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Welcome to the November 2014 DaniWeb Digest

It is with great sadness that we have to report that Ancient Dragon has passed away. Melvin Stober was one of the stalwarts of DaniWeb, and our sister site ProgrammingForums, and his position at the top of the DaniWeb rankings for most postings made, most solved Q&As, second by reputation and fifth by endorsements is just part of his legacy. Mel, known affectionately as AD to most of us on DaniWeb, was a leading member of our community for the past nine years. During that time he probably helped more people than anyone else in the Software Development forums when totalled up, yet always remained passionate and keen to share his knowledge. AD was a modest man, despite his huge knowledge when it came to coding. What you may not have known was that Melvin Richard Stober was a retired Senior Master Sergeant for the United States Air Force, a father and a grandfather. What we all knew was just what a remarkable man he was, and we all know now how much he will be missed.

I somehow think that Mel would approve of my posting these words from J.R.R. Tolkien who said in The Hobbit that: "So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their endings."

Homework helpers

DaniWeb rules clearly state that you should "provide evidence of having done some work yourself if posting questions from school or work assignments" yet this doesn't seem to stop a number of members from simply posting their assignments verbatim and expecting the community to provide the answers for them. There are a couple of things which should immediately jump out at anyone as to why this is wrong. Firstly, by posting that question verbatim there is every chance that the poster is in breach of copyright. Secondly, the poster simply isn't going to actually learn anything if DaniWeb does their homework for them.

None of which means that DaniWeb isn't prepared to help you with your homework, quite the opposite in fact. All we ask is that you show us that you are trying to solve the task, and provide evidence to that regard. Most commonly this will be in the form of your code; simply post up how far you have got and tell us where you are getting stuck. That way we will be able to point you in the right direction without just giving you the answer. We will do all we can to guide you, to help you to understand how to spot problems and how to solve them. This understanding of the problem solving process is part and parcel of being a good programmer.

Member of the Month

Most often, induction into the DaniWeb virtual Hall of Fame is reserved for old timers; those members who have earned their stripes over years of membership and community participation. This month we are breaking the mould by featuring J.C. SolvoTerra who has only been a member of our community for a month. Yes, you read that right, a month. Here's the thing though, within that four week period he has not only made 128 contributions with an 86% average post quality score, but has made the kind of effort to help others which is rare in such a new member. This is particularly evident in the VB.NET forum where he has notched up 108 posts and where you will find those who have been helped by him posting such things as "Thank you so so much. You have been brilliant. True Talent!" In his month with us he has already achieved 94 reputation points which put him in the top 300 of a community numbering more than 1.1 million in total. Without further ado, then, let's find out a little more about this remarkable new member.

Where were you born, where do you live and where would you most like to live?

I was born in an old market town called Bakewell in the County of Derbyshire, England. Bakewell is not just old, it’s really old; the church dates back to 920, and the first market was introduced in 1254. Bakewell itself is famous world over by the pastry connoisseur. For those who have heard of the Bakewell tart which was derived from the original Bakewell pudding, my home town Bakewell is in fact it’s home town and place of birth. Derbyshire itself boasts some of the most beautiful landscapes in the UK. To get a rough idea of what I am talking about, J.R.R. Tolkein actually based the scenery in the Shire from The Hobbit and trilogy The Lord of the Rings on Derbyshire’s rolling hills, green woodlands and bustling hedge rows. Watching the movies actually reminds me of home.

I spent many years travelling, working, travelling and working. Each time I returned to the UK I would seek work all over the UK, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. On my last return I found work in St. Andrews, Scotland. To those who are familiar with the golf scene, the home of golf on the east coast. It was here I met my beautiful Scottish wife and we now currently reside in Scotland’s capital city, Glasgow.

Having lived in many different environments all over the world, from the calm and peaceful to the scenic and beautiful to the rat-race hustle and bustle, I haven’t quite decided where I would most like to live at the moment. My decision seems to change daily and often depends on my mood.

How Old Are You?

I’m 33 years, born in 1980. Quite a historic year, ACDC’s Bon Scott chokes on his own vomit and dies, John Lennon found himself in a bit of a pickle at the other end of a gun, and more I.T. based, 1980 was the year the modem was invented. Let’s not forget Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)” was also released, so not all bad.

What is your occupation, what's the worse job you've ever done, what would be your fantasy job?

Currently, with much protest, I’m working as a chef. Having spent nearly five years away from IT (and I mean totally away, not a single line of code written) I found myself in a bit of a predicament when I moved to Glasgow at the end of November 2013. Having decided “that’s it, enough is enough” I went out and bought myself a new computer, loaded my shelves with my programming reference books, kissed my wife good-bye and installed VS2013. Sitting there, glaring at the screen, hands poised over the keyboard ready to develop the first thing that came into my head I realized “Oh My God, I’ve forgotten namespaces, syntax, where the letter T is without looking... It’s all but gone”.

