Experts Exchange EE News Sept 2008

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September 17, 2008 »

What's New at Experts Exchange
Zones, a Zone Advisor, and Geniuses

Digital Corporate Accounts Brochure
Please, take one!

A Stranger In A Strange Land
leew takes his Mets on the road with him

Google's New Browser's EULA: Ooops
Daydreams has an update on Chrome

More News and Notes
From our far-flung correspondents

Nata's Corner
Microsoft could learn customer service lesson

New Certificates
New certificate holders, through September 13

Tips From The Moderators
Dealing with certification exams

What's New at Experts Exchange

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New Shirts: For those of you who answer enough questions to earn a certificate and one of Experts Exchange's very cool t-shirts, suitable for wearing to your next meeting with boss to ask for a salary increase, they are now available in the 3XL size.

Zone Update: We have added 18 new zones, and have combined several zones to make finding the right place to ask your question a little easier. No questions have been deleted, but where you had points in several zones, you might find that you now have more points in one. The new zones are:

New Zone Advisor: garycase has joined Callandor as a Zone Advisor in the hardware zones. Welcome aboard!

New Geniuses: lrmoore has earned his seventh Genius certificate, this one in VPN. He is the third EE member to accomplish the feat.

RobWill earned a Genius certificate in Small Business Server, bringing his total to five. objects picked up a Genius certificate in New To Java; it is his second. LeeTutor also received his second Genius certificate, in Windows Vista. Others reaching the 1,000,000 point level were chris_bottomley in MS Excel and Chris-Dent in DNS.

Kudos:: JOrzech, the Zone Advisor for Microsoft Word, made quick work of a table of contents question asked by Smp351, taking only ten minutes to respond, and only fourteen minutes to solve the problem completely.

That was slightly quicker than cdbeste's solution to a question about uninterruptible power supplies asked by bswinnerton. We like the suggestion so much that we're going to buy one before winter hits.


  • angelIII has earned 24,000,000 points overall. He is the first member of Experts Exchange to hold a Savant certificate and have more than 2 million points in another zone as well.
  • leew has earned 9,000,000 points overall.
  • KCTS and peter57r both reached the 6,000,000 point milestone. 4,000,000 of peter57r's points are in the Microsoft Access zone.
  • Achieving 5,000,000 points overall is mplungjan.

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Digital Corporate Accounts Brochure

There's plenty to like about Corporate Accounts; some are fond of saving thousands of dollars in time, others like to know that their organization is just clicks away from the knowledge of the world's most helpful Experts and still more enjoy the atmosphere within their office of empowered employees.

With so many aspects of Corporate Accounts to appreciate, one thing is clear: It's impossible to tell people about all the great features of a Corporate Account within a 200 word newsletter article. That's why we've created our "Discover Corporate Accounts" page. Think of it as the web equivalent of a brochure. It's here for you to take back to the office and evaluate it at your convenience. It will help you decide if a Corporate Account is right for your organization and is chocked full of goodies including a list of current clients, a "convince your manager" aid that'll ensure purchase approval, and details on our flexible pricing structure that can accommodate organizations of any size. So please, take one!

» Save with Corporate Accounts
» Learn More

Tips From the Moderators

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Posting code and working with Experts.

This issue's tip comes from byundt, the Zone Advisor for Excel, who wrote, "I ran across this article about cheating on certification exams for Microsoft, Cisco, Symantec, etc. Apparently, cheating takes the form of studying past exam questions (they are frequently reused) or having a proxy take the test for you. The problem got so bad, that 100% of test-takers at one test center in India got "Superior" scores on a test."

"After I sent the link," byundt continued, "I realized that EE can be part of the problem, too. We get frequent questions for where to find "free" study materials for these exams. By answering those questions, we are probably sending the Asker to those sites that the article was referencing. I now understand why AnnieMod was so dead set against posting a response to those questions.

Experts Exchange has always had a very subtle policy about the issue. On the one hand, actually giving someone the answers to questions he is answering on a certification exam is almost the same as cheating, so the Experts have always felt they shouldn't do that. On the other hand, EE exists to help people, and part of that is teaching people how to do their jobs.

For Askers, that boils down to "being clear about your purpose" when asking your question. Rather than asking for the answer, ask for help understanding those issues you don't. For Experts, it means you should guide someone to the answer, rather than giving it to them directly.

