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Your Technology Problems...SOLVED

OCTOBER 23, 2013

Featured Content

What's New at Experts Exchange
From SLO and beyond

Nata's Corner
Privacy, ads and ransomware

Tip From The Mods
How to treat a newbie

What they're saying about you

In Brief
Things you might have missed

Who did what through Oct. 19

What's New at E-E

New Topic Advisors: Newly appointed Topic Advisors include phoffric, CodeCruiser, gr8gonzo, leakim971, Joe_Woodhouse, sjef_bosman and julianH. Welcome aboard!

Blog Posts: Experts Exchange has begun using its blog to highlight questions and solutions sent in by the Topic Advisors. Some of the recent posts include:

DrackulaUnlimited racks for $29/mo: It's a data center app that doesn't bite, also known as dRACKula. Now you can get unlimited users and manage unlimited racks and datacenters for just $29 a month or $299 a year.

Expert badge: If you haven't grabbed one already, be sure to nab your very own certified Expert Badge and show off your skills on your personal blog or website. All the cool kids are doing it!

BugfinderBugFinder: BugFinder is Experts Exchange's new system that allows you to post your website and have Experts help you find the problems with spelling and grammar, display issues, functionality and security issues, or just get feedback. You assign points based on the nature of the bugs found, and can reward those Experts who help you out the most. Check it out.

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.


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ssmith94015 had what seems to be a pretty simple problem: formatting a duration of time jimpen's first post came three minutes after the question was asked, with a correction a couple of minutes later: Jim, I want to extend my sincere appreciation for your help. I have been out of work for a bit and have a chance for an SQL position doing a lot of querying against the servers, something I have not done for years as I have been mostly doing ACCESS development. Am trying to cram a lot of information in my head this weekend, so keep on the look out for more questions! I try to figure them out myself first, but rely on EE when I am stumped. Again, thank you.

It's not always the Asker who says "thanks". In lgojer123's question about postcard marketing, relative newcommer aadih posted a blind link and had it deleted, with an explanation, by padas, one of the Topic Advisors, who explained why: "aadih, not serious. Just more effort to create a better thread of answers. You can use links to help support what you are saying. Just avoid simply posting a blind link. Thank you for your contribution." aadih replied: [Understood.] Thank you for the opportunity to learn about the policy about blind links. A teacher needs no explanation for his teaching. Thank you, padas.

Collaboration is at the core of what the Experts do at EE; that was on display in dthansen's first foray into a REST API in .NET. AlexCode initially posted a link to another Q&A website that got deleted, and after reading why, posted a much more complete answer that was accepted as the answer. He wrote: Thanks for pulling it out of me padas! :) Cheers!

dtleahy freely admitted that he is a beginner in PHP in his question looking for a "modern tutorial". GaryC123 wasted no time in pointing to Ray_Paseur's highly ranked article on PHP 5.5 (to which dtleahy replied, "Ray Pasaur is brilliant, and has helped me out in the past on several other issues. He must need a wheelbarrow to carry his brain." But then the Master himself posted a link to his article titled And by the way, I am New to PHP:

Unfortunately, there is no letter in the English alphabet grading system above A (or at least, EE doesn't give me the option of giving an A+), so all I can do is award the points and give an "A."

But, I want to take the time to acknowledge Ray Paseur (whose last name I butchered in my comment above.) Ray, I want to offer a sincere "thank you" for all of the time and energy that you put into posting not only solutions, but more importantly, a mindset of approaching programming problems and their solutions that strives for excellence in code and a thorough approach - not just "down and dirty" solutions.

I suspect you have been inspirational to many programmers - from beginner to advanced. I know you inspire me.

I'm a dinosaur programmer... Turbo Pascal, VB6, some C, a teeny tiny bit of LISP and Python... some web stuff in VBScript against MS SQL Server. I think my advantage over a complete beginner is in RDBMS backends and having a good handle on database architecture - hey, I wrote my first app in RBase! - and a general understanding of "proper" coding syntax and commenting. I was self-taught, and then went "back" and got a computer science degree. So, thank you for all of the resources, and I just have to decide whether the beginning php books or the intermediate php books you mention are my best bet (to start.) Once I figure out which ones to purchase, I'll purchase a couple of them right away.

