Umm, Did you search first?

"There is no shame in stating the obvious, as it may not actually be obvious to others." -- Me

Newsgroups and forums are littered with well-intentioned but often moronic posts asking questions that could be easily answered - in a majority of cases - by simply typing the relevant search term into the Google search textbox and pressing the "SEARCH" button.

Often these same posts are cluttered with replies from equally lazy people who offer opinions, advice and such --and who have not bothered to search either!

A case in point: User posts a somewhat sarcastic item asking if there is an easy way to use Oracle for Session state, intimating that "not everybody uses SQL server". There are three replies, all of them more or less useless, because they didn't offer a real answer - which could easily have been determined with a 30 second search!

So I did the search:


Not exactly rocket science! And right at the top of the list of results:


-- the Oracle ASP.NET providers, ready to download.

Meanwhile, our user who didn't think has probably waited hours to get an answer. I was kind enough to reply and post the link, but I also advised that he/she could easily have done the search themselves. It also helps to study the "google cheat sheet" to learn the various operators.

In my short happy life as a .NET software developer, I often will search for several hours accumulating sample code and ideas -- before I ever write a single line of code on a new project. But- you have to be a good searcher; you need to "think like a search engine".

Now, if you have searched and you've really tried, but still can't find an answer, then yes of course you should make a post and ask for help. And when you do post, include enough details in your original post so that people answering the thread don't get sent off on a wild goose chase only to find out 10 posts later that you didn't include important information in your original post! You see this all the time - people are genuinely trying to help, and then finally the O.P. (original poster) supplies some important qualifying fact that they should have stated in the very beginning -- which totally changes the playing field.

The old Chinese proverb about "teaching a man to fish" holds here. Learn to search effectively for answers to your problems. You will thank me later!

Link of the Day - Microsoft Webmaster Central

Microsoft has rolled out a beta of their version of "Google Webmaster Pages" and you can try it out here. You'll need to upload a small site verification Xml file they give you to activate it. You can also ping Live.com when your sitemap.xml file is updated:


I am hoping - just hoping - that these new features will somehow help Microsoft to better index my sites...

Finally, if you've never seen the incredible technology behind how Google provides relevant search results so quickly, they have a page here that describes it.