Digital Corporate Accounts Brochure

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There's plenty to like about Corporate Accounts; some are fond of saving thousands of dollars in time, others like to know that their organization is just clicks away from the knowledge of the world's most helpful Experts and still more enjoy the atmosphere within their office of empowered employees.

With so many aspects of Corporate Accounts to appreciate, one thing is clear: It's impossible to tell people about all the great features of a Corporate Account within a 200 word newsletter article. That's why we've created our "Discover Corporate Accounts" page. Think of it as the web equivalent of a brochure. It's here for you to take back to the office and evaluate it at your convenience. It will help you decide if a Corporate Account is right for your organization and is chocked full of goodies including a list of current clients, a "convince your manager" aid that'll ensure purchase approval, and details on our flexible pricing structure that can accommodate organizations of any size. So please, take one!

»Save with Corporate Accounts
»Learn More

21 new corporate clients:

SeaChange International
Mojave Water Agency
Placer County Water Agency
St. Peter's School
County of Volusia
CVI MellesGriot
Aiglon College
Reynolds, Smith and Hills
Salt River Project (SRP)
FastScale Technology

Gunderson Dettmer
City of Springfield
Diebold Information & Security Systems
Delfi Technologies A/S
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Orange County Public Schools
San Diego Data Processing

Corporate accounts

»Save with Corporate Accounts
»Learn More

A Stranger In A Strange Land

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leew is a Zone Advisor in the Windows zones, and is a Microsoft MVP. He attended the Experts Exchange Core Conference in August.

I was one of the lucky ones able to attend the recent Core Conference in San Luis Obispo. I flew into Los Angeles, rented a car that had an auxiliary in jack (I didn't specifically require or even request this), and drove up to San Luis Obispo on Wednesday afternoon.

Before I left the LA area, I decided I should check out that electronics store so many people on the West coast recommend -- Fry's Electronics. Fry's is like a cross of Microcenter (or CompUSA for those who don't have Microcenter's near them), Best Buy, the entire Radio Shack Catalog, and about half of a Staples office supply store... in a building that's at least as large as a Costco, Sams, or BJ's wholesale club -- if not larger. If you're a bit of a geek or into technology, you should visit one if you ever find yourself in near one. Anyway, while at Fry's I was looking for a USB to Parallel cable (I had an old portable printer with me and a laptop with no parallel connection... I was a bit amused when I went and asked for help in locating the cable. The sales representative looked, checked the computer, and looked again. After about 5 minutes, he said I should go check over in "computers". I responded, "this isn't the computer section?" He replied, "No, this is components". That may give you an idea of how large this place is.

While there, I picked up a little 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio jumper cable. I figured I could use this for my MP3 player.

As I'm leaving the store's parking lot, about to embark on my three hour tour of Southern California to Central California, it occurs to me that the Mets will be playing in about an hour -- a night game in Washington, DC. Now I'm a fan of baseball... just not a CRAZY fan of baseball... and I listen to or watch at least some portion of probably 95% or more of the games my team plays. While AM radio has a pretty good range (I've been able to listen to games while at the northern most part of Maine), it's not going to reach California... so what's a Mets addict supposed to do?

If my rental car had a satellite radio, I could listen to the game like that. But it didn't. So I had to improvise. I had with me my Samsung BlackJack (the original), 2 standard and one high-capacity, fully charged batteries, and a Sling Box in my Long Island "office" connected to DirectTV. And I have the little Sling Player for Windows Mobile. Of course, I'm not crazy enough to actually watch the game while driving. BUT, the Windows Mobile Sling player has an Audio only mode that (I assume) conserves battery power. So at 4pm Pacific time, as the Mets and Nationals are about to start, I connect my phone via it's headphone adapter and the little cable I bought at Fry's to the car's auxiliary in, change the channel to SportsNet New York (SNY) and set it to audio only mode. I then proceed to drive about 3 hours from the LA area to San Luis Obispo listening to the television audio of a baseball game, streaming through my phone and AT&T's cellular network, plugged into the car. Worked great... for the entire 3 hour drive, I only lost about 12-15 minutes of audio when I passed through areas with weak to no cell phone coverage.

So the next time you're going on a trip out of your area, consider a Slingbox and a good data plan with your phone company... then you too can catch the game... wherever you are!

Google's New Browser's EULA: Ooops

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Daydreams sent us a little note about the early days of Google's Chrome browser.

When Google's Chrome was first released it had a rather extreme TOS for the new browser:

"By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any content which you submit, post or display on or through, the services. This license is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the services and may be revoked for certain services as defined in the additional terms of those services."

