Having trouble viewing this newsletter? View our web version to see it in your browser.

Your Technology Problems...SOLVED

NOVEMBER 23, 2011 - Happy Thanksgiving!


What's New at Experts Exchange
From the Central Coast and beyond

Examples of why we love EE

Nata's Corner
By the time you read this, you're late

The Long and Winding Road
Ten years of helping EE

In Brief
Things you might have missed

Who did what through Nov. 19


meetupMeet-up: About two dozen Experts Exchange members braved 15 degree weather to meet with site administrator Jason Levine, AKA WhackAMod in Chicagonatalie last week. He was joined by EE staffer Matt Stanford and one of our favorite EE people, Natalie Kuhn, who is finding out that the weather back at the home office wasn't all that bad. The EE Road Show will be on hiatus during December, but will pick back up January, when the schedule calls for us to be in New York City.

Just in time for the holidays: The Experts Exchange store is open for business. As might be expected, all of the merchandise is top shelf quality; EE has done a great job of finding goodies that you will use and enjoy showing off -- even the snow globes (just ask cleopatrark, who received hers for her brilliant sonnet written during our haiku contest. Mugs sent to your humble editor will be greatly appreciated.

New videos: By now, we hope you've taken a look at the Experts Exchange EE V.10 video and have posted to earn a t-shirt, but our friend Megan isn't the only person talking about the new Experts Exchange. First, there is Lead Engineer Michael Spencer, giving some background on why Experts Exchange has rebuilt all of the code behind the site. Second, there is EE's Lead Designer, Peter Uzzi, describing what users can expect to see when the new site is released. Finally, a cast of several gave their perspective on what makes EE what it is -- a different kind of community.

lucasNew Genius candidate: Lucas Owen Claud was born November 9 to Nathan and Jessi Claud. He weighted in at 6 lbs, 8 oz. and was 20" long. His paternal grandparents are Beverly and John Claud of EE's staff. Congratulations!

Share your Favorite Santa Story: To celebrate the holiday season, we're sharing our favorite Santa stories and we want to hear yours. Share your favorite gift-giving story on your blog; you could win a prize (hint: the headline to the blog post says "Amazon Kindle Fire") if your story is the best. Check out the complete rules and how to enter on our blog. Thanks to quizengine for submitting his story already; we look forward to reading more!

mlmccBe like Mike: mlmcc has been mopping up questions over at our sister site, Crystal Reports Experts; in fact, he's collected more than 100,000 points already to go along with the 14,000,000+ he has earned at Experts Exchange. You can get in on the fun, too: check out the list of RedSource Interactive microsites to see if there's a place you'd like to contribute. Experts can import their username and credentials to the microsites.

Customer Service contest: Some of us are lucky enough to talk to the great people in the Experts Exchange Customer Service department every day; they're friendly, helpful and a joy to work with. Now, 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.

buckleShowdown winner: We were right; slightwv, who won the Expert Showdown, sent us a note about our item here last issue: "You mean I haven't been insufferable yet? My game must be WAY off!!! I'll need to step it up from now on but just for you Eric! I'll give the rest the benefit of the doubt ... THIS TIME!" Now there's the Bud we all know.

Webinar: Experts Exchange Zone Advisor and Access Genius and MVP JDettman presented a webinar on Application and Database Design in Access. If you missed the live event, you can watch a recording of Jim's webinar on the EE Tech News blog.

Beta: There's still time to pick up a very cool EE V.10 t-shirt and maybe even a year of free Premium Services by signing up to participate in our beta program and helping spread the news about the new site by posting the beta badge on your website or Facebook page.

Certified, customized and cool: 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!


back to top

A good portion of the questions we see about systems turn out to be problems unrelated to what an Asker thinks; that's perfectly fine, if only because the experiences and skills of Experts usually transcends the specific topic area the Asker thinks he's having a problem with. Such was the case when skykuhl was having an issue with a Microsoft server shutting down. The problem turned out to be related to something else, and alanhardisty's comments helped find the solution: "Thank you very much for your help. You are a true expert. I believe you have helped me before and I have used many of your comments when doing my own research. I greatly appreciate your advice on this one. The Dell solution was to expedite the replacement server delivery and keep restarting every 90 minutes. That isn't a great solution. I am going on here but thank you very much!!"

Parsing fields in Access is a reasonably common request, but lanndo threw a little twist into the equation: non-alpha characters. matthewspatrick came to the rescue with a code module and a link to his article on regular expressions in VBA: "Absolutely amazing! That was exactly what I was looking for, and worked on the first try, too. Do they have a Jedi user status?!" Not yet, lanndo, but matthewspatrick would certainly qualify.

