Experts Exchange EE News Dec 2008

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December 10, 2008 >>

What's New at Experts Exchange
Geniuses and Kudos

3 Reasons Your Organization Needs a Corporate Account
What you need to know, bite sized

The Road Less Traveled
Notes from a journey through the heartland

Holiday Shopping Guide
Our whimsical choices are here, here, here, here, and here.

More News and Notes
Gray days at retailers and Yahoo

Nata's Corner
Some holiday gift-lists, and a warning

New Certificates
New certificate holders, through December 7

Tips From The Moderators
modus_operandi on "Request Attention"

What's New at Experts Exchange

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New Geniuses: hielo has earned the fourth Genius certificate of his career, in Active Server Pages, and has also gone over the 8,000,000 point level overall. Robbie_Leggett is the second Experts Exchange member to earn a Genius certificate in MOSS-Sharepoint. Congratulations!


Kudos: peterdarazs had an issue with a SQL "not" query not working, and aflockhart came up with a solution, but the question also drew the attention of angelIII, who was familiar with the problems peterdarazs was having. peterdarazs awarded points to both:

Thanks aflockhart -- that works 100% and I'm grateful for your involvement. I hope you don't mind me splitting the points, because angelIII has carried me this far on three questions building up to this one, and suggested making the test database. I do however value all the input and wish there was a facility for donations on Expert Exchange as the level of commitment provided by you Experts far exceeds the monthly subscription. Many thanks for your persistence with what are often poorly worded and complex problems.

1FynRytr ran into a problem installing fonts for an Adobe program, and lherrou not only helped get the fonts installed, but made Vista a bit easier for 1FynRytr to use as well. 1FynRytr posted twice:

Hurray! It's done! I now have two new font families installed, and they are showing up everywhere they should. Like magic! Thanks for all your help. I'm so glad I found Experts Exchange. Have a wonderful weekend.

I will reiterate what I wrote publicly. I appreciate your help and the fact that your explanation was clear, concise and very complete. I'm impressed with this site largely because of you assistance was everything the site claimed -- quite, willing and accurate. Cheers!

Cleanup Volunteers: Below is a table of the CVs who have helped us close questions recently, with their cumulative total of questions closed along with their production through December 6.

Expert Last 2 Weeks Cumulative
Expert Last 2 Weeks Cumulative

MS Mouse
Microsoft Mouse
... or anything else that comes from Amazon that isn't in those annoyingly dangerous plastic clam-shell packages. Is there a Nobel Prize for being customer-friendly?

The Xbox_360 Elite: $400
Two guitars, a bass and a drum set, with accessories from Rockband: $800
Three friends, beer that's good for you, and A Hard Day's Night: priceless. If it doesn't happen, blame the record company, not the Beatles or Rockband.

3 Reasons Your Organization Needs a Corporate Account

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There are a lot of great reasons why a Corporate Account is a sound investment for your organization. We know you're busy, so we've narrowed the list down to 3 reasons why your organization needs a Corporate Account:

1. Access the only resource you need
With over 2.4 million technology solutions and 92,569 of the world's best Experts collaborating to solve your problems, your organization's Corporate Account provides your team to the only technology resource it needs.

2. Work smarter
According to King Research, 93% of IT professionals do their jobs more efficiently and save time with the help of an online IT community. 43% save 3 or more hours every week!

3. Save money
If time is money, then every hour of time saved is money saved. Not only will more efficient work save your organization money, but Corporate Accounts are also discounted more than 42% off our monthly rate. It's actually costing you money to not have a Corporate Account!

arrow Create Your Corporate Account
arrowLearn More

Capitalize on the same technology support our new corporate clients use:

Empire Today
NFL Films
Smiths Detection
Credit Union 1
Simplot Australia
Australian Federal Police
Stiching ZorgSaam
City of Kuopio

Two River Technology Group, LLC
LA Fitness
Consumer and Business Services-State of Oregon
NEM It-solutions
BC Investment Management Corporation
NGM Insurance Company
Consumers' Co-operative Refineries Ltd.