It didn't take long for reactions. Now they're sorry and changed it to:

11. Content license from you
11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.

Google says (via their official blog), "We're sorry we overlooked this". I'm not buying it. I don't know yet what the implications might be but I can only hope their corporate motto "don't be evil" is genuine. There are more than a few posts around the net noting suspicion of Google's intentions, some even suggesting that Chrome is akin to spyware. Of course we have this concern; Gmail suggests products and services to me by noting items in my private communications. I don't mind this as I believe it's "automatic"; there's no one person who can see my email. Not that it's all that risqué anyway (I'll use another service for that! Just kiddin' .. :-)

Chrome is fast; a major advantage even over Firefox in my experience so far. It knows where you've been and that can make it easy to find things but it does not have add-ons and bookmark management like Firefox. That may be added in the future since this is a beta release. The Chrome browser may be shiny, new and dazzle us with its tricks, but it has to add some functionality to be useful to me, and I, for one, have yet to come to trust that it will respect my privacy and my permissions to reveal what I choose to Google or anyone else.

Editor's note: Google has released fixes for some of the security issues discovered when the browser was initially released.

More News and Notes

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From our far-flung correspondents: We get mail from a wide variety of people, and we've been saving these up for a very rainy day in the Midwest (thanks, Ike!).

  • One of those people requested anonymity in sending this in, but since a lot of us use Gmail, it seemed a good idea to pass along some comments on why you should take advantage of Google's SSL feature as soon as possible.
  • angelIII dropped us a note on the should-be-world-famous game question that occupied too many people's spare time at the Core Conference last month. For the record, zorvek earned the points, but we'll bet that everyone who saw the assembled multitudes trying to solve the problem had at least as much fun as he did.
  • kieran_b found a slightly-less-than-impressed view of how Google stacks up compared to Microsoft.

So what else should we all be doing? We'll get TechRepublic credit where's due: They came up with five things that suck about working in IT, and their readers came up with five more.

Happy birthday, Integrated Circuit: Where would we be without you?

Somewhere, the gods are smiling... and so, I'm sure, is my favorite publisher. Google has announced plans to digitize the content of every newspaper it can find, including those small, local papers that are a constant reminder that Steve Ballmer's assertions to the contrary, print ain't quite dead yet.

It has something to do with the Mile High Club and FAA restrictions: Members of the flight attendants union have asked American Airlines management to consider restrictions on the websites that are accessible using the in-flight WiFi on the company's planes.

Usually, when numbers aren't released, it means the numbers aren't very good: Video game maker Electronic Arts has said that its latest release, Spore, is "holding its own" at stores, but that only serves to put a shine on what was otherwise a rough week. First, the reviews posted at Amazon gave the game low marks for its copy protection scheme (note to the movie and recording industries: See? This just ticks off your customers. Sooner or later, they'll start letting their money do their talking for them.). Then EA decided to drop its takeover bid for rival game maker Take-Two.

We'll let you know: Given the amount of time we're on the road, and how dependent we've become on flash drives and such, we're going to give Dropbox a spin.

Legal Notices: Only because we've spent so much space following the story, one of the eleven people indicted for hacking the T. J. Maxx chain has pleaded guilty.

Somewhere, the gods are giggling... An Apple update of iTunes caused Vista users to look at a Blue Screen Of Death. Apple issued a fix.

Sign of the Apocalypse: The various spook outfits in the US are thinking about building their own "Facebook" for spies. Let's hope they don't have the same problems the real one does.

Nata's Corner

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Nata's PictureCustomer service: what a concept.

Everyone has, by now, seen one of the truly not very funny ads featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates, trying to seem hip like Apple's PC vs Mac commercials. I guess I'm supposed to feel a lot better about my laptop and Vista (everyone should know how frustrating I find it), but it mostly makes me just go "Huh?". Perhaps MS should rethink the money their spending on advertising and put it into more customer service people scattered at big retailers.

See, that's the thing. I travel around quite a bit, and I'm always surprised at what passes for customer service -- more because it's really pretty rare than anything else. A few nights ago, we stopped at a restaurant next door to our hotel for a late night snack, and my other half left his cell phone on the table. The waitress came next door almost immediately and returned it; that's uncommon. More common is what happens when I was trying to do the laundry: machines are broken, the change machine is empty, and the "call for help" phone number goes unanswered.

To heck with the expensive marketing, never mind the fact that Seinfeld is apparently a bought-and-paid-for hypocrite. Gates should hire that waitress in St. Louis instead; at least she's honest. The job probably pays better, too.

