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Welcome to the February 2013 DaniWeb Digest

Little improvements

Behind the scenes, Dani and James are always working hard to make improvements to the DaniWeb user interface and experience. Some of these are big things, such as the creation of a completely new and proprietary forum delivery platform last year, and some are small. One of the small improvements that we have made came in response to user requests for some way to quickly see if a member posting a question, or providing help, is online at the time of reading. If a member is online then a little purple dot (yes, we do have a thing about purple here at DaniWeb) appears in the post header next to posting time indicator. Hover over the purple dot and you will see a pop-up declares that the member is currently online. So now you know that there is a good chance of being able to get help in real-time, or participate in a real-time conversation through that thread. Of course, here at DaniWeb we also appreciate that some members don't want others to know if they are online or not for reasons of privacy. If you go to your profile page you can tick the 'Be Invisible' checkbox and that prevents the little purple dot from appearing.

Big improvements

Not all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes here at DaniWeb is immediately noticeable to the general membership population, but is vital to the continuing success of DaniWeb as the leading one-stop online solution for developers, tech enthusiasts, corporate professionals and novices on virtually every IT topic imaginable. A good example of this is the re-formatting work that has been underway for a month now by our team of incredibly dedicated admins and moderators. Once again DaniWeb suffered at the hands of a recent Google ranking algorithm update, and this time we have to admit that it was pretty much all our own fault. As a consequence of that 'big improvement' involving the transfer of DaniWeb forums onto a completely new, in-house developed from the ground up, hosting and delivery platform, part of which involved a move from the BBCode syntax for styling posts and formatting code snippets to an entirely Markdown markup language based system. Markdown is a very lightweight syntax, meaning that it appears meaningful in plaintext and doesn't look like it's been marked up. Many other sites use the Markdown language, and there are a plethora of tutorials around the web. Additionally, downloadable standalone WYSIWYG Markdown editors are available. For the most part, DaniWeb keeps in line with standard Markdown syntax but there are a some changes which are unique to us. You can read all about them in detail, and we suggest you do so as to be able to format your posts properly in future, here. Unfortunately, during the switch over process when we migrated from the old vBulletin system to the new proprietary one, not all the old BBCode tagged postings were correctly translated to Markdown. The consequence being that when Google tried to index these all it saw was gobbledeegook and DaniWeb search rankings suffered as an understandable result.

Unfortunately, it is simply not possible to automate the process of this syntax migration along with the re-formatting of other posts which were incorrectly formatted at the time of posting. So please spare a moment for the largely voluntary team of moderators and admins which has been working hard behind the scenes to manually correct the formatting and tagging of thousands of posts stretching right back to when DaniWeb first started many years ago. As a result of this hard work, much of our traffic has returned and we are confident that by the time of the next Google site refresh we will be in a position to regain the remainder. Next time you wonder what it is that a moderator or admin does, aside from complain that you've broken a rule or tell you that you cannot do something the way you want to, remember that without all their hard work that you never see, DaniWeb would not be here at all...

Huge thanks

Most people are quick to complain when something goes wrong, but a lot slower to say thanks when things are going right. So we were really touched to read an article with the title of DaniWeb is the Best and newbies friendly that recently appeared in the Community Feedback forum. Oteng Kwaku Amaing (otengkwaku) has been a member of DaniWeb for less than a year, but obviously we have left a good impression upon him. Here's what he had to say:

I have been around not very long. I learn pretty much every thing I know about programing from the web and sites like daniweb helped a lot. Comparing a site like DaniWeb and an other popular site Stack Overflow, I will pick DaniWeb any day for two main reasons:

Daniweb is newbies friendly. That is to say, you can ask all the stupid question and get someone help you arrive at the right question and the right answer.

The people at Daniweb are welcoming and ready to help at any time. Although it takes some time
to get your answers compared to Stack Overflow. The help you get form DaniWeb is more simple and explains more so as to help you learn.

Member of the Month

A member for a year now, BitBlt has stamped his authority on the DaniWeb forums with a 95% post quality rating and has helped to solve fast approaching 150 different threads so far. With nearly 3,500 postings to date, and a place within the top 100 DaniWeb members (out of a total membership of more than a million) in terms of reputation, BitBlt divides much of his time between the MS SQL, Virtual Basic and Databases forums. Let's find out what this helpful member of the community is all about...

Where are you from originally, and where do you live now?

I'm originally from Los Angeles (yes, the city and not the gigantic metropolitan area). Right now I live in Orange County just down the road from LA.

How old are you?

I'm 51. Thanks a bunch for reminding me.

What is your current occupation, ever done anything unusual in the past?

At present I manage a group of Database Administrators for a large property management company. The most unusual profession I ever had was as a freelance Math Logic tutor. You'd be amazed at the number of people out there who just THINK they don't understand logic!

What is your favorite OS and why?

My favorite OS was VM/XA on the IBM mainframe. It basically has everything the current "virtualization" wave did, but 20+ years ago. "There is no new thing under the sun..."

What first brought you to DaniWeb?

I was trying to figure out how to make a particular graphics routine work faster (hobby stuff) so I was trying to learn NASM. There was a particular thing I was having trouble with (I don't even remember what it was) but I found my answer after a Google search pointed me to DaniWeb. I was so happy I found this esoteric piece of technologica that I decided to poke around. I saw a particular question that had no responses, and I thought I would register and answer the question. I've been here pretty much ever since.

What makes you stay here?

I just like helping out, sort of "paying it forward" to the next generation of IT professionals. I've also posted on several occasions giving pep talks to people who get frustrated or feel unacknowledged for their contributions here. And, it keeps me technically sharp trying to solve problems that I might not run across in my everyday work. Last, I've just started teaching myself to program for the Android platform, and some of the posts in the Mobile forum have been very helpful.

What is your favorite forum and why?

My favorite forum has to be the MS SQL forum. VB 4/5/6 is a close second. That's where I'm able to contribute the most. I have posted on many other forums when I could contribute, but there are so many other smart, experienced people in those forums already that I get a little humbled.

What are your interests outside of IT and outside of DaniWeb?

Many and varied. I have two kids (grown but not quite launched), a horse (actually my daughters, but it's sort of like the stray kitten thing...Dad gets to "help out" when daughter dear is "busy") and a rotating bevy of neighborhood cats who hang about. I program for fun, play guitar, read A LOT and exercise some.

Name the best thing about DaniWeb overall, and one thing you would change if it were in your power?

I would say emphatically that the best thing about DaniWeb is the people. There is never the feeling in the posts of "see how much smarter I am than you!" It seems like there is a genuine spirit of helping that makes this community unique and special. The one thing I would change would be to move the Databases forum out from under Web Development. It makes no sense there!

What do you like best about the 'new' DaniWeb, and what do you hate?

I actually like the new code editor (I know, I know...lots of people can't stand it). One thing I hate is we lost the ability to jump directly to the first unread post in a long-running thread (used to be able to click on the "bulls-eye" to jump). I think I've posted about it before but was pretty much told, "Keep wishing!".

Any fascinating facts about yourself that you would like to share with the DaniWeb community?

Back in the '80s I used to be a U.S.-class decathlete. I don't do that anymore...

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