Problem Sharing

After hours of trying to crack a web programming problem, I was stumped. No matter what I tried, I couldn't get my code to work the way I wanted it to.

I sighed and let my eyes lose focus until my monitor was a blurry white blob. I pictured myself far away, near peaceful water, in a hammock, napping. I imagined waking in a gentle sway, taking a cool sip of lemonade and wondering if I should take my massage before or after lunch. How nice it would be if choosing a massage time was my life's biggest dilemma.

I snapped out of my fantasy and my screen came back into focus. The cursor seemed to blink slower beside my problematic code ""blinking as if it was bored.

I then remembered a web resource I had discovered a few days before. It is a wonderful site founded by some people who realized that few things tickle a computer techie more than sharing (boasting) knowledge about technology. In fact, only two feelings exceed this thrill: 1) Receiving accolades for the knowledge, and, 2) Receiving published accolades for the knowledge (preferred).

Experts-Exchange.com is a membership, knowledge-sharing web site that helps any person solve his or her technical problems with help from experts who have answers or technical peers who have already managed to solve the problem. Over a million answers to technical problems are available on this site and it has gained a large membership of IT pros who compete for correct answers in order to earn points and ranking.

Members post new questions that often get a response within 30 minutes. The question-askers then award points to the person who successfully offers a solution that works.

As members earn points for correct answers, they move up the ranks, earning titles like "Guru," "Wizard" and "Sage." Competition has been so fierce that a new set of highest rankings have been added to keep the top experts engaged. At a million points, your title becomes "Genius." Ten million earns the title "Savant" and the new top title awarded is "Legend," given to any member earning a hundred million points (not achieved yet).

I posted my programming question on Experts-Exchange and within an hour I saw two "Masters" competing to give me the best answer. I tried their suggestions and was happy to award points to the answer that fixed my problem.

There's no reason to stare at a blinking cursor or a poorly-written user manual for hours. If you are stumped on a technology problem, let your eyes lose focus for a few moments ""relax ""take your mind somewhere you'd like to be. Then come back, log onto Experts-Exchange and pose your question to people who are eager to become "legends."

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