips From the Moderators

back to top

The top ten signs you're spending too much time at Experts Exchange:

#10  After winning an argument, you exclaim "Poink me"
#9  You reflexively capitalize the words "zone", "expert", "member", "admin" and "badger"
#8  You check your point total in /Web_Development/Software/Macromedia_Dreamweaver/ three times a day
#7  Your entire extended family members each have an EE t-shirt
#6  You have business cards (one for each rank and zone) with your EE signature on them
#5  You can actually name six Zone Advisors and three Moderators. You're really in trouble if you know the Expert names of those three Moderators
#4  You have at least one EE coffee mug
#3  You use one of the EE background images... and it's not the first one you've used
#2  You have Windows running on your Mac/Linux machine just to have QuickEE installed
And the #1 sign you are spending too much time on EE  You can't decide which EE staff member is cooler based solely on the username: Katie248, jansuper, khoy, lasally, mc2044 or EE-Alex.

Corporate Savings are Available to You

back to top

You don't have to be a new member to take advantage of the savings Corporate Accounts offer. If you're an existing premium service member, you can upgrade your premium service membership to a Corporate Account at anytime. When you do so, we will reduce the cost of your Corporate Account by the prorated value of your remaining term.

Once you've got your Corporate Account up and running you can also import your coworkers with existing usernames using your Corporate Administration. Your Corporate Administration also allows you to easily activate, deactivate and purchase additional licenses at your convenience.

No matter what your status at Experts Exchange is, Corporate Account savings are available to you without losing the value of your current membership term.

arrowUpgrade to a Corporate Account
arrowLearn More

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

American University of Sharjah
Addison Avenue Federal Credit Union
Manatee County Sheriff's Office
Montville Township Board of Education
Ballston Spa Central School
Abu Dhabi Investment House
Tahlequah City Hospital
Boston Water and Sewer Commission
Alior Bank S.A

Christensen Farms and Feedlots, Inc.
William S. Hart Union High School District
Cranswick PLC
Intercounty Electric Cooperative Association
Western Area Power Administration
OncoMed Pharmaceuticals Inc.
ICF International
Service Access & Management
Cohen Milstein
International Joint Commission

Corporate accounts

arrow Upgrade to a Corporate Account
arrow Learn More

Microsoft Unveils New Device: The iTwitter

back to top

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.

artwork by Sawako Iizuka, retouchntouch@gmail.comThe revolutionary device ITwitter hit the shelves early last week, following several weeks of beta-testing in New England. It requires a contract to the iTwitter service, which comes free for a year with purchase of a new iTwitter. The suggested retail price, if purchased without the service, is $2,829, and includes the portable version of the Microsoft Surface.

What makes the iTwitter unique is that reads tweets to you in real time while you work, play and shop with built-in voice processing software. While designed to enable micro bloggers easier access to their favorite authors, users will also be able to send and receive email, plus submit their own tweets via a tiny touchscreen keyboard that uses the Dvorak layout. Of course, the included ear buds will come in black, pink and the ever chic white.

The iTwitter comes with the next generation of mobile operating system named Windows7Up, all pre-loaded and preconfigured for immediate use. The fairly full featured OS with all the basic programs you'd expect from a Windows Mobile device, but it does not include any method of installing programs from CDs, so the user is expected to use the built-in 3G wireless to download any new software; Bit Torrent is pre-installed. The only notable drawback is that the iTwitter takes up to 18 minutes to boot up.

Almost immediately after the iTwitter was released lawsuits were filed by Twitter, Apple, Discovery Communications, Dr. Pepper/Seven Up, RIM, RIAA, NTP, PalTalk, TomTom, Dianne Kelly of Camano Island FL, the Federal Communications Commission and the European Union. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, playing in the company's annual family picnic kickball game, reacted to the steady stream of process servers by throwing both second and third bases into shallow left field, missing shortstop Maria Elena Juarez by only a few feet.

Steven Kalwolindovich, the aide to the White House deputy assistant communications director for Internet affairs, said that President Barack Obama had no official comment, but added that he felt the lawsuits were making a "mountain out of a molehill."

"Since Twitter has no business plan, doesn't cost anything, and everyone uses it," Kowalski noted, "it's almost a fundamental right that Microsoft should be able to build this kind of device." He went on to say, "Besides, everyone around here uses them to keep track of the kids. You never know what they might reveal to some foreign operative—and if everyone buys one, we won't need another round of bailout funding."