Finally, in our last issue we mentioned a suggestion by OmniUnlimited, who liked seeing his "name in the paper" and dropped us a note: "Wow, I made the sidebar? Thanks, you guys rock!" Thank you -- not just Jason, but the rest of you who look through this every couple of weeks; this issue marks our eighth anniversary, and it's still as much fun as it was back then.

Nata's Corner

back to top

Nata's PictureIt's not quite that time of year, but the holiday shopping season has been in full swing for over a month now (I guess retailers are roling the dice hoping to get us out of this pesky recession). With that in mind, I should point out that expensive short-term credit in the form of layaway is now available from the big box stores. But it's causing a bit of a problem for me, because I used to like looking around for early postings of the various Black Friday sales, if only because those big stores used to try so hard to keep them out of the public eye. Now, it's almost like they're making sure you know about them in advance. Who knows what kind of havoc it's all going play with Cyber Monday sales.

There are three sites that have been pretty consistently good for finding the ads: TheBlackFriday.com, 2011BlackFridayAds.com and BFAds.net. It looks like most major retail stores are sending them out in advance. I could have saved $5 by waiting for the last of the Harry Potter series. Darn. But here's a little list of some places you might not know much about that will help you find some interesting stuff:

  • Costco: I'll be honest: I love Costco. I was a Sam's Club (WalMart) member for a long time, but when I found their stores, I was in heaven. Even better is their online shopping, because there's a lot of stuff there that isn't in the stores, and a membership is a great gift.
  • Nordstrom's gets a nod here, in part because my other half's mom loves their online experience, but more because the company doesn't start the Christmas season until after Thanksgiving. Good for them!
  • Lot 18: This is a deal-of-the-day site that has some pretty amazing prices on some really nice wines, and also has a lot of other merchandise that works great for those people who already have lots of stuff. One of the days I was working on this, I saw two bottles of Pommery Champagne that normally sell for between $130 and $170 available for just under $100.
  • Woot: My other half sends me their newsletter once in a while. He says he usually gets a couple of them a day, actually, but they only have four or five items in them, the descriptions are kind of funny, and what they do have is usually great prices.
  • Snique Away has daily deals on some amazing hotels and resorts for prices that are usually abount 40 per cent below the normal rates, but you're only limited on when the prices are available -- not on when you stay.
  • The Experts Exchange Exchange (or at least, that's what my other half calls it): I've seen the long-sleeved shirts, polos and backpacks up close and they're really nice. I'm still waiting for my sample coffee mug though. (That's a hint, Mr Editor!)

And thanks to EE's Jenn Prentice for sending along the tip about Amazon's Universal Wish List Button. You pick up the button from Amazon by dragging it to the bookmarks toolbar of your browser; then, as you visit sites looking for stuff, you can add it to your Amazon wish list.

One trend that's even a little more disturbing than the sight of Christmas decorations showing up before Halloween is the number of stores that are starting their holiday sales on Thanksgiving night. I know it's a holiday unique to the US, but to me, it's the one time during the year when everything is only about being with family, and it seems almost too greedy to make employees show up to sell someone a Star Wars flying remote control Millennium Falcon.

Of course, whenever this time of year comes around, so do all the ___________s who want to steal whatever they can get from you. So far this season, besides a ton of spam from some outfit that supposedly has overstock auctions and a slight increase in offers for watches, the most sneaky email-related problems come from addresses that look like shipping companies, like DHL, UPS and FedEx. It's not just email either. Facebook got hit last week with spam that used a JavaScript exploit to flood pages with some pretty ugly ikmages (Anonymous was apparently responsible -- or not depending on who you believe), and EE member teksquisite, who writes a blog on security, posted to Twitter a comment everyone would like a response to: "It is too bad @twitter does not provide a comment section when reporting #spam to point out the #malware tweets #twitter". Sophos published a great checklist of things you should do to keep the bad guys at bay, and Microsoft takes attacks on Facebook seriously too.

The Long and Winding Road

back to top

The people we celebrate on this list of members who have been regular participants at Experts Exchange for ten years have something that, as we move forward, people who will be listed never had: beginning in November 2001, the site's current ownership has been guiding EE. For those of us who were around before that, we recall with mild amusement the days of a search that never worked right, servers that occasionally simply decided to shut down and a company that was more concerned with fancy offices than taking care of its systems. It is appropriate, then, that we give and say "Thanks" to those who stuck with EE, and to Randy Redberg and his staff.

