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Your Technology Problems...SOLVED

OCTOBER 17, 2012

Featured Content

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

Nata's Corner
Scamming with fake service

Tip From the Mods
The niceties of grading

Editor's Choice Article
leew on IT consulting

In Brief
Things you might have missed

Who did what through Oct. 13

What's New at E-E

Giveaway: Write an article (and get it published) between now and November 5, and be entered to win a Nexus tablet. The ten articles with the most points as of that date will be the finalists, and the Page Editors will pick one to win. Just a little advice: Read the Guidelines and Tips before you get started.

Free trial: Know someone who could benefit from Experts Exchange, but who has always said that s/he doesn't want to spend some money on something without trying it? Have that person fill out this form and they'll get a 90-day free trial.

Help us with Jamie's next webinar: JamieMcAllister's first webinar on SharePoint lists and libraries has brought in requests for a follow-up, so we'd like to know what you'd like to hear about, so please help him pick the topic.

T-shirts: The folks at the head office are thinking of doing another t-shirt donation drive to benefit UNICEF Inspired Gifts. Do not start donating shirts today; we'll get you the details when they become available.

Saying their piece: evilrix, never shy about giving his opinion on things, recently wrote a blog post that describes Experts Exchange as the "ethical technology site". The piece is an excerpt from his about me page.

Podcast: Jason Putorti, the founder of Votizen and one of the speakers at the recent TEDxSan Luis Obispo, sat down for a conversation about how technology is changing politics. All of the Experts Exchange podcasts are available on iTunes and SoundCloud, and you can listen to them on the Stitcher app for iOS and Android mobile devices.

Server Survey: If you're one of those sysadmin or netadmin types, Experts Exchange would like you to fill out a short survey on the systems you manage. Someone will get an EE hat and polo shirt, so you might as well take a couple of minutes and give it a shot.

The In-box: Not to beat a dead horse, but our item a few weeks back about Twitter and the NFL's replacement referees prompted skirklan to drop us a note: "Man, I saw those refs screw up; I knew it would end the strike. Rich guys; they just don't listen or everything they hear they think is in regard to their money."

Kudos: lrbrister posed a question about capturing a string from a textbox in Access, and was helped by fyed and mbizup. In addition to posting in the thread, lrbrister also posted a CS question: "Just wanted to pass along my thanks to mbizup on my MS Access question at This Question. This expert went way above and beyond in sticking with me and not losing patience, especially since I forgot to include a critical part of my question that would have allowed him to solve it quickly.

"I (like many) am extremely swamped at my job and use EE as a resource in areas I'm not familiar with. When I'm working, I try and solve a problem myself, if I get stumped, I post it on EE and move onto something else. Without fail, I generally get an answer within 30 minutes.

Way to go folks! Your experts are greatly appreciated."

Customer Service contest: If you have a reason to deal with the CS department, you can win one of the very nice EE polo shirts just for filling out the survey after your experience. The contest runs through the end of the month, so post about your experience today!

Free 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.

Editor's Choice Article

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How Do I Know What to Charge as an IT Consultant?
By leew

As a full time independent consultant for the past five years, I've heard that question all too often. Typical rates charged by a professional IT consultant or small consulting firm can range from $75 to $200 per hour or more. Other professional services, including attorneys, auto mechanics, and certified public accountants - who frequently charge as much or more than an IT consultant - can be among those complaining about paying these "high rates" when seeking professional IT assistance.

So why are these rates so high? There are many factors and where you live can be among them. This article uses rates and common expenses found in the New York metropolitan area. Your area may have different rates for certain things, such as rent, utilities, insurance, etc. The math should hopefully be easy to follow, so you can adjust the numbers here to properly reflect your expected expenses and determine a reasonable rate for you in your area. (That includes potentially reducing your expected annual income if those in your area typically make less than in the New York Metropolitan area). Let's take a look at some reasonable expenses a full time IT consultant would likely have (some that they SHOULD have) if they worked out of their home.