There was more bad news for the iTwitter, as Korean-made knock offs were on the shelf the Friday before, a several days before legitimate versions of the iTwitter made their debut. Many new users were unable to register their new devices and complete the sign up for iTwitter service because the Korean made knockoffs had legitimate registration key numbers. Even though the stickers on the devices contained several misspellings, the registration numbers on them were somehow valid.

One early adopter of iTwitter, Summer Ciera Jacoby, a 17-year-old high school junior from Smileyberg, KS, reported that her tweets with LaBron Pitt-McQueen, the alleged older brother of actor Brad Pitt and online friend of Summer's, were "interrupted by an Aqua Screen Of Death". Upon closer examination it was discovered that she had inadvertently purchased a knockoff when she noticed the error screen was labeled "Broo Scren from the Dead" near the bottom of the screen.

Another complication became evident when approximately 135 traders at Charles Schwab started laughing when simultaneously hearing the tweets being posted by people involved in the layoffs at Mzinga, a marketing company that has recently found difficulty securing more venture capital funding.

Plans to release the smaller tie clip sized iTwitter Yanoo are on hold for the moment.

The Changing Face of Experts Exchange

back to top

Netminder and Computer101 are the two site administrators for Experts Exchange. C101 takes no responsibility for this article, and Netminder says it was all C101's idea.

You may not have noticed, but Experts Exchange has developed a new set of systems for a helping you both get answers to your questions, assist people looking for solutions, and even find your answers in EE's database. One of those systems is the new Cleanup process; if you are interested in helping out, please feel free to contact AnnieMod about how to become involved.

The new cleanup process has some fairly complex programming behind it, which is why you may hear a very faint hum coming from your computer when performing the cleanup functions. This is due to the friction caused when the Cleanup Volunteers make a recommendation that is not acceptable to the participants in the thread. While most abandoned questions are resolved with a minimal amount of disruption, the systems created by Experts Exchange were unable to reduce the noise generated completely; however, the engineering staff is considering using some animated characters and scenery as a way of making the background noise less noticeable—and possibly helping when Experts respond to Cleanup Volunteer recommendations.

Another system that will be causing an increase in the weight of the data sent to you by Experts Exchange is the release of the articles system to the live site. While images and code snippets have been part of the question/answer process for some time, the quotations and step-by-step features are sent in addition to the more familiar information. You can help alleviate the problem by keeping your images to under 1280 x 1024 pixels; those seem to have a greater impact than do files.

One other significant impact resulting from the addition of the articles feature is that we will be reviving the Page Editor job (we know—some people never really gave up the title to begin with). What's the difference? Essentially, the Page Editors will do for articles what the Zone Advisors do for questions. They'll do what they can to make sure that someone else is looking at whatever it is that they think other people might or might not feel it is important or necessary for them to look at. Speaking of which, miller14 has joined the Zone Advisor group; he will be handling the Project Management zones.

Finally, the Moderator system—you didn't really think EE used people, did you?—has gotten an upgrade. Though not nearly as well-publicized as the recent Wayback Machine upgrade, the new Moderator topology consists of three mobile 38-server clusters with 2.5 million gigabytes of storage and just over a terrabyte of memory. One of those is relatively permanently located in an a shed near owner Randy Redberg's family's business; the second and third versions are connected to the first using a custom-built system based on Verizon's wireless business data services. One of those is housed in a tricked out 1969 Chevy El Camino; the other is in a 1978 Dodge Van pushed from area to area by the guy wearing glasses and the red jacket and 280 of his coworkers.

More News and Notes

back to top

Netscape fans are smiling: The people in Redmond have come up with lots of new ways to break websites all over the world, as they released IE8 with a press release that says "web pages will be displayed in Internet Explorer 8's standards mode by default, potentially affecting the way your website is viewed." Fortunately, they also came up with a workaround: "Alternative: Tell Internet Explorer 8 to display your site in Internet Explorer 7 mode." IE is still playing catch-up though.

EE in LondonSpotted in London: Courtesy of Jason and his correspondents, Experts Exchange is taking over London.

In case you're looking for a birthday present to give your favorite EE Site Admin: They both REALLY want one of these. (Thanks, Mark!)

