Experts Exchange EE News June 2009

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June 10, 2009 >>

What's New at Experts Exchange
Page Editors, Geniuses and Kudos

The Accidental DBA
Top content from the new Articles Section

The Emperor Has No Clothes
Twitter and the sorry truth of hype

More News and Notes
Revolving door jammed by DOJ

Nata's Corner
News from the Gaming front

New Certificates
New certificate holders, through June 6

What's New at Experts Exchange

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New Page Editors and Zone Advisors:: Joining the Page Editor and Zone Advisor teams are chapmandew, SQL databases; jhyiesla, Apple; GrahamSkan, Microsoft Word; ikework, Game programming; mrjoltcola, Oracle; rorya, Excel; tedbilly, Microsoft Sharepoint; Chris-Dent, DNS, Active Directory, and Powershell; BlueDevilFan, Outlook; mkline71, Active Directory; and legalsrl, Anti-Virus and Security. Welcome aboard!

New Geniuses: Two weeks after earning his fourth Genius certificate matthewspatrick has picked his fifth, in SQL Query Syntax; he is only the sixth member of EE to have that many Genius certificates. boag2000's fourth Genius ranking comes in the Access Reports zone. BlueDevilFan has topped 1,000,000 points in his second zone, Visual Basic, while pravinasar became the ninth to reach that level in JavaScript. Congratulations on your accomplishments!


  • Lunchy, whose contributions as EE's Friendly Neighbourhood Community Support Moderator cannot be measured, recently celebrated the eighth anniversay of his appointment to his position. One of EE's truly good guys, we are also honored to call him a friend.
  • mlmcc became the eleventh member of EE to go over 10,000,000 points in his career.
  • ozo has earned 4,000,000 points in the Perl zone, where his the top ranked Expert; saurabh726 reached the same level in Microsoft Excel.
  • Chris-Dent and tigermatt have both earned over 5,000,000 points overall.

Kudos: In the course of taking care of some business, one of the Moderators came across 20lbMonkey's question on rich text, ActionScript and Flex, and found his comments to mplord worth noting:

Thank you so much. I was able to get this to work successfully. It actually helped me to connect the dots on a few other issues I was have trouble with. I will accept this solution and reward you with the points. But, you have me curious as to how to use one version of RTE to connect with many Text Areas. I have been playing with this quite a bit and am having no luck. I am assuming that you need to use a onclick event to dispatch an event and reset the focus of the Text Editor? Just let me know if I should be closing this out and opening a new question as I am still new to all of this. Again, thanks for you help! This site rocks.

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Tips From the Moderators

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One of the issues that pops up every so often is the question of "bad" advice, and what a member should do about it.

The one thing you should not do is pick a fight over the matter. Yes, seeing the wrong advice repeated could be dangerous (opening your CRT monitor and playing with the capacitors if you don't know what you're doing, for example); more often, though, it will cause someone some inconvenience and frustration.

Use the Request Attention button instead, and let us deal with the matter. We have some tremendous resources to help sort everything out, so please let us handle the situation.

Managing the Transaction Log for the Accidental DBA

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Experts Exchange would like to thank the community for its contributions in the new Articles section, which is currently in a live beta. We understand crafting a resourceful tech Article can be some work, but know that our Page Editors are experts in their respective zones and are here to help coach you through the Article writing process.

A good example of this was mark_wills' recent Article Managing the Transaction Log for the Accidental DBA, which underwent a few revisions before being published. In the end, the article was so polished and resourceful, it earned "EE Approval" and another 1,500 points on top of the 500 Articles receive upon being published.

For additional information on Articles and making sure your masterpiece is up to EE's publishing standards, check out the Article Guidelines and Article Tips zone.

Attending one of Rob Farley's seminars the other day, I heard the phrase "The Accidental DBA" and fell in love with it. It got me thinking about the plight of the newcomer to SQL Server... So if you are the accidental DBA, or, simply new to SQL Server then there are a few concepts we can share to make your life easier.