Corporate accounts

arrow Create Your Corporate Account
arrowLearn More

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3 Reasons Your Organization Needs a Corporate Account

There are a lot of great reasons why a Corporate Account is a sound investment for your organization. We know you're busy, so we've narrowed the list down to 3 reasons why your organization needs a Corporate Account:

1. Access the only resource you need
With over 2.4 million technology solutions and 92,569 of the world's best Experts collaborating to solve your problems, your organization's Corporate Account provides your team to the only technology resource it needs.

2. Work smarter
According to King Research, 93% of IT professionals do their jobs more efficiently and save time with the help of an online IT community. 43% save 3 or more hours every week!

3. Save money
If time is money, then every hour of time saved is money saved. Not only will more efficient work save your organization money, but Corporate Accounts are also discounted more than 42% off our monthly rate. It's actually costing you money to not have a Corporate Account!

>> Create Your Corporate Account
>> Learn More

Tips From the Moderators

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modus_operandi has been contemplating the use of the Request Attention button for some time

Since Experts Exchange rolled out the new "Request Attention" link, it has made it much easier for Members to ask for and receive help from the Moderators. In order to ensure that you get the best experience possible from such requests, however, please make sure you do all of the following:

  • When you make your request, please be sure to provide a reason. Very, very often, the Moderators see requests for attention for which the reason was left blank. This forces us to guess why the Member needs help, and we are not always going to guess correctly.
  • If you have a large backlog of questions, and especially any abandoned questions, please try to take steps to resolve your older questions before you "request attention" for your newer questions. ("Abandoned" questions are any questions for which you have not commented within the last 21 days.) EE works best for everyone when Members stay active in their questions.
  • If you already have an open request for attention on your question, please do not start another one. Opening several requests for a given question will not result in getting a quicker resolution.
  • If you are asking for help in bringing more Experts to your question, please be sure to fully address all of the Expert comments made to date in your question, if applicable. It's just common courtesy to provide feedback to the people who have already tried to help you before you ask more people for help. The Moderators will be pleased to help you once you have addressed the Experts already participating in your question.
  • Before requesting attention, please allow all participants a decent interval to reply to your last comment. The Moderators see numerous instances where an Asker will post a reply to one of the Experts, and then almost immediately "request attention" to try and get a quick response to his/her last comment. We recommend that you allow the Experts 24 hours to reply to your last comment before asking the Moderators to step in, and further that if the end of that 24 hour grace period comes during a weekend or a major US holiday, that you wait until Monday or the next non-holiday business day to use the "Request Attention" link.
  • If you are asking for a Moderator's help in editing or deleting any content from one of your questions or comments, please be sure to include:
    • a thorough description of what needs to be edited/deleted
    • the reason why you want the edit/deletion
    • suitable replacement text, if applicable
    • if the content comes from one or more comments instead of or in addition to the original question's body, then we need you to tell us the applicable comment numbers too
  • If you are "requesting attention" to protest a grade you received, or because you think your answer should have been accepted but was not, please (politely) post a comment in the original question requesting that the Asker explain his/her disposition of the question, and then give him/her 48 hours to respond. If you still have a dispute at that point, by all means go ahead and use the "request attention" link.

Following the above guidelines will make it much easier for the Moderators to help you, and thus result in a better experience for all involved.

Socket set
Finger Socket Set
We'll be the first to admit that our fingers are thicker than most open-end wrenches, but we have a brother who is into tools, and this will be perfect for him.

Ever have the urge to get out of a conversation by wishing your cell phone would ring? You can now download, for less than a buck, a handy little app that simulates a call to your iPhone.

Tesla Electric Car
Okay, so there's no price on the website, and you have to apply (with a "deposit" -- not a down payment) to buy one, and you're going to wait for it -- if it makes it that far. It gets great gas mileage. If you have to ask, it's more than you can afford.