Breaking up isn't nearly as hard to do as it used to be: Pardon us for being a little insensitive to their pain, but we all know what Internet addiction can do to a relationship. Maybe he should take up with a geek-goddess; meanwhile, there's new hope for the re-release of The Break-up. Still... what does this say for someone who made a name for herself starring in a television series called Friends?

Stuffing the ballot box: First, it was geeks everywhere keeping Steve Wozniak dancing. Then Stephen Colbert convinced enough people to vote for "Colbert" as the name of the new wing of the International Space Station. Then the people from NORML figured out a way to dominate the agenda at President Obama's town hall. Speaking of which, Obama recently switched away from a teleprompter, and the device is enjoying the vacation.

Only in Washington: (State, that is—anything can happen in Washinton, DC)... A police chief caused an accident by checking his Blackberry while driving; Microsoft is getting a bridge, courtesy of the Obama stimulus package; maybe that's what it took to get an empty box sent to Alaska, where they have their own issues with bridges.

Only in California: Soon to be on the "forever gone" list: underinflated tires and black cars. The state is also considering building a pipeline to the northern part of the state, and then tapping into the emissions from the state legislature during the annual eleven-month budget hearings, as a way to reduce energy consumption for heat.

Only in Texas: There is still some doubt about that pesky science stuff and the 4th Amendment.

Only in China: A major cyberspy ring based in China—whose government insists it knows nothing about it—was uncovered by Canadian researchers. Curiously, the Chinese government knows enough about computer networks to co-opt European GPS signals and shut down YouTube. Must just be a misunderstanding.

Get 'em started early: Intel has launched a new series of Classmate PC commercials, some of which are political style attack ads against archrival AMD's XO laptop. Both machines are trying to capture the highly competitive under-$400 laptop market, and are also trying desperately to brunt the rumored release of the Apple "BigMac 0S-X" system.

And you think you have it bad: Let's face it: we've all seen our share of questions that just make you scratch your head. You can take some solace knowing that some people have it worse, and probably a lot more frequently. Oh... and for you geographically-challenged types, it's around 3300 km from Perth to Sydney.

How to annoy your customers without really trying: Send them notices accusing them of cheating the recording industry. We can see some internet cafes doing a pretty brisk business in the near future.

You want provocative? We'll show you provocative: A couple of weeks ago, we commented on the practice of some teenagers to send ... interesting... photos of themselves (or others) by cell phone, and how some students are being charged with crimes normally reserved for a particular subgroup of the slimeball genus. In Pennsylvania, one headline-seeking district attorney threatened to file such charges against some students—which could result in those teenagers being forced to register with the local police for the rest of their lives—unless they took a 10-hour class over some pictures taken two years ago. The reaction of the students (and their parents)? They sued... and got some serious support from a federal judge.

Signs of the Apocalypse: Not that this has anything to do with a high tech problem, but alcohol consumption has decreased in Ireland.

Nata's Corner

back to top

Nata's PictureI'm all for helping people, which is one of the best things about Experts Exchange; there are so many good Experts out there giving their time and knowledge to assist people in finding out how to do things. Evidently, they have gotten the attention of a lot of big companies, not the least of which is Microsoft. The company has added a feature to their popular Office software: a single button for getting assistance. No, it doesn't open up a browser that goes directly to Experts Exchange, but if you now click on the F1 button, it will open up a special file for that program. It's not as easy to use as EE is, but it might prove to be worthwhile in some cases.

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the Conficker worm, but last week, I ran across an article that suggests the possibility of it being little more than the world's biggest rickroll... all of which made me think about the Y2K bug and all that. Suppose all of this time and money being spent on the Conficker worm is just a big April Fools joke? If the intent of its writers was to get a bunch of people to spend a lot of money (maybe they're doing their part to get the economy moving?) trying to stop their worm from spreading, then they've certainly succeeded. The other possibility—just sayin'—is that a group of do-gooders out there built this as a way of getting some kind of unified policies and practices regarding cybersecurity in place. Given that there are people who think there should be some kind of Big Network Boss who can shut down parts of the Internet if necessary.

I've had a couple of articles about the creeps who try and sell you the non-antivirus programs like Antivirus2009 and Antivirus360—the ones where they have ads that say you have a virus, and when you click on the ad, download the virus, and then sell you software to get rid of it. Their merchant-processing bank shut them down last week, in a win for the good guys. And in case you are at all concerned about your identity being stolen, I came across a site where you can check to see if your driver's license number has been compromised.