Based on the frequency of questions we see in Experts-Exchange, I thought a 'light' discussion about the Transaction Log would be a good place to start.

Read the full article

The Emperor Has No Clothes

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An editor by trade, a writer by avocation and an Expert by some cosmic practical joke, ericpete puts together the newsletter for Experts Exchange.

We saw a comment from someone the other day -- Twitter founder Jack Dorsey -- that you'll know that Twitter is more than a passing fad when people stop talking about it. That bodes well, because we keep finding things that give us plenty of reason to talk about it and the other sites that seem to exist a) to give venture capitalists something to pour their hard-invested money into and b) to take up time from people (or waste their bosses' money) who should otherwise be writing reports or proposals or something.

Dorsey said that Twitter will have made the big time when it's like email: everyone has it, everyone uses it, and it is a critical component of governmental and commercial activity -- so much so that the US government's executive branch is required to keep all of its emails for the national archives. One has to wonder if that means that Twitter will have arrived when it is almost necessary for everyone to have a spam filter to weed out all the junk one can get in Twitter.

The emperor has no clothes, and we'll tell you why in a bit.

Of course, you can already argue that virtually everything on Twitter is just noise (read the comments). We're quite certain there are a few people out there who hang on every Twit from Shaquille O'Neal, including the one where he sent out his karma to his new BFF Kobe Bryant. But somehow, the marginally literate posts ("dats yo momma were r u I guarantee u woudnt say dat if I were next to, tell yo momma to page me") emanating from those who imagine themselves to be among O'Neal's confidantes don't seem to add a lot of insight to the discussion. It's more difficult to imagine O'Neal giving all 1.1 million of his followers his analysis of why Orlando -- his former team -- can't beat the Lakers -- his other former team -- in the NBA Finals. It is completely unfathomable that most of O'Neal's followers could verbalize why O'Neal's analysis might be faulty.

The site's churn rate -- technically the number of new subscribers it must get to replace the ones who quit in order to pay its bills, but since Twitter is free and has no income, we can only count the number of people who use it for a month and then leave -- is around sixty per cent. Something like ten per cent of its users make ninety per cent of its Twits (there goes the 80-20 rule). Simply put, it's boring.

But here's the real kicker: in the week of May 30 through June 5, there were fewer than 5,000 posts made, according to TwitterRoll. Total.

With two hours left in the week: Four thousand, six hundred fifty-six. (In case you're curious, about 250 of those updates came from either the whitehouse or obamanews accounts, while the Big Aristotle accounted for 32.) And that doesn't include the Twits made to the phony Tony LaRussa page. Prior to this sentence, this column had more words in it than there were Twits posted today world wide. This newsletter has about two-thirds of the number of characters in it than an entire day's worth of Twits have.

What's scary is that there are people who are worried about Twitter crashes. Please. Someone stop the insanity. A little caching -- maybe once an hour -- and a few cheap webservers can handle that, considering the relatively few posts that get made. Given the $50 million or so that has been dumped into Twitter -- enough that its founders can make the New York society blogs -- you'd think they could afford it.

We know. We're just bitter that we didn't think of it first.

More News and Notes

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Revolving door jammed: Over the years, and especially in the last few months or so, we've seen a ton of job changes -- people leaving one big tech company to go take a job at another company. We've seen big companies sue each other because someone who works for one gets offered a better job at another, and actually has the temerity to take it. Except that now, the US Justice department says that the companies aren't playing with a full deck, because they have been conspiring to keep from hiring away from each other -- unless they're asked first. Obviously, the companies all deny it (we don't know why they just don't point to professional sports leagues, though that's being snide) -- but at least one Google recruiter begs to differ.

New Yorker cover by Jorge ColomboWe couldn't do this well with a 23" monitor: In what has to be a first, the New Yorker cover from its June 1 edition was painted by artist Jorge Columbo on an iPhone using an application called Brushes, and shows how far we've come.