Nata's Corner

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Nata's PicturefacebookYou can read all about what it's like to unfriend someone (or be unfriended) on Facebook, or you can just watch the video.

With just a couple of weeks left until the Presidential election in the US, there are more and more malware attacks hitting our inboxes, and they're newer too, designed to overcome some of the barriers that both Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10 will put in the way. Of course, that won't help much if you buy a computer that comes with malware pre-loaded. Microsoft has issued its semi-annual security intelligence report that lists a good number of common programs that might contain malware, too.

If you're one of the people who happens to live in an area that isn't covered by a 3G or 4G network, you may be getting some relief. Unfortunately, we're not included in one of the areas.

A couple of weeks ago we were out of town when my other half's mother called. She told us this story about some guy who called saying he was from Microsoft (she thought) and that her computer had been infected, to please read her some numbers, and that he was going to help her fix it. Being skeptical, she decided that she'd better call her son first -- so he got to spend about 45 minutes stepping her through taking some preventive measures to protect her. Fortunately, while she isn't above buying things on line, she's very wary about giving out her credit card information or anything like that, so the scammer who tried to pull the ammyy.com scam wasn't successful, but you should check with your parents to make sure they haven't fallen victim to it. The FTC has taken steps to shut down the scammers.

Finally, be it beyond me to tell anyone to turn off a security feature, but if you're insistent on using Internet Explorer, you're probably seeing lots of "Security Warnings" when you visit web sites that begin with https://. That's because not everything on the page is on the secure server; it's not unusual for a website to have images or a menu on an unsecured web server -- and IE is doing its best to warn you. Fixing IE so it doesn't give you the warning isn't all that hard -- but it's not something anyone really recommends.

  1. From your control panel, select Internet Options, or open IE and from the menu, select Tools and then Internet Options.
  2. Select the Security tab, and then click the Custom level button.
  3. That will open a new window called Security Settings. Scroll down until you find Display mixed content.
  4. Change the setting from Prompt to Enable.
  5. Click OK, which will close the Security window, and then click Apply and OK.

But again, I wouldn't advise it.

In Brief

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Endeavour finally gets a rest: The final mission of Endeavour -- a live video feed for most of its 12-mile trip that was almost impossible to turn away from -- came to an end early Sunday morning at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. You'll no doubt find about a gazillion images on line; the Los Angeles Times has a pretty representative collection. In no small amount of serendipity, at about the same time Endeavour was arriving at its new home, Felix Baumgartner was lifting off from Roswell, NM, for his faster-than-sound freefall, and it was also the anniversary of Chuck Yeager's flight that broke the sound barrier for the first time.

Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck: Less than a week after offering up a proposal to the European Union that would ward off antitrust action, Google found itself in the Federal Trade Commission's crosshairs over the same issue.

As if we really need this: On the other hand, it helps when writing your PowerPoint. If you need a little more help when it comes to actually, y'know, talking with people, this should help, unless you haven't had an original thought since you were three.

Or this: Can anyone imagine a moderated Twitter? They've already deep-sixed @FiredBigBird, and now everyone can tell the cops you're speeding.

Apple loses its way: Make all the jokes you want, but the mapping system in iOS was inevitable, even though Apple's developers apparently told the boss it wasn't ready for prime time. To Apple's credit, the boss apologized; it also made good after ripping off a design.

And haven't we heard this before?

AT&T wouldn't have been so nice about it: A woman in France received a bill for €11,721,000,000,000,000.

So... who'd notice? Driverless cars are now legal in California, meaning that all those people who talk and text don't have to worry about getting tickets any more -- not that they were driving to begin with.

Better than bumper stickers: License plates Round 1 and Round 2.

A Nobel cat: The Nobel Prize for physics went to two physicists who have come up with not one, but two ways to solve the Schrodinger's Cat paradox, which might not seem like a big deal except that it opens up all kinds of possibilities for faster computers.