Again, my sincere thanks for such a thorough answer (even if 'generic' and I just happened to fit it perfectly. The resource you provided could have been written directly for me, and not have been any better).

IverErling was trying to come up with a spreadsheet that would look for a substring in a range of strings. Both fanpages and Faustulus came up with solutions and sample workbooks that accomplished the same task in different ways, and even gave IverErling an introduction to VBA programming: First, thank you very much for GREAT help! Both your solutions work great and illustrate in a good way that this can be done. Second, this was just a sample to illustrate my "problem". Therefore, Faustulus is correct in assuming that AA and AB meant "somewhere else". I never thought of making a program for it. I have actually programmed quite a lot in VB before, so looking into VBA is definitely an option, and I will study your code and use it as my introduction to VBA. Again, thanks a lot for thorough and quick replies!

Nata's Corner

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Nata's PictureI want one. Preferably where it's warm. But I don't want something I'm supposed to want if I can't figure out why.

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, which must be why Facebook is trying to become what ValleyWag calls "Google for people" by removing a key privacy setting. Within the next few weeks, Facebook is going to remove a search setting (to be fair, they announced it last year) that let you control who could look you up by name. I guess they haven't figured out that a lot of people don't really want to be connected to everyone else just yet. Along the same lines, Yahoo's changes to its email are being called an "alpha version of Gmail".

DilbertI mentioned a few weeks back that Facebook was going to start using people's pictures in ads -- if you "Like" a product or company, you could wind up becoming an unpaid endorser. Now, Google is going to do the same thing, but they're not going to bother with anything so crude as a Like button. They're mining reviews on YouTube, posts on Google Plus and probably even your Gmail -- you know, because they can. But unlike Facebook, there's a way to get out of the Google ads. I just love the dialogue box, though: "Are you sure? When you disable this setting, your friends will be less likely to benefit from your recommendations." Is is just me? Or does Google really think my "friends" are going to pay attention to some automated ad? I love even more the novel payback that some people have used.

The other half's family gets together every summer in Oakland, CA, to watch an A's game, but they may rethink that, now that the city is acting a lot like the NSA, installing cameras and sensors all over the city and building a surveillance center to get all the data into one place. It's too bad the city can't use the money to fix a few other problems.

Finally, one of the things I probably don't write enough about is the security of your home wireless network, probably because like most people who live in a rural area away from neighbors, I don't think about it. Sophos recently reported on a backdoor to D-Link routers, which is enough for me to be thankful we don't have one. Sophos also reported on some really nasty ransomware that actually does what it says it will do: destroy all your files. So make sure your antivirus software is up-to-date, and it might even be worth investing in an external hard drive so you can back up your system.

In Brief

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First world problems: Instead of spending their 20 per cent time watching bears playing tetherball (thanks, Jason!), Google engineers built a tip calculator, and they're promising to keep supporting Windows XP for their Chrome browser into 2015. They might be better served by paying attention to their Play Store.

Firm grasp of the obvious: Why not just read the darn things? Now if someone can just convince the movie industry that increased sales means more money, not less -- which would happen if those same movie companies would just make the films available. And everyone wants his 15 minutes of [YouTube] fame.

All about the benjamins: Not that I have any of them anyway. It's not likely that Noah Glass will, though.

AppleAppropriate for this particular ship: HP says it needs "all hands on deck". Speaking of ships, Apple's spaceship campus (and Forbidden Castle) was approved last week; not everyone is happy.

In requiem: Mercury 7 astronaut Scott Carpenter. Google TV, which is now merged with Android. Dell stock. Endeavor redux.

Ooops. Microsoft pulled an update to Windows RT 8.1 two days after its release after it started bricking devices. Redmond will try again, but didn't say when.

Maybe people just don't have much to say: Tweets are getting shorter. Other Twitter numbers have been getting smaller too.

It's amazing what a recession will do for your business: For one thing, you'll begin to actually look at which ad medium actually generates sales.

We're going short on A-Rod: Fantex will let you buy stock in a pro athlete's future earnings. In case you missed it, Arian Foster got hurt Sunday.

