help from experts
I'm proud of my readers. Many of you did the
homework assigned in last month's column, asking a
question to an expert at AllExperts.Com.
Perhaps the most impressive result was that of a
reader who owns two Chagall lithographs and was
eager to know how much they were worth. She knew
that an art expert would charge her at least $200
per picture--possibly more than the value of the
prints themselves. So she read about AllExperts and
decided this was the question to ask.
She was thrilled with the result. The expert
knew his stuff. He was experienced buying and
selling all levels of Chagall graphics and had
curated several shows. He was familiar with the
works and told her exactly how much they were worth
(one in the $300-700 range and the other about
$40). She got exactly the advice she wanted, advice
that would ordinarily have cost at least $400. And
she got it for free!
Another reader simply wanted to know how to get
a book listed on Amazon.com. He turned to
AllExperts and got the answer.
And one reader took the opportunity to ask two
questions to marketing experts. He wanted to know
the best way to attract clients to his website and
to find out other ways he could attract more
clients. He was pleased with the results and would
use the service again.
He said, however, that he noticed that he began
receiving junk email soon after posing his
questions and felt that the two were related. In
your e-mail address confidential.
But not everyone had his or her question
answered. One person asked a very specific question
of an astrophysicist, and while he got an
informative and friendly reply, the expert was
unable to answer the question.
Sometimes you're better off asking a question of
a group. If it's a difficult question, it may be
more likely that someone in the group will know the
You guessed it: more homework. But, really, it's
as easy as the last assignment. This time we'll use
that wonderful website Google.
Google does everything better. And you can now
use Google to interact with discussion groups. In
particular, they give you access to the venerable
discussion groups called Usenet Newsgroups, which
have been around since about 1980.
OK, get your question ready, and I'll take you
through the process step by step.
1) Go to Google
Groups and type in a couple keywords related to
your question. For example, if I wanted to ask a
question about regarding my Pocket PC, I could
simply type in "Pocket PC."
2) Typically at the top of the list of search
results is a section titled "Related Groups." That
tells you the discussion groups that most
frequently discuss that topic. For example, there
are four Pocket PC-related discussion groups. I
would choose microsoft.public.pocketpc.
3) Select one of the groups by clicking on it,
and then make the resulting page a favorite or
bookmark in your web browser so that you can return
4) When you select the group, it will return a
list of messages that have been posted to that
group, with the most recent messages at the
5) On the top right, you will see a link titled
"Post a new message to <groupname>." Click on
6) Because you haven't yet registered, at this
point you will be asked to register by giving a
name (doesn't have to be your real name) and your
e-mail address. You must complete this simple
registration in order to post.
7) Send the registration, and then check your
e-mail to get the resulting confirmation.
8) Click on the link that comes to your e-mail
address, and you will automatically be taken to a
blank form for posting.
9) Post your question.
10) It can take 1-9 hours for your message to be
posted. So wait a while and then use the bookmark
or favorite you made to go back to the page for
that group. Look for the message you posted and for
any replies that may have been posted.
Note that junk mailers collect e-mail addresses
from the newsgroups, so you may want to sign up for
a free web-based e-mail account on Google or
Hotmail or Yahoo and then give that e-mail address
when you register.
Good luck. I hope you find the Internet to be
useful in getting answers to your questions.
© 2001 by Jim Karpen, Ph.D.