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Your Technology Problems...SOLVED

APRIL 11, 2012

Featured Content

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

Nata's Corner
Texting and tracking

Special thanks from members

Articles of Note
Editor's Choice Articles

In Brief
Things you might have missed

Who did what through April 7

What's New at E-E

Expert Grand PrixExpert Grand Prix '12: The race is on to see who can earn the most points between April 5 and April 19. The winner will receive a pretty nice trophy, and you can even earn an official Experts Exchange hat for promoting the contest on Twitter.

New Topic Advisor: We want to welcome erniebeek to the roster of Topic Advisors. He will be helping out in the various networking areas.

Webinar: EE's next webinar, on cloud computing applications, will be presented by Clayton Pippenger, the vice president of application development for Quest, on Thursday, April 19, at 11 am. Register here, and if you're interested, take a look at this introduction.

Recent updates to EEv10: Since EEv10 debuted on January 31, everyone has experienced a bug here or there, and the good people in the office are, in the words of Managing Director Mark Barbir (Happy Birthday, by the way, Mark!), "chip chipping away" at the list. Here are some of the fixes over the last couple of weeks:

  • All content types -- questions, articles and blogs -- now feature the wider text area width (except as noted above). The EEples appear when you hover over the little icon to the right of the comment box, and the Sharing feature is at the bottom of the page.
  • Images won't be blown up to fit the space any longer.
  • Female EEples that have the sweatshirt chosen won't be showing a tank top.
  • Community Support has been added to the Browse drop down at the top of the page.

From the inbox: PatrickSF took note of Nata's item in our last issue regarding employers asking for your Facebook or Twitter login, and how the federal government is starting to ask questions:

If the government is getting involved, it must be bad? If I had an Aunt Matilda who might have contacted me on Facebook about a common relative who was an axe murderer and we shared the same genes as the criminally insane while not exactly being criminally insane ourselves (hopefully), I would really rather doubt I would like to have any potential employer reading such information. That is just one example. One would hope we are applying to a job in which our skill set is useful and not to be viewed microscopically. My friends might not meet the employer's code of conduct, perhaps, but the friends are not being hired. There is so much amount of wrong in saying share your passwords. If we shared them, what is the point of a password at all?"

Also, our correspondent skirklan, in a serendipitous email (considering last week's Experts Exchange podcast was featured mbizup on the subject of women in tech) took umbrage with our belated birthday wishes to Albert Einstein:

"I enjoyed your item on Einstein "isn't so dumb after all" because earlier this week, I read a brief article in the New York Times on Emily Noether (pronounced NER-ter), a female mathematician born approx 1882, whose name should be as familiar as Einstein's. An excerpt: ""Noether lived for math and cared nothing for housework or possessions, and if her long, unruly hair began falling from its pins as she talked excitedly about math, she let it fall." Her work is described as the "Backbone of modern physics". Einstein, Einstein, Einstein. Always the man Einstein."

Finally, Michel Plungjan (and a couple of others) was kind enough to let us know that we dropped the "g" out of his username -- mplungjan -- when mentioning him in our last issue. We apologize for the error; spellcheckers don't always catch things like that.

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.

Editors' Choice Articles

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Introduction to VBA: Part 1
By TechMommy

The Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) language is at the heart of every application that you write. It is your key to taking Access beyond the world of wizards into a world where anything is possible. This article introduces you to the VBA language. It serves as a foundation for all of the development that you do. After reading the article, you will be familiar with the development environment. You will know how to declare and work with variables, create procedures, and determine the scope and lifetime of the procedures that you build.

Introduction to VBA: Part 2
By TechMommy

In the article Introduction to VBA: Part 1, you learned many of the basics of the VBA language. We began by discussing why the VBA language is important to you as an Access developer. You then learned all about the development environment and how to create event procedures. You also learned how to create and work with user defined procedures. In this article we take your use of the VBA language to the next level. You first learn how to work with variables. You then learn how to add comments and line continuation characters to your code. Finally, you will explore how the various control structures available in the VBA language help you to effectively branch through your code.