Mariano Rivera he's not: But Steve Ballmer is still doing his own farewell tour, just as Microsoft relaunches the Start button. It's the little things, Steve.

Now where did I put my keys? It's hard to forget a fingerprint.

Not So Adept: The NSA is having all kinds of problems: underpowered data centers, Yahoo encrypting contact lists and all that spam. The federal health care exchange needs some help too, along with any number of other federal agencies.

Signs of the Apocalypse: Pinterest is finally trying to earn some revenue. iPhone 5 users are reporting BSODs. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg likes his privacy (thanks, Bev!). Jerry Bruckheimer has already signed Willis, Affleck and Liv Tyler.


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New Geniuses: Two Experts Exchange members have earned their first Genius certificates. breadtan has picked up his in Miscellaneous Security, while MartinLiss, who joined in November 1999, has received his in Microsoft Excel. Congratulations!


  • TheLearnedOne, who celebrated his 14th anniversary at Experts Exchange in August, has earned 17,000,000 points.
  • hanccocka is the 15th member of EE to earn 14,000,000 points.
  • mplungjan, a member of Experts Exchange since April 1998, has earned 11,000,000 points.
  • boag2000 brings the number of Experts who have earned 10,000,000 points to 37.
Expert In Topic Area Certificate
RainerJ.NET ProgrammingGuru
jagssidurala.NET ProgrammingMaster
rikin_shah.NET ProgrammingMaster
tagit.NET ProgrammingMaster
sarang_tinguriaActive DirectorySage
takecoffeBackup / RestoreMaster
andyalderBackup / RestoreWizard
amitkulshresthaEmail ServersGuru
clonyxlroEmail ServersMaster
arnoldHard DrivesMaster
GaryC123Internet MarketingMaster
gerwinjansenLinux DistributionsMaster
giveandtake638Microsoft IIS Web ServerMaster
mcsweenMicrosoft OSMaster
SandeshdubeyMicrosoft OSMaster
gsimosMicrosoft SMSMaster
breadtanMisc NetworkingGuru
DaveBaldwinMisc NetworkingGuru
donjohnstonMisc NetworkingSage
breadtanMisc SecurityGenius
michkoMisc SoftwareMaster
chilternPCMisc Web DevMaster
BitsqueezerMS ApplicationsMaster
hanccockaMS ApplicationsMaster
byundtMS ApplicationsSage
jacko72MS DevelopmentMaster
MartinLissMS ExcelGenius
thinkpads_userMS ExcelGuru
hgholtMS ExcelMaster
Expert In Topic Area Certificate
RainerJMS ExcelMaster
andrewssd3MS ExcelSage
fanpagesMS OfficeGuru
RainerJMS OfficeMaster
paulmacdMS Server OSMaster
SandeshdubeyMS Server OSMaster
VenurajavMS Server OSMaster
DaveBaldwinMS SQL ServerGuru
tapanpattanaikMS SQL ServerMaster
ged325MS SQL ServerWizard
Buttercup1MS SQL Server 2005Guru
RainerJMS SQL Server 2008Guru
padasMS SQL Server 2008Master
harbor235Network AnalysisMaster
TimotiStNetwork Design & MethodologyMaster
dletheNetworking HardwareMaster
richrumbleOS SecurityGuru
PortletPaulQuery SyntaxSage
smckeown777SBS Small Business ServerGuru
DavisMcCarnSBS Small Business ServerMaster
takecoffeSBS Small Business ServerMaster
arnoldShell ScriptingGuru
skullnobrainsShell ScriptingMaster
robocatStorage MiscGuru
fmarshallSwitches / HubsMaster
carlmdUnix OSMaster
dejaanbuVisual Basic.NETMaster
Ray_PaseurWeb BrowsersGuru
kaufmedWeb Services and WCFGuru
aadihWindows 7Guru
NRhodeWindows 7Master
pjamWindows 7Master
thinkpads_userWindows 8Guru
NRhodeWindows Server 2008Master
roybridgeWindows Server 2008Master
xKincaidxWindows Server 2008Master
Sembee2Windows Server 2012Master