“Honey, I’m not going to be a millionaire next month, got a bit of work to do first” Currently I’m working 5am to 1pm as a chef, paying the bills and all that jazz, then from 1:30pm until the wee hours cramming, cramming, cramming, writing, writing, and writing. I shan’t stop cramming until I return to my previous almost-fluent standards in not only VB.Net but JAVA (Android), HTML\5 CSS\3, PHP and JavaScript…

Am I frustrated that I lost it? I was, now it feels like I’m not just relearning, but what I am relearning is more solid and structured than it was before. I have been fortunate throughout my life, having tried many rolls, Graphic design, MOD, Catering, Management, Software Development but the one roll that does stick out is software developer, it’s my life, my passion and my love. I imagine sitting one day in a big open office space of my small software development company. The office dog is chasing a balloon being blown around by an array of carefully placed desktop fans and it suddenly occurs to me that I’d decided Wednesday was going to be “What-Ever-Wednesday” and the reason half my team\colleagues are missing was down to the fact they were logged in from wherever they had decided to work from remotely on this What-Ever-Wednesday.

As I realise what day it is, think to myself… I’m off to Starbucks to be “That Guy” working away in the corner on his laptop. Starbucks isn’t better than my open plan office, but different is better… right? Oh and let’s not forget, I’m going to work in Starbucks just because I can.

What is your favourite OS, what do you like best about it and what stinks?

My favourite OS opens one hell of a can of worms. Having started playing around on the old CBM Commodore, all-in-one keyboard\monitor setup with a black and green monochrome display and a 5 1\2” floppy disc and moving on to the Amiga 500, then Amiga 1200, have sampled some of the best OSs time has to offer. From a blinking green cursor to WorkBench, what a step forward. I sampled the old monochrome Mac and fiddled with window’s 3.1 but my Amiga was home for me. That was until it got bought up and destroyed by some pyramid monstrosity designed to ensure Amiga would not only be cast to the darkest depths of hell, it would actually get up and walk there itself.

From the Amiga I made my way over to Windows 95. Mac just wasn’t that accessible to me I guess, and it never really seemed to be until maybe the time of Windows XP. By the time I had realized the power and awesomeness of Mac it was too late. Not prepared to start all over again and forget everything I already knew… “Where the hell has my other mouse button gone” I made an active decision to stick with windows.

It’s now 2014 and I circumnavigated Vista and Windows 7 and jumped straight into windows 8, then 8.1. You know what, I really enjoy it, even as a developer. Sure it’s clunky and heavy, so much smoke in my eyes I’m not entirely sure what’s going on, fortunately I’ve been using Windows for so long now, if you remove all the whistles and bells, it all boils down to the same old registry. I find myself considering Macs more and more as time goes by, but for now windows 8.1 has ensured, at least another couple of years servitude. Seriously, for those who haven’t warmed to Windows 8.1 yet, I offer a simple piece of advice. Take the time to customize your start screen, oh ensure it boots to desktop too. What’s my biggest problem though with windows, honestly? Nothing more than its total lack of exclusivity.

Do you have a favourite forum on DaniWeb and why?

Having only been a member of DaniWeb for a matter of weeks, I haven’t explored all the nooks and crannies it has to offer. I spend most of my time in the VB.Net forums but have started to venture over to other, more non-specific forums such as geeks lounge. I have many I.T. interests, from hardware to web development, and the development of my web development knowledge and DaniWeb offers me all this and more under one roof. I find poking around the Hardware\Windows\XYZ forums quite interesting too, the amount of questions still being asked about NT, 2000 and XP boggles me. Move on man, move on.

Which DaniWeb member would you most like to meet 'in real life' and why?

Again only being a member of DaniWeb for several weeks haven’t had an in-depth history with its community, though at this early stage there are some key figures that stand out, not just moderators and administrators, but across the whole board, whether it be for their insane knowledge, eagerness to assist or for having a great personality and sense of humour. With that in mind, if I got to meet one person, it would have to be Dani herself.

I’d love to pick her brains about her development of a successful web-site, her process her thoughts then and now, what problems did she face, how did she overcame them and what’s changed since the early days. What’s so important is that I actually can, well, not meet her (crazy stalker, horror movie eek, eek, eek comes to mind) but actually ask her and chat with her. Even with over a million contributors in the community, the key figures are right there at the end of a PM or thread. Working, contributing and developing, I totally love that. The ability to ask the people who developed the environment I am using to find answers and solutions are right there to help too.

What do you think of the DaniWeb Reward Points scheme, and have you cashed out using it yet?

I think the system is a great idea to help people get more involved and contribute or help more. Having earned rewards, haven’t earned enough to cash out yet, but as my own knowledge grows, so will my ability to help more people, and in time will be able to reap the benefits of the reward system.

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

Besides I.T. and the obvious nod to the side as my wife walks in I love the outdoors, but not just the outdoors, the extreme, harsh outdoors. Don’t take me for a nice walk on a calm, sunny afternoon, I want to be at the top of that mountain, shrouded in cloud, -30 and not entirely sure if my wits are up to me actually surviving the night. Much has happened over the past 6 or 7 years and my travelling has all but stopped. For the time being these expeditions and adventures are on pause, though I’m not at a loss because this current adventure is just as exciting, and I still find myself wondering if I’m going to last the night.

One day, I will have a website that documents my travels in great detail. This website will host all kinds of free information to people who need help making the jump into the unknown. Tips and advice, pitching tents at 8000ft on solid rock, cooking an entire meal in one pot, good equipment, poor equipment, don’t go here, do try this… I’m getting excited just thinking about it all again.

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