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Your Technology Problems...SOLVED

APRIL 25, 2012

Featured Content

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

Nata's Corner
Hackers, Twitter and G-Drive

Special thanks from members

Worth Reading
jason1178 on mobile apps

In Brief
Things you might have missed

Who did what through April 21

What's New at E-E

Expert Grand Prix '12: The race is over and it looks like Anuroopsundd is going to wind up winning the trophy, while huslayer won the baseball cap. Enjoy the swag!

New Topic Advisor: daruisg is the newest addition to the list of Topic Advisors. His areas of expertise are the various Windows server technologies.

Webinar: If you missed it, the far-ranging webinar on cloud computing is now up on both EE's blog and on its EE's YouTube site. if you're interested in offering up your knowledge, check out the job description, which gives us the opportunity to offer a shameless plug for the EE job board.

G+ EE and get Pi: A $25 computer? Yep. The Raspberry Pi runs on Linux, requires that you attach your own keyboard, and hook it up to a TV, but what the heck, right? The first 100,000 are spoken for, but Experts Exchange is getting one of them, and is giving it away to someone who adds EE to his/her Google+ circles.

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, "chip chipping away" at the list. Here are some of the fixes over the last couple of weeks:

  • The tab order to enter a post has been changed to skip over the sharing checkboxes; it now goes to the Preview and then the Submit buttons.
  • As you may have noticed, the quarterly updates to the Annual Awards list are no more. EE has also replaced the "Philanthropist" award for most answers to questions of under 100 points with the "Scribe", which will be given for Articles points.
  • Tags are now visible in the Preview of a question.
  • Your billing history now shows the most recent charge at the top of the list.

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.


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colonelblue had some issues getting his data to display correctly on an ASP page, and was duly appreciative of the assistance he received from robert_schutt: "I am so grateful that you have helped me learn something new and great!! :) <Happy Dance> I just had to move some close tags around and it worked perfectly! You are the best!! THANK YOU SO MUCH! Wishing you great karma. Thank you Robert for your expertise, patience and generosity. You've taught a man how to fish. You are the very essence of Experts Exchange." Unfortunately, he clicked the wrong button, which got Site Admin modus_operandi involved: "Thank you modus_operandi! I LOVE YOU GUYS!"

sdstuber came to the aid of Prisoner362670, who was trying to find a value in a table: "As you can tell I am somewhat of a duffer in PL/SQL but I had a great learning experience with this project. I have all respect and gratitude for you sdstuber! I would like to award more points (1000+) due to the persistance that the expert extended to me over several weeks."

gnivkor also had some kind words for sdstuber when he helped figure out a query: "Sir, you have been helpful beyond belief. I appreciate the time you have spent with this matter. Everything seems perfect."

AndreasHermle needed to figure out how to search for a string, and got help from MartinLiss, aebea and teylyn:

Time and time again, I am thrilled at the quality of the support one gets when posting a question on this forum. It is unbelievable how many experts are out there and spend their valuable time helping others. I can learn from all the solutions, all of them work just great, and although I specifically asked for a macro I am always glad to see that some experts furnish alternative solutions on a formula basis. Thank you very much for your professional help. It is hard for me to equitably distribute the points but as a matter of fact, AEBEA's code is the most sophisticated one, hence he will get the most points. Thank you very much. I really appreciate your professionalism.

Alex_MPM was baffled by Powershell growing a file (that's how he put it), and Qlemo stepped up to help: "This is probably the best answer I have ever gotten on the exchange because it did precisely what I needed it to do without cluttering up with tones of code to do a 'work around'. I appreciate your efforts." Qlemo even got some nice words from prashanthd, who was also trying to help: "Qlemo, Awesome as usual..."

Worth Reading

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Should You Mobilize Your Meeting or Conference Data?
By jason1178

I am the Vice President for Technology at a company you've never heard of that runs scientific conferences and trade shows for not-for-profit organizations. As soon as Apple opened the App Store after the release of the first generation iPhone, I was besieged by requests to create apps for conferences and have now spent a very long time carefully going through the various options available. As my clients have limited budgets for their meeting IT services, I had to take a very hard look at costs, benefits, and drawbacks of apps and mobile web sites and I'd like to share my experience with the community here. This will be a series of articles that touch on the whole process of providing mobile access to your conference data and future articles will go into great detail on app development and mobile web development. This first article will attempt to take the 10,000-foot view and address some common questions we hear from clients when we try to convince them that mobile development is worth their while.

Nata's Corner

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Nata's PictureThis is very cool. A man from India who was separated from his mother in 1986 found her using Google Earth in 2012.

Much of the time, I try to keep people up to date on the latest threats to their systems and to give you news about your personal information, letting you know about the various breaches of security that could potentially cause you a lot of difficulty. One of the big busts last year was in November, when the FBI and police in Estonia took down a botnet that distributed DNS changing malware and then made money off advertising on users computers -- an estimated 588,000 of them. When the authorities took down the botnet, in order to keep the infection from spreading further, they replaced the botnet servers with ones designed to check your computer for the virus -- essentially, they used the botnet to clean the botnet. The problem is that the order allowing the FBI to fight fire with fire expires in July, when the replacement servers will come down.

