Wednesday 16 February 2011

Response to Experts Exchange blog post.

This is in response to this blog post made at Experts Exchange.

Whilst I agree on a few of the points you have made, as a user and a promoter of various Stack Exchange websites, I feel like I have to speak out on a few of the incorrect statements you have made, especially reading the negative tone they were made in.

I am an internet user since the early days, and, I honestly liked you! As an IT Pro, when there were certain problems, you usually came up first - with a good answer (I agree, search is good), and you saved my a$$ a few times.

But, in this modern world of questions and answers, YOU SUCK worse than Yahoo answers! I am sorry, I just had to say it.

For years, if I had a problem and you were the first result on Google, I always without hesitation skipped over you as you hid the useful answer. Like many people now, I know the stupid trick of just scrolling to the bottom to view the answers, but why should I have to! In the years that you forcefully hid your answers, I learnt to live without you.

For the past year or so, Stack Overflow and the original trilogy of sites (Super User and Server Fault) are coming higher in Google, regularly hitting the number one spot, and unlike you, I can quickly read the answer, search and navigate the site without having to log in... more of that a bit later.

Now, for my response to your Q & A that almost wasn't.

Q: What makes Experts Exchange different from other Q&A sites on the Internet?

A. Most of our nearly 3 million solutions revolve around specific technology questions, and the majority of those have a sense of urgency to them, People don't like to ask questions; we're searchers by nature. So when a user arrives at the point where they have to ask, they want to know they can trust the solution.

One of the big things that makes Experts Exchange unique is a patented system that requires askers to select their best answer. Most Q&A sites (StackExchange included) let the community vote for the best answer, when really the person whose opinion matters most is the one who asked the question.

I had a question that I asked earlier tonight, I got a response in TWO minutes, and it has been up voted by the community 5 times. I see this as a sign of trust in what was written and will shortly be accepting the answer.

Stack Exchange question askers are the only people who can accept an answer, the community can vote on both questions and answers to show the quality of the content. Your website automatically accepts answers of a certain age whether correct or wrong.

I would hate to be someone who goes through the annoying process of signing up in order to view an answer, only to discover it is incorrect.

You proudly state that you have nearly 3,000,000 questions in the 15 years you have been going. Stack Overflow has 1,315,643 in under 3 years.

There is more that I can say, but this whole post started because I just wanted to make two little comments on your blog, following what you wrote:

So what about you, EE lovers (and haters)? What else do you want to know about EE?

I thought, ok, I will register... However, I couldn't because I need to give a bloody credit card number just to leave a comment on your blog! ... and once I started writing, I couldn't stop myself.

I do not care in the slightest about "gamification" which I can't tell if you are for or against. you seem to bitch about the Stack Exchange community voting, whilst stating how good this system is and the fact you do it. Stack Exchange has just taken it a step further and made it a core part of the site.

I am a happy Stack Exchange user. To date, I have answered a few thousand questions and I hope to answer many thousand more. I do not have a lot of spare time and have been contributing less in recent months, however the reason I freely give away my knowledge is the enjoyment I get knowing that I am helping someone with a genuine problem, who without me, may not get a solution. I would hate thinking that I am only helping someone simply because they have money.

I realise I am being hypocritical here as I own a IT consulting company, and to be honest, I don't have an answer to this (Maybe I should start a question!), but compared to Experts Exchange (and a few other question and answer sites I have visited), Stack Exchange just feels right.

Friday 11 February 2011

Lower age discrimination

I thought age discrimination was treating anyone different based purely, and only on their age. I am sympathetic and understand the arguments for upper age discrimination, however, when you look across the internet, there is practically nothing about lower age discrimination.

If you search through Google for "Ageism" or "Age Discrimination", every site has pictures of older people. After speed reading through many of the sites, all I could find is this one line " though it can also related to young professionals, teens and even children" on about equal opportunities.

As far as I am concerned, my understanding of discrimination is that it is just wrong for anything or anyone to treat someone different based on a fact that they can not change about themselves. This includes (but not limited to) age, sex, race.

I would rather not get in to race/crime, but instead just something even higher, sex - according to the 2008 crime statistics, men are almost twenty times more likely to commit crimes than women. I know this isn't the best example as some places (gyms etc.) do have rules at certain times - however I would argue that whilst generally accepted by the masses, this is just as wrong.

The reason for writing this is because of the local pub near where I live (and loads of others) have a rule of "no under 21s" and I just don't see why that is allowed, or why it is just accepted by everyone.

If a few 18-21 year olds act stupid, have bad behaviour or generally just get drunk - ban/kick them out by all means! However, the fact that they just and only refuse to serve someone based on their age, as far as I am concerned is pure age discrimination and I have no idea why it is allowed or just accepted by everyone.

Not all under 21s act bad and on top of this, whilst many supermarkets are eating in to the pub industries profits, I would have thought that the pubs would want anyone willing to be a patron!

Anyway, I have been meaning to write this for a while, my rant (for this week) is over!

Thursday 3 February 2011

Computer chip fire...

In all the computers I have built/repaired, I have never seen this...

A client came to me with a P4 machine that had failed after many years, they wanted it fixed up as cheap as possible. I could not find a direct replacement as it takes DDR, but the closest was a DDR2 motherboard, so I purchased this and new memory, then replaced parts over.

I turned the machine on and the fans started, along with a motherboard LED and there was also an "electric smoke" type smell, I thought nothing of this as the machine has not been used in a while and you sometimes get this sort of smell...

After about 15 seconds, there was nothing on the screen, then I noticed.... It wasn't an LED on the motherboard, it was a chip....

I have never seen this before and am rather worried that no fuse tripped and this just went on...

No idea what on earth caused it. I diagnosed that the old motherboard was faulty, but I am wondering if this motherboard was a DOA (Dead on Arrival) faulty unit or if something else is to blame.

... Not really sure what to do next, left an awkward message on the clients answer phone... and hoping to speak to him later tonight or tomorrow.