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Welcome to the November edition of the DaniWeb Digest

This time last year we were asking that members who wish to get help with their homework assignments should take notice of the site rules and "provide evidence of having done some work yourself." Sadly, that message still doesn't seem to have sunk in and some people continue to just cut and paste assignment questions verbatim and expect DaniWeb members to provide the answers for them. There are two reasons why this is not a good thing: firstly there's every chance that the poster is in breach of copyright, and secondly they are going to learn jack if someone else simply does their homework for them. We think there are two solutions, the first is to reply and point them at the rules, ask for some evidence of what they have done so far (show us the code!) and where they are stuck. This does, on the odd occasion, prompt the original poster into showing that they have in fact tried something and the conversation generally moves on nicely from there. Most of the time, the kind of lazy-ass student who wants answers on a plate doesn't even bother to reply to polite requests for such evidence of effort. So the second solution is a simple one: just ignore them. Seriously, if they cannot be bothered to put any effort at all into constructing a meaningful question which shows what they have done, where they have got stuck and what help they need when why should you waste your time responding in any way whatsoever? It's up to you, of course, and if you want to continue trying to get the best out of these people even if you know it is an exercise in head banging then go ahead. However, if you don't then we here at DaniWeb HQ certainly sympathize. Where we would tend to part company as far as sympathizing goes, however, is when someone responds by providing a full homework solution, code and all. Please don't do that, it isn't big and it isn't clever...

None of which means that DaniWeb isn't prepared to help with homework, or work, assignments. 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.

More user interface questions

It seems that some members are still running into problems as far as getting to grips with the new DaniWeb design, most likely because they have been away for a bit and are only just now returning to find that things have changed a lot. Here's a typical question we get asked "Where have the forum listings gone?" to which the answer is that DaniWeb doesn't do 'structured forums' as such any more. The new system has moved to a tag-based concept where, instead of posting to specific sub-forums, things are now more free form and allow you to post to a generic category such as 'programming' and tag your post with relevant keywords. This actually allows for more people, rather than less, to see your post as you are no longer restricted by the confines of a specific forum when it comes to choosing where to post. Using the intelligent search box (top right of the screen) enables you to quickly find posts that relate to the tags you are interested in. The search dropdown offers an autocomplete feature: when you are in a category thread, it presents a list of the most popular related tags but when you're on the homepage or elsewhere, it presents a list of the most popular tags across the site as a whole. As you type, the list filters itself but always stays aware of what section you're in. So, for example, typing the letter 'c' while in the software development section will present you with C++ and C#, but typing the letter 'c' while in the web development section will present you with CSS. However, if you do still want to browse with a more forum-like structure, then all is not lost. To the right of the search box is what we refer to as the 'hamburger' menu, in the blue box, which you can click on for a category-based listing of 'forums' for you to navigate.

Another question we have been asked once or twice recently is "how do I log off?" and the answer to this one is even more simple: click on your name in the top navigation menu and right at the bottom of the list that appears you will see 'log out.' You should explore these top navigation menus as they contain a ton of interesting stuff. The username one has a load of stuff which relates to you and your account, such as direct links to viewing and editing your profile, building your CV, viewing your member rank, joining a live chat or even donating to DaniWeb via PayPal. Next to this is the Finder menu, which kind of relates to the previous question as stuff that is related to things you have done can be found here such as jumping to your favorite forums, bookmarked posts, your watched articles or posts you have written for example.

Member of the Month

A member of DaniWeb for seven years now, rproffitt may not be the most prolific of posters with only 350 to his credit (which ranks him just outside the DaniWeb top 500 at the moment) but there's no doubting the quality of his contributions which have achieved a 90% post quality score. With 59 reputation points, and 39 Q&A solving assists, to his name this is a member who deserves his nomination for the DaniWeb Hall of Fame. So, without further ado, let's find out a little more about him.

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

Wichita, Kansas, San Diego, and San Diego.

How old are you?

60

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

Consulting on many areas from embedded hardware, software from assembler to most languages, and system design. Never had a bad job. Lucky. Maybe a job was a grind, but there was always something I was learning so it was worth it. Fantasy job? Problem solving. It's great to be where the problems are that need solving. This doesn't mean I know it all, but I know to call in others to help create solutions.

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

I'm OS agnostic. With a lot of embedded designs over the years we rarely had an OS to target. That said, Windows 8 through 10 is fine to develop on, if a Linux or Mac OS X is called for then I'll use that too.

What first brought you to DaniWeb and why did you stay here?

I recall I had a question and it looked like an above average membership. It took a while to get the feel of the forum and I've been more active lately.

What do you think of the new DaniWeb design?

Both old and new worked for me. It's good and I really should pull it up on a tablet to see how that works but it looks like some effort was made for the move to mobile and tablet use.

What would you change about DaniWeb if you could?

For me, move the items under 'Finder, Articles I'm Watching' to the top bar but then again I can change my DaniWeb shortcut to "https://www.daniweb.com/members/watching" Maybe a relaxation of where images can be as more and more programming is visual.

Do you have a favorite place to hang on DaniWeb and why?

Not yet. I check the posts I'm watching then check the unsolved area.

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

Not so much the people but would like to drop by the DaniPad but I'm on the other side of the country.

What is the most memorable interaction you've had in the DaniWeb forums, or by PM, in the time you have been a part of the community?

For now, it's anytime a member solves their issue with help from me or the members. In today's world it can be very expensive if you don't dig in yourself and good advice is hard to find.

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

When I can, travel is fun. Travel and work do mix. Favorite saying: "We only lose what we don't backup." Favorite story along that line: "The Devil and Jesus coding challenge." Tools I use: VFDIDE (yes, I maintain PalmOS apps), Visual Studio various versions, WinMerge, DropBox, Android Studio, VirtualBox to run other OSes and Steam for games. My workhorse machine: Lenovo y510p, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD.

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