August 2001
Expert Joined
cdb424ttmAugust 7
St_Aug_Beach_BumAugust 9
lbushbyAugust 13
tindavidAugust 15
wasserAugust 17
RCSTechnologyAugust 20
pfluggAugust 22
shogun5August 23
2wickedAugust 25
dashmanAugust 26
ajexpertAugust 28
kcm76August 29
mmingfeilamAugust 30
September 2001
Expert Joined
CGLuttrellSeptember 5
glennxSeptember 5
KOTiSSeptember 5
ZantisSeptember 6
sandramacSeptember 8
ScottPletcherSeptember 10
dutiSeptember 14
waynezhuSeptember 18
vishal17agarwalSeptember 19
newstarterSeptember 24
fredimacSeptember 25

October 2001
Expert Joined
EugeneZOctober 5
billfusionOctober 5
MolkoOctober 5
grantwatsonOctober 6
jhiebOctober 8
beach3961October 10
cymrichOctober 14

It is unfair to list people who have been at EE for a long time without taking note of Jan Louwerens, who has been fixing bugs, tolerating our requests for interesting groups of Members, and probably even sweeping the floors on occasion, since November 1999. For all you do, Jan, we are eternally grateful.

In Brief

back to top

Google finally figures out a way to one-up Apple: Steve Jobs vowed to spend his last breath fighting Google over Android. It has to gripe the Googleplex that Apple has more money and is worth more. But Google may have found a way to make its Google TV more successful than Apple TV has been: emulate the video cassette manufacturers.

How complicated can a database query really be? We're not sure, but we're betting that one of these guys can help.

Things they don't show on Pan Am: Lends a whole new meaning to getting the travel bug. Prisons, on the other hand, have a different kind of cockroach.

Wall St. Home For Unwashed Millionaires & Benevolent Association: Follow this closely. A couple of weeks ago, Groupon sold about five per cent of itself for $700 million, meaning that the owners of the other 95 per cent are worth about $13,000,000,000 -- and they lost over $200 million in the first nine months of the year, with no visible change on the horizon. Next up? Yelp, which got Panda'd by Google during the summer, is looking for a paltry $100 million. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

The enemy of my enemy: Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL have finally revealed the details of their agreement to sell each other's advertising inventory. Speaking of antitrust, the witness stand in a Utah courtroom could get interesting after we've gone to press.

Not a moment too soon: The World Wide Web Consortium is proposing Do Not Track standards for websites. This comes as the US Congress debates two bills, both ostensibly written (by the recording and movie industries, of course) to prevent privacy, but in reality written to turn over police, prosecution, jury and executioner functions to ... the recording and movie industries. The level of rhetoric is slightly less elevated in the Senate, but apparently, the EU reads the bills the same way opponents do.

Something to do while you're on hold: mmattsonee from EE's sales office sent along our new favorite time sink, so by way of thanks, you should take a look at her photography.

Turns out you ARE doing most of the work: Remember the Pareto Principle? The one you use when griping about co-workers because 20 per cent of the people are doing 80 per cent of the work and all that? Turns out that it may be universal.

Does Obama giggle? There have been lots of attempts to get an Internet sales tax enacted, and the current version is slowly working its way through the maze that is Capitol Hill, with eBay and Amazon disagreeing on it. But the biggest stumbling block will be Republican legislators who promised no new taxes when they forced a budget crisis last summer.

It's still pretty cool: A time-lapse video that purports to show someone creating a "photograph" using Photoshop has people in a tizzy. Seems to us there has to be some enterprising young under-employed Photoshopper out there who could duplicate it easily enough.

Gee, thanks, Gizmodo: Best argument ever for an unlimited text plan.

They're glyphs for "rip them off": Cybersitter, a company that makes web filtering software, has filed a $2.2 billion lawsuit alleging that the Chinese government hacked their servers and stole their software.

The What Were They Thinking Dept: Figure that every one of these and these had a creative director (Jason, I know what you're thinking and don't say it) who came up with the idea. "How about this? We put a woman at a table, peeling potatoes, but we'll photoshop Hitler's face on her!"

Lost in the shuffle: There was a lot of hubbub a couple of weeks ago about Adobe dropping Flash for mobile browsers (and somewhere, Steve Jobs is smiling). What didn't get as much play -- maybe because a lot fewer people were actually using it -- was that Microsoft is cutting its losses on Silverlight as well.

From Grantland last week: "Q: Have an athlete and stock ever been more closely aligned than Chris Johnson and Netflix? Both rose to the top in 2009, were significantly overvalued this summer, they both crashed down to earth due to a series of public relations blunders and general unpreparedness to deal with the reality of their competitive environments. And if you're still holding onto both, you're royally screwed.
-- Matt, Santa Monica
SG: So you're saying we should start calling Chris Johnson "Qwikster"?