Finally, I had a little back-to-school reminder last week. In case your kids don't believe you when you tell them that websites like Facebook are dangerous, just tell them they could easily be fooled into launching a DOS attack or joining a botnet. Given that people can even hack the CERN website, it's a good bet they can build apps for Facebook.

New Certificates

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Expert Certified in Topic Area
RQuadlingMasterMS DOS
rpggamergirlMasterWindows 2000
chapmandewMasterMS Access
FlysterGuruMS Access
NatchiketSageMS Access
mwvisa1MasterMS SQL Server
grant300MasterMS SQL Server
TheMegaLoserMasterMS SQL Server
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Geert_GruwezGuruDelphi Programming
atul_parmarGuruDelphi Programming
TheRealLokiSageDelphi Programming
tedbillyMasterWeb Development
julianmatzMasterApache Web Server
gheistGuruUnix Networking
RobWillMasterWindows NT Network
war1MasterEudora Email
robsantosMasterOutlook Groupware
rakeshmiglaniGuruOutlook Groupware
apache09WizardOutlook Groupware
captainreissMasterEE Lounge
TintinMasterLinux Setup
SheharyaarSaahilMasterHP Printers
oBdAMasterWin NT Setup
phototropicMasterAnti-Virus Apps
tigermattMasterMicrosoft IIS Web Server
brwwigginsMasterMicrosoft IIS Web Server
hieloGuruPHP for Windows
seriousnickMasterWindows XP
WakeupMasterWindows XP
chilternPCMasterWindows XP
i_m_aamirMasterMySQL Server
rickchildMasterSQL Reporting
tshelMasterSQL Reporting
SheharyaarSaahilMasterAdobe Acrobat
folderolGuruMS Excel
PsychotecGuruMS Excel
chris_bottomleyGeniusMS Excel
SheharyaarSaahilGuruMS Word
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Rajith_EnchiparambilMasterWindows 2003 Server
MarkMichaelMasterWindows 2003 Server
coolsport00MasterWindows 2003 Server
jss1199GuruWindows 2003 Server
keith_alabasterGuruWindows 2003 Server
sjm_eeWizardAIX Unix
imateyelectronicsMasterASP.Net Programming
jcoehoornGuruASP.Net Programming
melmersMasterMS Visual Basic
VelioMasterMS Visual Basic
johnb6767MasterSBS Small Business Server
Netman66MasterSBS Small Business Server
tigermattWizardSBS Small Business Server
KCTSSageSBS Small Business Server
RobWillGeniusSBS Small Business Server
rindiMasterWireless Ethernet
joebednarzMasterOracle 9.x
jpaulinoMasterMS Visual C#
DhaestGuruMS Visual C#
Ray_PaseurMasterSearch Engines
jcimarronGuruInternet Explorer
Gary_The_IT_ProMasterAS / 400
peakpeakMasterEmail Servers
coolsport00MasterActive Directory
MidnightOneMasterActive Directory
kieran_bMasterActive Directory
SysExpertMasterNorton Ghost Backup
leewMasterBackup Exec
rpggamergirlMasterOS Network Security
MicheleMarconMasterNew To Java
objectsGeniusNew To Java
dragon-itGuruWindows Batch
sparkmakerMasterPower Supplies / UPS
LowfatspreadGuruSQL Syntax
slightwvMasterPL / SQL
sdstuberSagePL / SQL
JimFiveMasterSQL Server 2005
JagdishDevakuMasterSQL Server 2005
mwvisa1MasterSQL Server 2005
BrandonGalderisiGuruSQL Server 2005
tigermattWizardMicrosoft OS
LeeTutorGeniusWindows Vista
ryansotoMasterMS Server
martin_babarikMasterMS Server
RobWillGuruMS Server
gaanthonyMasterMicrosoft LCS
johnb6767MasterMS Software
boag2000GuruAccess Architecture/Design
GRayLGuruAccess Forms
GRayLGuruAccess Coding/Macros
avnish_tannaMaster.NET Framework 2.x
merowingerGuruVB Script
sungenwangGuruVB Script
keith_alabasterMasterMS Forefront
strungMasterApple Laptop
hieloMasterWeb Development
scrathcyboyGuruWeb Development
ZvonkoMasterRegular Expressions
sparkmakerWizardPC Laptops
lrmooreMasterNetwork Management
giltjrMasterMainFrame OS

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