How to Unravel a Tricky Query
By sdstuber

If you browse through the Oracle zones or any of the other database-related zones you'll come across some complicated solutions and sometimes you'll just have to wonder how anyone came up with them. The simple answer is: practice. Long time database developers have written thousands of queries and, like any other skill, the more you do it the easier it becomes. More importantly those thousands of queries were written to address a variety of different problems. So, with experience you'll have had a chance to see lots of different solutions and patterns of syntax and techniques that work well for problems of a certain flavor.


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HANDY1FORGOD's question about peer to peer networking got a quick solution from Run5k:

Anybody reading this post, this is why EXPERTS EXCHANGE is number one in my book, you have to interpret their language sometimes since I don't speak geekish too well but these guys are GREAT. ... I was rushing a Windows 7 migration to resolve this problem and now Run5k just took the pressure off with his registry fix. Thanks so much. All points should be awarded to him and now I am going to update my subscription for another year... EXPERTS EXHANGE IS THE BEST."

Not everyone is aware of the Private Discussion system that allows the Moderators, Page Editors and Topic Advisors to discuss issues with Experts away from the normal Q&A process; the folks in the C/C#/C++ areas have one such discussion that is ongoing, and one of the Experts -- pepr -- took a couple of minutes to send the folks in the office a message about EEv10: "I really appreciate the positive changes -- the width of the area for comments adjusts nicely with the width of the window. It is much more readable ;) I feel you and the team should get also positive responses :) ... For all of you (whoever it reads)... HAVE A NICE EASTER TIME!!!"

LJG kept having issues with his Windows XP computer and Tony1044 took the time to examine all the possibilities before coming up with the solution: "I do have NVidia graphics card and will update the drivers and firmware. Thanks so much for all your time and answers. It's truly people like you that make my life easier and the world a better place."

teylyn gets a lot of compliments for her work, but she had never seen anything like what she read after solving Pabilio's issue with conditional formatting in Excel: "I wish that God Blesses each neuron and synapse of your brain. The formula is just as need it. Thank you VERY much!!"

Nata's Corner

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Nata's PictureFacebookSome people just don't get it, I guess. I know it's sooo last year, but remember that kid whose arrest in Britain a few months back for being connected to the people from LulzSec -- the one who, when they caught him, was the crack in the armor authorities were looking for? Turns out he isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, apparently. He was re-arrested last week for violating the terms of his bail by logging into the Internet over Christmas, but the person he contacted was one Hector Xavier Monsegur, the LulzSec leader who ratted out his co-hackers last month.

Another guy who is getting what he deserves is Edward Pearson, who stole eight million banking and PayPal identities, but got caught when his girlfriend used stolen credit cards to book fancy hotels in York. His take for writing a script to download the details of 200,000 PayPal accounts? £2,400. He's also suspected of hacking into Nokia's network last summer.

There's some good news and some bad news on the spam and malware front. The good news: Twitter is going after spammers. The bad news is that about half a million Macs have a trojan virus, and over half are US users. Apple isn't talking either.

It's time to check your credit card statements again. Global Payments, a company that processes payments for various credit card companies, suffered a breach that put up to 1.5 million cards at risk. They say it's a small percentage of the cards out there, but it's a big deal if it's your card, right?

I haven't asked younghv or rpggamergirl about it yet, but the new version of Ad Aware looks promising as an AV suite. I remember using it a long time ago, but that was when it was a stand-alone program that was kind of limited, and I haven't looked at it since.

Everyone has their favorite horror story about the "autocomplete" function on cell phones and search engines (my daughter almost got a message over the weekend -- when it was in the mid-60s and gloriously sunny -- about how it was snowing), but now a Japanese court has told Google to disable parts of it because it was keeping a man from getting a job.

Finally, if you're like me -- still finding things on my smartphone that I didn't know were there -- you might want to read these tips on keeping your data bill down. I don't play games on my phone, and now I know why.