In requiem: Diaspora co-founder Ilya Zhitomirskiy, and Walt Hazzard, the first in a line of ankle-breaking guards for the UCLA Bruins.

If you can't beat 'em: Floyd Landis, who made a career in cycling by finishing behind seven-time winner Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France and then, after winning when Armstrong retired, had his title taken away when he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, was given twelve months suspended sentence for using a trojan to steal documents from the anti-doping lab.

Signs of the Apocalypse: Guess who is Number Two on Google's list of Countries That Get Pissy Over Stuff Found On Google. After the commander of the US Strategic Air Command said that the US military can legally launch offenses in cyberspace, the SAC's website went down. The Associated Press reprimanded staffers who tweeted that AP reporters had been arrested -- before AP could get the story out.


back to top

New Geniuses: nobus continued a remarkable November by earning his third Genius certificate this month and eighth overall, in Personal Computers. Only three other members -- angelIII, war1 and matthewspatrick -- have as many. acperkins has earned his third 1,000,000 point t-shirt in SQL Server 2008. billprew pulled off a feat we would have thought to be nearly impossible: he earned the second Genius certificate ever awarded in MS DOS. Two first-time Geniuses also grace our list this issue. StephenJR is the 25th member of Experts Exchange to earn 1,000,000 points in Microsoft Excel. fyed has become the 34th Genius in Microsoft Access. Outstanding work!


  • GrahamSkan has earned 9,000,000 points since joining Experts Exchange.
  • woolmilkporc brings to 78 the number of members who have earned 5,000,000 points at Experts Exchange.
Expert In Topic Area Certificate
kevinhsiehActive DirectoryGuru
aoakeleyActive DirectoryMaster
puppydogbuddyAdobe AcrobatGuru
rbarnhardtBackup / RestoreWizard
hanccockaDisaster RecoveryGuru
PapertripEmail ServersMaster
Infinity08Game ProgrammingMaster
RobMobilityHandhelds / PDAsGuru
CRAKLotus NotesWizard
kevinhsiehMicrosoft OSMaster
Run5kMicrosoft OSMaster
mankowitzMisc DatabasesMaster
ralmadaMisc DatabasesWizard
DaveBaldwinMisc SecurityMaster
nociMisc SecurityMaster
julianmatzMisc Web DevWizard
fyedMS AccessGenius
danishaniMS AccessGuru
mvasilevskyMS AccessGuru
slightwvMS AccessMaster
rindiMS ApplicationsMaster
mbizupMS DevelopmentMaster
billprewMS DOSGenius
StephenJRMS ExcelGenius
Expert In Topic Area Certificate
regmigrantMS ExcelMaster
sentnerMS ExcelMaster
robhensonMS ExcelSage
rindiMS HardwareMaster
imnorieMS OfficeMaster
mbizupMS OfficeMaster
merowingerMS Server AppsGuru
xxdcmastMS Server OSMaster
ivan_vaguninMS SharePointGuru
Chris-VielifeMS SharePointMaster
RobWillMS SharePointMaster
abhitrigMS SharePointWizard
jessc7MS SharePointWizard
PatelAlpeshMS SQL ServerGuru
sachitjainMS SQL ServerMaster
cmangusMS SQL ServerWizard
ScottPletcherMS SQL Server 2005Sage
acperkinsMS SQL Server 2008Genius
ScottPletcherMS SQL Server 2008Guru
anujnbMS SQL Server 2008Master
BrandonGalderisiMS SQL Server 2008Wizard
Michael-BestMultiMedia ApplicationsMaster
SouljaNetwork ManagementMaster
ashiloOracle DatabaseMaster
vdr1620Query SyntaxMaster
ChiefITSBS Small Business ServerGuru
HainKurtSSRS SQL Reporting SvcMaster
prashanthdVB ScriptGuru
iSiekVB ScriptMaster
jawa29VB ScriptMaster
ddayx10Visual Basic.NETMaster
peter57rVisual Basic.NETMaster
JamesBurgerVisual Basic.NETWizard
AndyAinscowVisual C#Guru
TheLearnedOneWeb Languages/StandardsMaster
uescompWindows 2003 ServerMaster
x3manWindows 2003 ServerMaster
aleghartWindows 7Master
nobusWindows 7Sage
ivanoviolaWindows 7Wizard
jcimarronWindows OSGuru
AcklesWindows Server 2008Master
GovvyWindows Server 2008Master
TheCleanerWindows Server 2008Master
craigbeckWireless NetworkingGuru
profgeekWireless NetworkingMaster