The Road Less Traveled

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

We were among the 37 million or so folks who took to the highways during the Thanksgiving holiday; our anniversary is somewhere in there, and this year it happened to fall on T-Day, so we made the trek by motor vehicle to the Midwest -- about 2,000 miles -- to see the grandkids. The journey afforded us the opportunity to a) get away from computers for the most part, and b) take a route we had never taken: across Colorado's Rockie Mountains.

One would expect that to be the epitome of foolishness in late November, given that Interstate 70 goes up to about 11,500 feet, but virtually the only snow we saw on our way there was of the man-made variety. Otherwise, NOAA and The Weather channel told us that we would have a pretty clear trip.

Good thing, too. We were driving through Kansas when a meteor, reportedly over Alberta, Canada but visible as far south as Phoenix lit up the sky right in front of us. pretty spectacular.

We also managed to find ourselves at a Walmart at 5 a.m. on the day after Thanksgiving, and have come to the conclusion that our long-established practice of waiting until the last minute and taking what we can get makes about as much sense. Nobody was hurt, but the police did show up to keep people from coming to blows over Microsoft Xboxes. (Parenthetical note: my college roommate, who used to work for Silicon Graphics and never sent me one to play with, now works for Microsoft as an architect on the Xbox, and I'm betting I won't get one of those, either.) We were still in the checkout line at 7:30 a.m., and in the course of putting a few things we deemed unnecessary back, we saw clerks restocking at least two pallets of the darn things, meaning there were a couple of people who enjoyed coffee and donuts at the local jail, when a bit of patience and politeness, not to mention a couple of extra hours of sleep, would have ensured their acquisition of the 2008 equivalent of an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle.

The drive back wasn't so placatory as the drive out, which brings up a question. How is it that with all the weather data available, and all the road information, that no one has thought to put the two together in one place? We could map out -- and even modify on the fly -- our route from one tiny town in the Midwest to our home in another tiny town in California, up to and including the shortcuts that cut about 45 minutes off the last part of the drive; and we were able to look at spots along major highways (though not Vail, Colorado) to see what the weather forecast was.

That's all well and good, except that it takes longer -- especially at our age -- to drive 2,000 miles than the 30 hours Google's maps say it does, or rather, we're not inclined to drive 30 hours straight through. So it's going to take a few days to get there, and it would be nice if the maps -- especially in winter -- also came with the forecast and the road construction one is likely to encounter. Having a link to motels with wireless Internet access wouldn't be too bad, either.

In any event, we didn't much mind the snow that finally arrived at Vail while we were going through; there was less there than at Laramie, Wyoming or Flagstaff, Arizona (according to the weather maps). Unfortunately, there was also one truck driver who didn't heed his colleagues' driving tips and managed to cause an accident that left us sitting on a side road for about six hours, followed by another two hours at around 4 mph after the highway reopened.

Of course, the downside to long, leisurely drives two-thirds of the way across the country, especially if one has as a bit of a priority spending significant quality time with one's spouse before, during and after one's anniversary, is the accumulation of email and its attendant issues over a period of seven or eight days. We came to appreciate the closest McDonald's, which has wireless access and has upgraded their coffee. It isn't so good that it should cost as much as Starbuck's, but there are a lot more McDonalds. (Somehow, they can put a travel planner and show all their restaurants; maybe I should ask them to include weather forecasts on their maps.)

During our trip, we did manage to accomplish one thing: we put out a newsletter. For us, that requires a lot of reading and occasionally a lot of searching, which means looking at any number of websites for information and the kinds of curious tidbits we think (hope) will amuse or entertain you. In the process of assembling the newsletter, we have noticed that the [expletive deleted] people who have come up with the Antivirus 2009 scam have "improved" it a little. Now, they run a couple of javascripted boxes at you, and trying to close them without installing the program just opens the other box, so you're caught in a loop.

Google's system for warning you about infected websites doesn't seem to pick up on these badboys. So, if you happen to be visiting your Aunt Martha this season, you might want to bookmark a site or two, just in case you get asked to look at her computer.