I came across this a few weeks ago, but for some reason I kept letting it slide by. I don't know about you, but in reading all the stories about the people who get busted for hacking into networds and such, I would have thought that all of the bad guys are young people who live in their parents' basements or something like that, but it turns out that most of the really bad stuff is done by people over 35. I suppose that doesn't mean they don't live in their parents' basements, though. But that vision everyone has? It's more true of mainstream programmers than it is of the crooks.

Another public service announcement: The other half not a big Twitter user, but he's tried to avoid a lot of the newbie type mistakes -- not always with the greatest success. So I'm going to use this space to pass along some of the basics.

  • You use the @ symbol when you want someone and his/her followers to see the post. @ExpertsExchange at the beginning will mean that anyone following EE will see your post, but it won't be seen by your followers unless they're also following Experts Exchange. But if you have @MickeyMouse later in the post, then everyone following you will see that you have mentioned whoever has MickeyMouse as a Twitter username.
  • Any word with a # at the beginning is a hashtag, and hashtags are used to identify the subject, like #WorldSeries or #IDontKnowWhatImDoing. By filtering on a hashtag, you can see everything that is being tweeted about it.
  • RT stands for "retweet", which is essentially forwarding someone else's tweet to everyone who is following you. DM stands for "direct message", but you can only send them to people who are following you, and they can't be seen by anyone else.
  • You can upload videos and pictures to services like Twitpic and Yfrog, and then post the shortened link to Twitter.
  • Speaking of link shorteners, Experts Exchange has one, and if you use a program like TweetDeck or HootSuite, they automatically shorten links for you as well.
  • Remember that you only have 140 characters, and you usually want to leave a couple of dozen for retweeters. If you have one thought that takes more than one tweet, use 1/3 (for one of three), 2/3 and so on.

Google Drive is probably going to make its appearance -- it may even be available by the time you read this -- but before you go sending all of your company's data (even if you're not a big huge one) to Google, take a good look at NetworkWorld's article on why IT departments should worry about it, and then listen to Clayton Pippenger's webinar on cloud services from last week.

Finally, Verizon joined Sprint and AT&T in adding an "upgrade fee" you get to pay for the privilege of turning your old phone, getting a new one that is partially paid for by someone else, and signing up for a new two-year contract with more, higher charges. Looks like the other half is going to get the better of them, though -- because as long as he doesn't upgrade and continues to use his Palm Pre, he doesn't pay for data. And he has a backup.

In Brief

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Our world, and welcome to it: Mac users, normally pretty effusive in their antipathy for Windows users who have been the targets of innumerable kinds of malware for ... well... ever, could have regarded the Flashback trojan as an isolated incident until a week or so ago, when both Sophos and Kapersky confirmed the existence in the wild of a trojan that attacks through Microsoft Word. What's particularly nasty about it is that it works without user interaction. Fortunately, there's a fix.

Did you expect anything else? In order to save you reading through gobs of stuff trying to figure out who is going to win this dust-up, we're going to give you a summary of the day's hyperbole -- with luck, in 25 words or less -- in the Oracle lawuit against Google over the use of Java in the development of Android. After all, the trial is supposed to last eight weeks; it'd probably take that long to read all the documents; c|net has the Cliff's notes version of the dispute.

And speaking of Google and lawyers (one wonders if they have to take the test), the Viacom-YouTube lawsuit is also headed back to the courts, it's the target of a class action lawsuit over bypassing Safari cookie settings, and it got fined by the FCC.

Should be available for Christmas (hint hint): Anyone who has bought furniture from IKEA has an abundance of Allen wrenches. By the second half of the year, you'll be able to buy put-it-together furniture that has a flat panel TV built in.

Jason's discovery of the week: A heck of a style sheet.

Sign me up. Put your money where your mouth is on the IndieGoGo page.

That special corner of Dante's Inferno: Peter Norvig is Google's Director of Research, which means he has to have at least a smidgen of a sense of humor (anyone who writes a performance review of Albert Einstein has to have one). He saved his best work for a rather scathing indictment of PowerPoint though, using the Gettysburg Address.

If you have nothing better to do Monday: SpaceX is launching a Falcon rocket with a Dragon capsule -- the first privately funded mission to space -- on April 30 at 12:22 pm Eastern time from Cape Canaveral. If you're not in the neighborhood you can watch the webcast. Just remember that it's a good thing.

No conflict with our interests: Wouldn't it be great karma if those big huge tech firms were given a comeuppance, not by the government, but by their own employees?

In requiem: Jack Tramiel, known as the father of the Commodore 64; Dick Clark (an amazingly nice guy, by the way); Groupon's market value (Oxymoron the First); WalMart's corporate credibility (Oxymoron the Second); and 102 years ago, Samuel Langhorne Clemens.

