May 18, 2004
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In this issue
Who's (and what's) new
A meeting of the Mods
Featured experts
Two of EE's best
Visual Basic help
bingie serves up some tutorials
Nata's Corner
Fighting spam, and growing vegetables
Inside the numbers
ameba's list of new Certificates
Tip for New Members
Who's (and What's) New at Experts Exchange
Meeting of the Mods: We promised you information about the conference held a couple of weeks ago in San Luis Obispo, which included about half the Moderators, a couple of Page Editors and the ownership and staff of Experts Exchange.

The primary function of the conference was to allow Austin Miller (at right) and Randy Redberg to explain their vision of what Experts Exchange should evolve into over the next few months. They unveiled their mission statement: "Become the world's greatest knowledge site by having the most relevant and useful content, while providing the best user experience for finding solutions and items of interest which are easily navigated, discovered and consumed."

To that end, EE is taking several major steps, all designed to provide members with the solutions to their problems. First, the topic areas are being reorganized and expanded, so that users will have an easier time finding the correct topic area for their questions. Second, the search system is being redesigned and improved, so that those members who don't ask questions can still find the information they need. Third, the user interface is being redesigned to make navigation more intuitive and simple.

Other issues with the overall site included a discussion of "training" new members in how to ask questions and participate in the collaborative process that is at the heart of Experts Exchange. That evolved into a discussion of the possible creation of a "Question Wizard"; of expanded help pages and tips; and of increased Moderator involvement in helping new users.

Also on the agenda was an extended discussion of a more prominent role for the Page Editors, who will have more responsibility over the content of topic areas, and will be providing many new features to help members get answers to their questions. The PEs will have a lot of flexibility in what extra features will be included, with ideas ranging from FAQs and white papers to quizzes and debates. The Page Editors will have the possibility of involving other Experts on the site as well, as Expert Contributors in their TAs.

The group was also treated to a tour of Level(3) Communications, the ISP for Experts Exchange.

Photos clockwise from top: Austin Miller describes the Experts Exchange mission statement; the Moderators, Admins and Page Editors gathered around the pool during much of their unscheduled time for discussions and brainstorming sessions; the group arrives at the conference, held at the San Luis Obispo Country Club; Brian Gardner (at left), EE's senior engineer, describes the servers to the group.

Photos courtesy of CetusMOD, modulo and ee_ai_construct.

Our questions, articles and featured experts were provided by Page Editor bingie. bingie has been a member at EE since April, 2003, and has been a programmer for four years now, working mostly in Visual Basic, C++, HTML, CSS and Java. He is also a trained and licenced fireworks supervisor and pyrotechnician, most recently on tour with Nickelback.
Your questions and solutions Featured Expert
VB.Net Language Essentials (Beginner Intermediate):
From the Only4Gurus.com website, we found this grab bag of essential tools and tips. Download it here.

VB Object Oriented Concepts (Advanced)
The VB has been expanding support for OO features since 4.0. VB.NET is now 100% object-oriented. Only4Gurus.com has a complete tutorial you can download here.

Maintain Your Existing Code (Advanced)
In many cases, the biggest stumbling block encountered by developers moving to a new language or platform is not learning the new syntax or adjusting to a new development environment; it's dealing with existing code. Here are some tools that can help.

Accessing Data on the Web (Advanced)
Step by step instructions on using databases on the Web; download a complete tutorial from Only4Gurus.com here.

  Richie_Simonetti
Richie_Simonetti is one of EE's long-time good guys. A member since September, 2000, he has expertise with Windows NT 4.0 server and NT 4/2000 workstations, networks (both hardware and software), dabbles in HTML, CSS, a little C and javascript, and, of course, Visual Basic 3.0, 5.0, 6.0, and VBA. He maintains a website of VB code at www.angelfire.com/realm/vb-shared/index.html.
Login Name: Richie_Simonetti
Registration Date: September 7, 2000
Expert Points: 539977
Certificates: Sage, Visual Basic

GhostMod
GhostMod is an accomplished musician who joined EE in November, 2002. He is one of the more productive idea guys we have on board; he spends a lot of his time trolling through the New Topics, Suggestions and Expert Input topic areas in search of new things to keep Engineering busy. Thanks for all your great work, Ghostie!

PE Tip: Collaboration is what makes EE work. You'll have a lot more success if you a) click the link in the email notifications, and b) respond to the Expert questions and suggestions promptly.
One of the least-known new features at Experts Exchange is our new Link Exchange. Our Link Exchange program is beneficial to both sites in a couple ways:
1. The number of resources available to users on both sites will increase
2. Site relevance is increased within all major search engines when a site provides links to and from quality resources

If you would like to swap links with EE, just fill out the form at the Link Exchange page.