In Brief

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Red alert! Battle stations! A lost Star Trek script won't get produced.

This will be better than Judge Judy: If you're into courtroom drama, keep your eyes on these:

Here's a startup we can get behind: What started out as an April Fool's Day gag has taken on a life of its own: CatBlock. Itz kan be yerz for a smal donashun.

See how it's done, Congress? Europe's version of "Do Not Track" is about six weeks away from being implemented by the EU's member states, and people are still trying to figure out exactly what the rules mean. Also attracting unwanted attention from at least one of the EU's member states: Amazon.

Ya think? It didn't take data mining to figure that out.

If you thought texting while driving was bad: Google is working on Android glasses -- and by the end of the week, so will everyone else. Microsoft's version will turn an opaque blue at random times, while Apple's will come with a built-in reality distortion field. Google's will simply show pictures of bears -- and links to what it thinks you should want to see. Similarly, expect to see ads about things related to what you store if you use the GDrive, if and when it shows up.

Messing up the payroll budget: Here's what Tim Cook's salary -- 378,000,000 times that of his predecessor as CEO of Apple -- will get you.

From the same folks who brought us that lovely fence: A law prohibiting trolling. There are over 750,000 pages on how to deal with trolls, but we think this idea has real merit.

In requiem: CBS News reporter Mike Wallace, painter Thomas Kinkade, and iconic car designer Ferdinand Porsche. Not quite dead: Neither SOPA nor the MPAA's bully-like behavior.

Pigs in pokes: The SEC is taking a long hard look at Groupon after the company turned in "revisions" to its first quarter earnings, saying that executives didn't properly account for refunds -- which has caused the company's stock to drop -- which shouldn't be that surprising considering the pre-IPO talk was all about how it didn't have a sustainable business model in the first place. Also not worth what people are paying: The Facebook Games.

Site of the week: CamoConnect, a social site that is geared toward the families of people serving in the military that is spreading well beyond the borders of the US.

Still a work in progress: Bing's translator has a few issues with Chinese stories on AT&T sales (scroll down). Engadget doesn't have similar problems; AT&T will now unlock your iPhone, and if you don't want to try and translate from the Bingese, Nokia's Windows 7 phone is making people think twice about a new iPhone.

Beating a dead horse: In 2006, there were rumors of Microsoft buying Yahoo; CEO Terry Semel said "no chance" and a year later, he was gone. In 2008, Microsoft offered $31 a share for Yahoo; CEO (and founder) Jerry Yang called it a "threat" that undervalued the company. Eleven months later, he was gone [again]. New CEO Carol Bartz cut a deal with Microsoft, and cut the daylights out of everything else. Two years later, she was gone (by phone no less -- not even an instant message). Now new CEO Scott Thompson has laid off 2,000 people (and its "head of products" -- the guy who oversaw the things Yahoo makes money on -- quit, following who knows how many other top Yahoos and purchased talent out the door), leaving a lot of people wondering if Yahoo has any corporate strategy other than becoming a patent troll. Facebook predicatably countersued.

Sign of the Apocalypse: A teenager traded a kidney for an iPhone and iPad. A guy comes out of the closet and his blog gets ripped -- for his lack of HTML chops. A do-it-yourself Hunger Games naming algorithm.


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New Genius: clayfox has earned his first Genius certificate, in Microsoft Infopath. Congratulations!

My First Million: Reaching the 1,000,000 point level in March were tommyBoy, MlandaT, DrDamnit, Chinmay_Patel, ValentinoV, imnorie and alexey_gusev. Nice work, all!

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

  • peter57r is the 21st member of Experts Exchange to reach 11,000,000 points overall.
  • rindi is the latest Expert to have the badge of a Savant, with 10,000,000 points overall.
  • arnold and mwvisa1 have each earned 6,000,000 points since joining Experts Exchange.
  • dariusg has earned 4,000,000 points in the Windows Server 2008 topic area.
  • tedbilly has earned over 5,000,000 points for his career at Experts Exchange.
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