Airborne viruses: A report issued by the Federal Aviation Administration gives an overview of attacks by hackers that resulted in the compromising of 48,000 employees' personal information (including login and password data), the support operations, and even the air traffic control systems. No doubt the hackers knew that Microsoft was shutting down the Flight Simulator studio.

Oh, those silly columnists: We don't really mean to pick on the good people at c|net (okay, maybe a little), but when Microsoft releases something that more or less works right out of the box, it's a big story, and they're all over it. For those who don't get to attend conferences in San Francisco, Microsoft stole the thunder from Google Wave (which is not yet ready for prime time) by announcing Bing, the replacement for Live Search. As might be expected from people with either a mandate to ferret out all of the features and flaws in new software or just too much time on their hands, the first thing the c|net folks did was put it through its paces, seeing how it fared against The Other Guys, followed by the inevitable search for naughty words that had accompanying videos (on a Virgin Airlines flight, no less), followed by a dressing down (sorry, but we couldn't resist) of Microsoft for not preventing it better, and of Symantec for not being able to block it. But then what would they do when writing airport security stories?

Google logoHappy birthday, Tetris! Google celebrated with the logo at left, and also announced an interesting new toy. Meanwhile, mark down Friday as the The Day The BoobToob Died.

Don't believe everything you read: Microsoft plans to ship Windows 7 on or about October 22, not quite a thousand days after it gave everyone a reason to think about buying a Mac, and in doing so will also redefine netbooks. Okayyyyyyyy.

This just in: Tech bloggers get testy.

Necessity is the mother of invention: A few weeks back, we saw an item about how the US Army is outfitting its soldiers in Iraq with the iPod Touch, which prompts all kinds of images for those of us who grew up with Apocalypse Now. Now, Canadian researchers have come up with a way to make those 10-mile marches during boot camp a little more useful.

Happens on Law and Order all the time: A federal judge has tossed out the lawsuits brought by privacy advocates against the US telephone companies that had illegally allowed the government to tap phone lines without warrants. The suits were dismissed on the grounds that the telcos had been promised immunity by the Bush administration and affirmed by Congress, though the immunity had only been granted after the wiretaps had occured.

Sign of the Apocalypse: A church got banned by Wikipedia, and, according to one news report, a man dropped dead while using a Wii Fit (thanks, Anita!).

Nata's Corner

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Nata's PictureI am not one who normally plays a lot of games -- maybe some of the solitaire games once in a while, but mostly, I just can't get into them. But there was a lot of news in the gaming business this week, so I'm going to mention some of the ones that caught my eye.

The biggest news, at least as far as my mother-in-law will be concerned (all of her children are now planning what she is going to get for Christmas) is that the Beatles will be available for the Xbox using the Rockstar game system. That has to stick in Steve Jobs' craw a little bit, because he's been trying to get the Fab Four to sign up with iTunes for years now -- with limited success, although there are signs that maybe While My Guitar Gently Weeps will be available one of these days.

Microsoft also made news with its Project Natal game "un"controller, which will use sensors instead of the kind of controller we're all used to seeing tossed into television screens. When Microsoft demonstrated the system a week or so ago, nobody said when it would be available to the public, but I can't wait to see the results. Not to be outdone, Sony also announced a motion sensor controller for the PlayStation 3, but it's not going to around in time for Christmas either. They're both going to still have to play catch-up to the Wii.

ZoneAlarm sent out an alert late last week that warned about the Gumblar virus that had, at the time, infected about 3,000 websites including, a major US real estate site. Exploiting both the Google and Internet Explorer search bars, the sites can infect a machine and allow the computer to be monitored for any online activity -- compromising credit card and banking logins and passwords or anything else. There is also a Javascript exploit that has infected about 20,000 sites, yet another Twitter virus out of Russia, along with more rogueware.

Make sure your antivirus system is up to date, because sooner or later, you're going to wish you had.

Finally, the spammers took a bit of a hit last week when a California ISP was shut down by the Federal Trade Commission. It may be a while before we see the impact -- but it's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. Next up for the FTC: robocallers.

New Certificates

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