In case you were curious: One of the reasons the world is paying attention to whether Apple or Samsung infringed on each other's patents is because of one federal court. The whole system borders on the absurd.

Be careful what you wish for: Ars Technica asked, "What's wrong with tech support?" and then answered its own question. All we can say is shibboleet.

Finally: Figures it's an election year, but at least they're starting to pay attention. Canada figured it out a while ago. On a related matter, has anyone else noticed that they always deny it before admitting it?

Good news and bad news: On the one hand, we'll give you the money. On the other hand, use it to hire a lawyer.

Signs of the Apocalypse: Apple fingerprint software exposes Windows passwords. Facebook has a help center, which probably won't help. A Silicon Valley reality show complete with a drinking game.


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New Geniuses: Three Experts Exchange members have earned their second Genius certificates in the past two weeks, while two others have earned their first. DaveBaldwin, ScottPletcher and dlethe are the two-time awardees in HTML, SQL Server 2005 and Hard Drives & Storage respectively. First time 1,000,000 point members are Exchange_Geek in Exchange and thinkpads_user in Windows 7. Congratulations, folks!


Expert In Topic Area Certificate
binaryevo.NET ProgrammingGuru
LSMConsulting.NET ProgrammingMaster
anarki_jimbel.NET ProgrammingWizard
RancyActive DirectoryGuru
clonyxlroActive DirectoryMaster
SulimanwActive DirectoryMaster
sushil84Active DirectoryMaster
dvt_localboyActive DirectoryWizard
pgnatyukApple OSMaster
MAG03Cisco PIX/ASAMaster
GreatVargasEmail ServersMaster
Sembee2Email ServersMaster
CallandorHard DrivesGuru
DaveBaldwinLinux DistributionsMaster
BembiMicrosoft IIS Web ServerMaster
DaveBaldwinMicrosoft IIS Web ServerWizard
Frosty555Misc HardwareMaster
Garry-GMisc NetworkingMaster
marine7275Misc NetworkingMaster
BardobraveMisc Web DevMaster
IrogSintaMS AccessSage
pcelbaMS ApplicationsMaster
robhensonMS ApplicationsMaster
The_BarmanMS ApplicationsMaster
dragon-itMS ExcelMaster
IrogSintaMS ExcelMaster
NB_VCMS ExcelMaster
burrcmMS OfficeMaster
Expert In Topic Area Certificate
BembiMS Server AppsMaster
leakim971MS SharePointMaster
Jared_SMS SQL ServerMaster
SaurvMS SQL ServerMaster
Shannon_LowderMS SQL ServerMaster
ScottPletcherMS SQL Server 2005Genius
pourfardMS SQL Server 2005Master
RazmusMS SQL Server 2008Guru
Jared_SMS SQL Server 2008Master
keyuMS SQL Server 2008Master
ingwaMySQL ServerMaster
ArneLoviusNetwork OperationsMaster
anand_20703Oracle DatabaseMaster
flow01Oracle DatabaseWizard
flow01Query SyntaxMaster
tim_csQuery SyntaxMaster
lwadwellQuery SyntaxWizard
SulimanwSBS Small Business ServerMaster
BigSchmuhServer HardwareGuru
madunixServer HardwareMaster
farzanjShell ScriptingGuru
dletheStorage MiscGenius
ve3ofaStorage MiscMaster
noxchoStorage MiscSage
dletheUnix OSMaster
padasVB ScriptMaster
mbizupVisual Basic ClassicGuru
MutawadiWindows 2003 ServerMaster
thinkpads_userWindows 7Genius
uescompWindows 7Master
xxdcmastWindows 7Master
McKnifeWindows 7Wizard
ArneLoviusWindows Server 2008Guru
angelIIIWindows Server 2008Master
LabsyWindows Server 2008Master
tsmvpWindows Server 2008Sage
spaperovWindows Server 2008Wizard
breadtanWindows XPMaster
byundtWindows XPMaster
jakob_diWireless HardwareMaster