Monday, 10 September 2012

Unsung web heroes

After a few years working with different systems I'm back working with Microsoft Access.

It is still the same fun playground I remember [note to self: you get paid for this remember!]... I mean, the same highly productive toolkit.

While I remember a lot (my memory is getting better;) a few years on and some of the detail is hazy. So what does an IT professional do when he or she can't remember how to code a widget? We fire up Google trusting that some generous person has solved and published the solution. Ninety percent of the time they have.

It is astounding how many people have taken the time to document and record ways to do or fix or resolve so many of the problems we face.

Many will never get any thanks or recognition. I know that I'm often like a day trader on speed when I need to find a bit of code to solve a problem, checking multiple forums and blogs looking for the answer. Soon as I've found it I move on to the next problem never stopping to thank the person who bothered to post that nugget of gold.

www.access-programmers.co.uk is one website where I've occasionally slowed down enough to say thanks. I've posted in several forums over the years and I'm conscious that ecquitute demands acknowledging those who take time to help. But even then I can't honestly say I've always done so.

It must take a lot of patience and commitment to keep responding to newbie requests: the sort of requests that make anyone with experience despair.

Why didn't they search the forum? Don't they realise we've answered similar questions dozens of times already?

Last week this headline caught my eye:  Bob Larson 30,000 Posts. I've been helped by Bob Larson directly several times and indirectly dozens of times as I've found his helpful answers and solutions to questions. Thirty thousand is a phenomenal number of posts!

I did a quick back of a spreadsheet calculation. Assuming a conservative 15 minutes to read and respond that is a full ten months of helping the world with their Microsoft Access problems without eating, sleeping or even breathing! Of course, Bob may have only taken a few minutes over each post but still, over fifteen years of posting 30,000 is still amazing.

To Bob and thousands of other unsung heros who frequently and generously give up their time to help others... Thank You!

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