Escape Key Alarm Clock
This one is still actually only a concept -- where are all the venture capitalists when you need them? -- but there's no question that this is destined to become the next DVD Rewinder.

Off-shore data center
Just think about it. No power outages, and if you planned it right you'd be located near your nearest Margaritaville; Montego Bay looks nice. Only Google knows what it costs....

More News and Notes

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Yahoo Watch: A month ago, Microsoft had decided it was done, but like a junior high school dweeb who gets dumped by his girlfriend, Redmond can't take its eyes off Yahoo's best-looking asset. Yahoo is continuing to try to stop the bleeding, but one has to think that Carl Icahn has to be pulling his hair out trying to salvage his investment. And nobody knows who will be running the company come January 1.

Gray Friday: It wasn't quite the boost retailers were hoping for, but it was better than a lot of them probably expected, given the state of the economy. There were a few glitches, though:

Happy Birthday, Mouse.

Must have hit a nerve somewhere: In our last issue, Nata mentioned, a site is still (as of Dec. 6) defending itself against a denial of service attack from the operators of a bot-net named on the site. A day or two after the newsletter went out, we received two emails, purportedly from the site's operator, that were of the variety he mentions on his site -- and both came from sites apparently on the servers of one particular hosting company that for some curious reason does not have its terms of service on its site. And if you're, like we are, not in possession of the most in-depth knowledge of how bot-nets work, bobbear has one.

Speaking of crooks: Bernie Ebbers, whose accounting irregularities at WorldCom paled when the Enron scandal came along, wants clemency. Curiously, one of Ebbers' co-prisoners at Oakdale: Andrew Fastow of Enron.

The problem with a glass ceiling is what happens when you're working on the roof and it crashes: For ... well, ever... women have had a hard time getting ahead in male-dominated industries, but as the economy has tanked, it turns out that over a million men who were working a year ago have become unemployed, while 12,000 more women are working.

It IS a web, after all: Despite the concerns of IT staffs -- which might even be justifiable -- the heavy hitters in the social networking world are vying for your clicks -- and the ability to send you advertising based on those clicks (aren't you lucky). Last week, Google pushed its Google Friend system, which was followed less than an hour later by Facebook Connect, which was easy for a company spending other people's money. Both were beaten to the punch by MySpace over five months ago.

How to test the faith of true believers, Apple style: Last week, Apple updated one of its support pages to recommend installing anti-virus software, then almost as quickly took the page down. Maybe the virus only works on Apple clones. What's next? A cheap phone?

Sign of the Apocalypse: Microsoft says that Windows 7 "isn't a service pack" for Vista. Okay... but if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck... and IBM now has Microsoft-free desktops. Next up: the 64-bit version of CP/M.

Personal charger
Potenco PCG1 Personal Device Charger
Pull the string and you get about 20 minutes power for your iPod. Or laptop. The site says they're not yet for sale, but Popular Mechanics says they cost about $100.

Microsoft Surface
No, you can't play Dejarik on it (you'll have to wait for Surface 2017 for that), but there's something truly magical about a computer you don't have to worry about spilling your coffee on. There is no added surcharge to help pay off the fines.

Honda Walking Assist Device
Helps you walk up stairs, carry heavy loads, and might even be able to help you leap tall buildings at a single bound. Still in development, but if it works, it will add five years to Shaq's career, even if it won't help him hit his free throws.

Nata's Corner

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Nata's PictureIt should come as no surprise that I really like this time of year. I like it better in California than I did in the Midwest, because we don't really get that much snow where we live, but that's another story. What I like most about it is that I get to go find things people need and give them to them. My other half calls it "shopping", but what does he know.

For the first time, though, I actually got up early and went to see what all the Black Friday hoopla at WalMart was all about. Never again. It wasn't quite as bad as it could have been, but it was bad enough (in case you're interested, I only heard about fights over games and such). For years, WalMart fought tooth and nail to keep sites like from spilling the beans on sales, lest shoppers stay away from the store until prices dropped the day after Thanksgiving. Now, not only can you find the information on line ahead of time, but stores started posting the ads on their own. WalMart even made sure we were able to get their flyer two days before Thanksgiving.