Speaking of IPOs: Spending $1 billion to buy Instagram (without telling the board of directors about it) is almost typical Zuckerborg behavior, but it makes sense to banks in the prelude to Facebook's IPO in the next few weeks.

Easily worth a beer: A vulnerability, discovered by a student taking an ethical hacking class, in the software used by professional penetration testers, has all kinds of folks in a huff.

Now there's an idea: A couple of weeks ago, former White House security advisor Richard A. Clarke took to the op-ed page of the New York Times to write about how China is stealing secrets (though he doesn't say a lot about how the US in general has a kind of "it'll never happen to me" attitude towards just about everything), which makes a Foreign Policy article on things script kiddies should steal from China all that more intriguing, especially since China's "Great Firewall" might be becoming less imposing than it's been -- but if you take on the Chinese, be prepared for retaliation. If you think his girlfriend's grandmother is the only reason Mark Zuckerberg is learning Chinese, guess again.

Calling the kettle black: Google thinks Facebook and Apple, because they are "walled gardens", are threats to Internet freedom (whatever that is). But it seems to us that the difference between building an environment restricted systemically, as opposed to encircling and absorbing an environment (and even cutting some parts of it off arbitrarily), is just a semantic difference that perhaps Google doesn't see.

Sign of the Apocalypse: We get it in Chicago. We get it in Florida. We don't get rigging an election at Cal State San Marcos. A Taliban leader in Afghanistan turned himself into NATO forces for the $100 reward.


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New Geniuses: Four members of Experts Exchange have earned Genius certificates in the past two weeks. garycase has his fourth certificate, in Hard Drives, while our occasional correspondent, jason1178, has picked up his third, in WordPress. Receiving their first million point certificates were logudotcom in PHP and Run5K in Windows 7. Outstanding work, folks!


Expert In Topic Area Certificate
BuggyCoder.NET ProgrammingGuru
jacko72.NET ProgrammingGuru
CmdoProg2.NET ProgrammingMaster
tmassa99Active DirectoryGuru
hanccockaBackup / RestoreWizard
donjohnstonCisco PIX/ASAGuru
fgrushevskyEmail ServersMaster
alanhardistyEmail ServersSage
CallandorEmbedded HardwareMaster
satsumoGame ProgrammingGuru
garycaseHard DrivesGenius
erniebeekHardware FirewallsWizard
ramazanyichJava App ServersMaster
simon3270Linux OS DevMaster
Sam654Lotus NotesMaster
gmbaxterMac OS XMaster
zephyr_hexMicrosoft IIS Web ServerGuru
Run5kMicrosoft OSGuru
DaveBaldwinMicrosoft OSMaster
matrixnzMicrosoft OSMaster
TechMommyMS AccessMaster
danishaniMS AccessWizard
peter57rMS ApplicationsGuru
NeilsrMS ApplicationsMaster
fyedMS DevelopmentMaster
gerwinjansenMS DOSMaster
Expert In Topic Area Certificate
sdwalkerMS ExcelWizard
jackiemanMS OfficeMaster
JSRWilsonMS PowerpointSage
dletheMS Server OSMaster
leewMS Server OSSage
dariusgMS Server OSWizard
ged325MS SharePointMaster
RimvisMS SQL ServerGuru
anujnbMS SQL ServerWizard
dwkorMS SQL Server 2005Guru
Buttercup1MS SQL Server 2005Master
momi_sabagMS SQL Server 2008Guru
wdosanjosMS SQL Server 2008Guru
DaveBaldwinMS SQL Server 2008Master
gtworekMS SQL Server 2008Master
SThayaMS SQL Server 2008Master
lcohanMS SQL Server 2008Sage
insoftserviceMySQL ServerMaster
maeltarMySQL ServerMaster
DaveBaldwinMySQL ServerSage
kenboonejrNetworking HardwareMaster
fmarshallNetworking ProtocolsMaster
mrjoltcolaOracle 8.xMaster
gregcloughOracle DatabaseMaster
lucid8SBS Small Business ServerMaster
dstewartjrScripting LanguagesMaster
simon3270Shell ScriptingGuru
BigSchmuhStorage MiscGuru
SelfGovernStorage MiscGuru
madunixStorage MiscMaster
robert_schuttVB ScriptMaster
VBClassicGuyVisual Basic ClassicWizard
wdosanjosVisual Basic.NETGuru
Run5kWeb BrowsersMaster
SSharmaWeb BrowsersMaster
jcimarronWeb BrowsersWizard
DaveBaldwinWeb Dev SoftwareMaster
COBOLdinosaurWeb Languages/StandardsWizard
routinetWeb ServersGuru
ashutoshsapreWindows 2003 ServerMaster
Run5kWindows 7Genius
l33tf0bWindows 7Master
endital1097Windows Server 2008Guru
AnuroopsunddWindows Server 2008Master
gkhairallahWindows Server 2008Master
tmassa99Windows Server 2008Master