Nata's Corner: Fighting spam
Does anyone like getting spam? I can't believe anyone does, including all those numbskulls who think I'm really in the market for a pill of one kind or another. But all of the recent attempts to do something about it at the user level just don't seem to work right, so what's a body to do? Here's a short list of suggestions that might cut down on the crud you get in your Inbox:
  • Most ISPs provide some kind of anti-spam filtering of mail, so forward the email to them. Some maintain lists of spammers, IP addresses, and so on to help clean up your mailbox.
  • Click the removal button. Yes, for a long time we were told not to, but I read a report recently by a watchdog group that tried it, and it actually made a dent. It makes sense; spammers have to pay the bandwidth costs of sending out all those emails, so they don't want to send out any more than they have to. A cynic might say that the spammers probably started the "never ask to be removed" idea as a way of scaring people to stay on the lists.
  • Report spam to the Federal Trade Commission by forwarding the email to uce@ftc.gov. You should use this when you encounter fraudulent or deceptive business practices, though -- not for simple advertisements.
Keep in mind the nature of the email and take the appropriate action. You would handle smut-mail and scams differently than advertisement and non-threatening bulk email. Eventually it might not be cost-effective for bulk email marketers to operate and the spam-flow will (hopefully) dry up.

The Old Farmer's Almanac may not be high tech, but it does have a remarkable record of consistent accuracy that's pretty impressive. Since I spend a lot of time in the garden, I thought I'd pass it along. Check it out at http://www.almanac.com.

Inside the numbers
ameba has spent a lot of time at Experts Exchange, and during his tenure has come up with all kinds of interesting and useful ways of looking at the site. His latest project is a list of all of the Certified Experts, which he updates daily at his site. We'll be publishing the list of new certificates awarded every issue; what follows is those earned from May 2 through May 15. Thanks for your great work, ameba!
Expert Certified in Topic Area Expert Certified in Topic Area Expert Certified in Topic Area
hes
flavo
Mighty_Silly
tbsgadi
ryancys
rllibby
Zvonko
OMC2000
GrandSchtroumpf
orangehead911
maheshexp
Hilaire
ChrisFretwell
jchopde
JammyPak
buckeyes33
PeteLong
Guru
Guru
Master
Master
Master
Wizard
Genius
Master
Guru
Guru
Master
Wizard
Master
Master
Master
Master
Master
Visual Basic
MS Access
MS Access
MS Access
ASP
Delphi
JavaScript
JavaScript
Java
Java
Java
Microsoft SQL
Microsoft SQL
Microsoft SQL
Windows 2000
Hardware
Hardware
tinchos
vijay_visana
KurtVon
gemarti
baonguyen1
dstoker509
ahmedbahgat
MFay
Emptyone
mrichmon
PE_CF_DEV
sebastienm
shalomc
dfu23
ozo
Tintin
qwaletee
Master
Master
Master
Sage
Master
Master
Master
Master
Master
Guru
Master
Master
Master
Master
Sage
Guru
Sage
C++
MFC
MFC
Windows XP
Oracle
Exchange_Server
Exchange_Server
Exchange_Server
Exchange_Server
ColdFusion
ColdFusion
Excel
Web Development
Web Development
Perl
Perl
Lotus Notes/Domino
sirbounty
anupnellip
mayankeagle
AlexFM
Dhaest
cracky
CosminB
ankuratvb
sirbounty
snoyes_jw
Fatal_Exception
Bartender_1
shamstar
bryanh
jlevie
khkremer
lesouef
Master
Master
Master
Master
Master
Master
Master
Master
Master
Master
Master
Master
Master
Master
Guru
Guru
Master
Networking
Networking
Programming
Programming
Programming
PHP
PHP
C
Operating Systems
Mysql
Win Server 2003
Storage
Graphics
Linux Prog.
Sendmail
Adobe Acrobat
FileMaker
771 experts have 1095 certifications: Genius:9 Sage:41 Wizard:75 Guru:187 Master:783
Tip for New Members: "Can I have more than one account?"
In a word, NO. The membership agreement is quite clear: users may have only one account. It's confusing if one account asks a question and then another one, being used by the same person, comments. More to the point, it's cheating. The Moderators will ask you which one you want to use, and if you don't reply, they'll suspend both of them until you do.
 
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