In keeping with tradition, I do have lists of gift guides and such below, but I want to pass along a couple of items. First, it's the time of year when spam filters start going nuts, and with that will come more trojans and viruses, including a few old ones. The best suggestion: Update your AV program every day. Second, we got an email telling us to look at (thanks, Susan!) before you shop on line. And now, the lists:

  • TigerDirect seems to consistently have good pricing on anything electronic. Yes, you can find better deals on individual items elsewhere, but top to bottom, not many people beat them.
  • The Washington Post's Dave Barry came up with a list -- safe for work, even -- of gift items for the naughty. My favorite: The wearable sleeping-bag.
  • You'll notice that the editor didn't include anything from in his guide above. That's because he's saving a couple of things for our next issue, but it's also because pretty much everything there is perfect for the techie in your life. Including you.
  • Forbes magazine ("Home page for the world's business leaders") has its list of 10 Get 'Em Before They're Gone Gadgets. One curious omission: Yahoo stock.
  • c|net has its list of five gadgets for geeks in video form. And has a guide that has all the usual suspects.
  • Nata's SignatureFor those people who still like to read (gasp!) a book (double gasp!), the Christian Science Monitor has a list of best non-fiction books, along with a regular gift guide.
  • has a gazillion gift ideas, including who knows how many coffee makers, espresso machines and such, and even Running A Bar For Dummies.

Your ticket to a better trip through the airport
... assuming, of course, that your favorite airport is on the list (ours isn't). Of course, you could also just get rid of the lines altogether...

Amazon Kindle
The reviews say that Oprah's new favorite toy will be much improved with the next release, so you might want to do a gift certificate since Amazon is out of stock anyway.