New Certificates

back to top
Expert Topic Area Certified
rindi802.11 Wireless Access PointsPadawan
BlueDevilFanAccess Coding/MacrosPadawan
matthewspatrickAccess Coding/MacrosThyme
LSMConsultingAccess FormsPolymath
cactus_dataAccess FormsPadawan
bluntTonyActive DirectoryPadawan
zelron22Active DirectoryPadawan
captainreissAdobe AcrobatThyme
jason1178Adobe Creative SuiteSwami
Ray_PaseurApache Web ServerPadawan
shalomcApache Web ServerPadawan
_b_hAS / 400Padawan
davrob60Asynchronous Javascript and XML (AJAX)Padawan
saiprasad_kinneraBackup & Restore SoftwarePadawan
greensunieBEA WebLogic Application ServerPadawan
garycutriBlackberry Operating SystemThyme
TintinBourne Shell (sh)Padawan
TintinBourne-Again Shell (bash)Swami
itsmeandnobodyelseC / C++ / C# Editors and IDEsPadawan
mrjoltcolaC Programming LanguagePadawan
daveamourC# Programming LanguageSwami
DanielWilsonC# Programming LanguagePadawan
kaufmedC# Programming LanguagePadawan
nmarunC# Programming LanguagePadawan
pivarC# Programming LanguagePadawan
tgerbertC# Programming LanguagePadawan
KravimirCascading Style Sheets (CSS)Polymath
LZ1Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)Padawan
MikeKaneCisco PIX FirewallSwami
azadisaryevCold Fusion Markup LanguageSwami
willcompComputer CPU ProcessorsPadawan
coral47Computer Hard DrivesPadawan
PCBONEZComputer MotherboardsSwami
TextReportDatabases MiscellaneousPadawan
DaveHoweEmail ClientsPadawan
war1Email SoftwarePolymath
DaveHoweEncryption for Network SecurityTommy
legalsrlEnterprise Anti-VirusPadawan
sandeep_narkhedeExchange Email ServerSwami
AkhaterExchange Email ServerPadawan
KravimirExtensible HTML (XHTML)Swami
fsze88Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)Padawan
war1Internet & Email SoftwareTommy
TiggeritoInternet Search Engine OptimizationPadawan
fsze88Java Programming LanguagePadawan
KuldeepchaturvediJava Server Pages (JSP)Thyme
kosarajudeepakLinux AdministrationPadawan
oklitLinux NetworkingPadawan
fgrushevskyLotus Domino Email ServerSwami
GwynforWebMath & ScienceTommy
TextReportMicrosoft Access DatabasePolymath
roryaMicrosoft ApplicationsSwami
BlueDevilFanMicrosoft Excel Spreadsheet SoftwarePadawan
ProdOpsMicrosoft Excel Spreadsheet SoftwarePadawan
RichardSchollarMicrosoft Excel Spreadsheet SoftwarePadawan
tbsgadiMicrosoft Excel Spreadsheet SoftwarePadawan
xlvbawizMicrosoft Excel Spreadsheet SoftwarePadawan
MesthaMicrosoft IIS Web ServerPadawan
wolfman007Microsoft IIS Web ServerPadawan
SysExpertMicrosoft Operating SystemsSwami
AmericomMicrosoft Operating SystemsPadawan
DMTechGrooupMicrosoft Operating SystemsPadawan
jhyieslaMicrosoft Operating SystemsPadawan
MightySWMicrosoft Operating SystemsPadawan
oBdAMicrosoft Operating SystemsTommy
leewMicrosoft ServerTommy
abelMicrosoft Visual Basic.NetPadawan
burakiewiczMicrosoft Visual Basic.NetPadawan
daveamourMicrosoft Visual Basic.NetPadawan
philipjonathanMicrosoft Visual C#.NetSwami
abelMicrosoft Visual C#.NetPadawan
carl_tawnMicrosoft Visual C#.NetPadawan
nmarunMicrosoft Visual C#.NetPadawan
alb66Microsoft Visual C++Swami
Infinity08Microsoft Visual C++Swami
emoreauMicrosoft Visual Studio ExpressPadawan
Antagony1960Microsoft WordPadawan
Expert Topic Area Certified
SysExpertMiscellaneous HardwareThyme