New Certificates

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Expert Certified in Topic Area
ridMasterEmail Software
scrathcyboyMasterOperating Systems
SheharyaarSaahilWizardOperating Systems
r-kMasterWindows 2000
R_RajeshMasterMs Office Suite
chris_bottomleyMasterMs Office Suite
TimCotteeMasterMS Access
aikimarkMasterMS Access
fanopoeMasterMS Access
koutnyMasterMS Access
tonydemarcoMasterMS Access
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aesmikeMasterMS Access
ee_rleeMasterMS Access
crgary_txGuruCrystal Reports Software
knightEknightMasterMS SQL Server
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leewMasterMS SQL Server
asvforceMasterMS SQL Server
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paeloMasterMS SQL Server
dbaSQLMasterMS SQL Server
ThomasianMasterMS SQL Server
mherchlGuruMS SQL Server
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momi_sabagWizardMS SQL Server
coral47MasterGeneral Systems
burrcmMasterGeneral Systems
MASQUERAIDGuruWindows Games
lherrouMasterFont Software
aikimarkMasterDelphi Programming
atul_parmarMasterDelphi Programming
SteveBayMasterDelphi Programming
TheRealLokiWizardDelphi Programming
PriyeshMasterWindows MFC
jaime_olivaresWizardWindows MFC
TheLearnedOneMasterVisual Basic
hongjunMasterVisual Basic
ClifMasterVisual Basic
grayeMasterVisual Basic
CSecurityMasterVisual Basic
jimhornGuruVisual Basic
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angelIIIMasterVB Controls
TimCotteeMasterVB DB
Arthur_WoodMasterVB DB
emoreauGuruVB DB
ingwaMasterWeb Development
ZylochMasterWeb Development
SheharyaarSaahilGuruWeb Browsers
samriGuruApache Web Server
ryancysMasterMacromedia Dreamweaver
najhMasterMacromedia Flash
ddlamMasterMacromedia Flash
trigger-happyGuruMacromedia Flash
rindiMasterLinux Net
leewMasterWindows NT Network
ridMasterEmail Clients
rakeshmiglaniMasterOutlook Groupware
Rob132332MasterOutlook Groupware
Expert Certified in Topic Area
chris_bottomleyWizardOutlook Groupware
war1MasterAnti-Virus Apps
r-kMasterAnti-Virus Apps
harperseMasterMicrosoft IIS Web Server
ThGMasterPHP and Databases
TomeeboyMasterPHP and Databases
ZylochMasterPHP and Databases
wasifgWizardPHP and Databases
Ray_PaseurWizardPHP and Databases
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SysExpertMasterMicrosoft Network
Bartender_1MasterWindows XP
DanCh99MasterWindows XP
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Expert4XPMasterWindows XP
jcimarronWizardWindows XP
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AdrianSRUGuruMySQL Server
mankowitzWizardMySQL Server
ozoGuruPuzzles / Riddles
gwkgGuruInternet Marketing
humeniukMasterWeb Servers
PeteLongMasterWindows Network Security
oBdAWizardWindows Network Security
pgm554MasterDrives / Storage
kode99MasterDrives / Storage
dovidmichelWizardDrives / Storage
jellMasterMS Excel
capricorn1MasterMS Excel
kacorMasterMS Excel
xaniusMasterMS Excel
weellioMasterMS Excel
nike_golfMasterMS Excel
StellanRosengrenMasterMS Excel
epaclmGuruMS Excel
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SheharyaarSaahilMasterMS Word
jss1199MasterWindows 2003 Server
tedbillyMasterWindows 2003 Server
theruckMasterWindows 2003 Server
CoccoBillMasterWindows 2003 Server
keith_alabasterMasterWindows 2003 Server
McKnifeGuruWindows 2003 Server
SysExpertWizardWindows 2003 Server
mpfisterWizardWindows 2003 Server
dariusgWizardWindows 2003 Server
TeRReFMasterFree BSD
sjm_eeGuruAIX Unix
gtokasGuruC++ Builder
sjef_bosmanMasterLotus Domino
Bill-HansonMasterLotus Domino
amxMasterASP.Net Programming
DropZoneMasterASP.Net Programming
asvforceMasterASP.Net Programming
bele04MasterASP.Net Programming
needo_jeeMasterASP.Net Programming
jensfiedererMasterASP.Net Programming
GreymanMSCMasterASP.Net Programming
SystemExpertMasterASP.Net Programming
jinn_hnnlMasterASP.Net Programming
srivatsavayeMasterASP.Net Programming
cpkilekofpMasterASP.Net Programming
Chirag1211MasterASP.Net Programming
G0ggyMasterASP.Net Programming
chinu1310MasterASP.Net Programming
davrob60MasterASP.Net Programming
NazoUKMasterASP.Net Programming
HeoQueMasterASP.Net Programming
AmarIs26MasterASP.Net Programming
dbaduckGuruASP.Net Programming
AutoeformsMasterMS Visual Basic
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jkrMasterMS Visual C++
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MPECSIncWizardSBS Small Business Server
harbor235MasterHardware Firewalls
RobWillMasterNetworking Hardware
pseudocyberMasterNetworking Hardware
zorvekMasterSpreadsheet Software
matthewspatrickMasterSpreadsheet Software
pinaldaveMasterColdFusion Studio
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MrHusyMasterWindows OS
lherrouMasterFont Creator
Mikal613GuruCell Phones
knightEknightMasterWindows Batch
DhaestMaster.Net Editors & IDEs
LSMConsultingMasterSQL Syntax
NightmanMasterSQL Server 2005
jgvGuruSQL Server 2005
sirbountyMasterMicrosoft OS
rindiMasterWindows Vista
war1WizardWindows Vista
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sirbountyMasterMS Server
mboppeMasterMS Server
matrixnzMasterMicrosoft SMS
LSMConsultingWizardAccess Architecture/Design
rockiroadsMasterAccess Coding/Macros
emoreauMaster.NET Framework 2.x
sungenwangMasterVB Script
saurabh726MasterVB Script
Shift-3WizardVB Script
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