SembeeMiscellaneous SoftwarePadawan
ahoffmannMiscellaneous Web DevelopmentPadawan
gaanthonyMS Live Communications ServerSwami
StevenmuMS SharePointSwami
abdulwriteMS SharePointPadawan
melli111MS SharePointPadawan
treeandrewMS SharePointPadawan
dtoddMS SQL ServerPolymath
mark_willsMS SQL ServerPolymath
puranik_pMS SQL ServerSwami
jarycoMS SQL ServerPadawan
martenruneMS SQL ServerPadawan
TextReportMS SQL ServerPadawan
HayesJupeMS System CenterPadawan
bportlockMySQL ServerSwami
Ray_PaseurMySQL ServerTommy
API_NOCNetwork RoutersPadawan
cstosgaleNetwork RoutersPadawan
rindiNetwork RoutersPadawan
JFrederick29Network Switches & HubsTommy
ZENandEmailguyNovell GroupwisePadawan
gatorvipOracle 10.xPadawan
MilleniumaireOracle 10.xPadawan
paquicubaOracle 10.xPadawan
MilleniumaireOracle DatabasePadawan
mrjoltcolaOracle DatabasePadawan
debuggerauOutlook Groupware SoftwarePadawan
opie6373Outlook Groupware SoftwarePadawan
lauchangkwangPC LaptopsPadawan
gawaiPHP and DatabasesPadawan
bportlockPHP and DatabasesTommy
Ray_PaseurPHP for WindowsSwami
fcardinauxPHP Scripting LanguagePadawan
fsze88PHP Scripting LanguagePadawan
gr8gonzoPHP Scripting LanguagePadawan
ozoPhysics & Artificial Intelligence in Game ProgrammingPadawan
michkoPrinters by HPSwami
abelProgramming for ASP.NETSwami
CodeCruiserProgramming for ASP.NETSwami
philipjonathanProgramming for ASP.NETSwami
sunithnairProgramming for ASP.NETSwami
amar31282Programming for ASP.NETPadawan
PaulHewsProgramming LanguagesPadawan
MesthaSBS Small Business ServerSwami
plug1SBS Small Business ServerSwami
acromentSBS Small Business ServerPadawan
Perry_IDITCSBS Small Business ServerPadawan
cxrScripting LanguagesPadawan
ParanormasticSecure Socket Layer (SSL) & HTTPSSwami
MesthaServer ApplicationsSwami
arnoldServer ApplicationsPadawan
oklitShell ScriptingPadawan
shorakSQL ReportingSwami
mark_willsSQL ReportingPadawan
jarycoSQL Server 2005Padawan
JestersGrindSQL Server 2005Padawan
udayakumarlmSQL Server 2005Padawan
reb73SQL Server 2005Tommy
paulsolovStorage TechnologyPadawan
ozoUnix Operating SystemsTommy
omarfaridUnix SetupPadawan
AmazingTechVB ScriptSwami
chris_bottomleyVB ScriptSwami
rejoinderVB ScriptSwami
robberbaronVB ScriptSwami
JFrederick29Virtual Private Networking (VPN)Swami
abelVisual StudioPadawan
DabasVisual StudioPadawan
nmarunVisual StudioPadawan
decoleurVoice Over IPPadawan
Chris-DentWeb HostingPadawan
gwkgWeb Site Statistics Software / WebTrendsPadawan
johnb6767Windows 2000 Operating SystemSwami
honmapogWindows 2003 ServerSwami
ParanormasticWindows 2003 ServerSwami
rhandelsWindows 2003 ServerSwami
abhvpWindows 2003 ServerPadawan
darkstar3dWindows 2003 ServerPadawan
jimpenWindows 2003 ServerPadawan
PeteJThomasWindows 2003 ServerPadawan
65tdWindows 2003 ServerTommy
mkline71Windows 2003 ServerTommy
alb66Windows ProgrammingPadawan
DanRollinsWindows ProgrammingTommy
leewWindows XP Operating SystemPolymath
dbruntonWindows XP Operating SystemSwami
MASQUERAIDWindows XP Operating SystemSwami
MightySWWindows XP Operating SystemSwami
torimarWindows XP Operating SystemSwami
burrcmWindows XP Operating SystemTommy

Copyright © Experts Exchange LLC 2009. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Unsubscribe