He does continue to contibute to the blog. Together with his colleague, Gordon Linoff, Michael Berry is author of some of the most widely read and respected books on data mining. These best sellers in the field have been translated into many languages. Michael is an active practitioner of data mining. His books reflect many years of practical, hands-on experience down in the data mines. He is also in demand as a keynote speaker and seminar leader in the area of data mining generally and the application of data mining to customer relationship management in particular.

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So far this year, I have also earned more points than anyone, a testament to my obsession with the site you can see yearly user rankings here. As for overall points, I will never match the leader Jon Skeet because who had a head start of many years. My answers are almost almost exclusively for answers related to SQL and various databases. The site is highly geared toward "tools" questions, so there are few general analysis questions. So, this blog is sharing some of my thoughts and my history on the site.

Clearly, I have helped a lot of people on Stack Overflow, around the world. The most rewarding part are the thank-yous from real people working on real problems. But answering questions has helped me too: My technical knowledge of databases has greatly improved, particularly the peculiarities strengths and weaknesses of each database engine.

I have learned patience for people who are confused by concepts in SQL. I have hopefully learned how to explain concepts to people with different levels of competence. I have learned how to figure out sometimes what someone is really asking. It has definitely increased the number of hits when I egosurf. A few months after starting, I stopped down voting questions and answers. This all started in January, a bit over two and a half years ago.

One particular problem involved dynamic queries. Google kept directing me to the same question on Stack Overflow. This best answer was close to what I needed, but not quite. It was only half-way there. The third time I landed on the page, I added my own answer. Lo and behold, my answer was accepted and up voted. Aaron commented about the "unaccept".

Ultimately, I can blame Aaron whom I have not yet met in person for getting me hooked. For a few months, I sporadically answered questions. That meant lots of time hanging around family, planning the funeral, and the like. Answering questions on Stack Overflow turned out to be a good way to get away from things.

So, I became more intent. Stack Overflow draws you in not only with points but with badges and privileges. Each time I logged in, the system "thanked" me for my participation with more points, more badges, and more privileges. This continued. One day probably in June , I hit the daily upvote maximum of upvotes you also get points when an answer is accepted or someone offers a bounty.

One week, I hit points. One month, 5, points. As an individual who is mesmerized by numbers, I noticed these things. Last summer, I hit , points in September and slowed down.

But three things happened in January. The first was a fever with a rash on my face. It kept me home with not-enough to do. So, I answered questions on Stack Overflow. Then, I had an attack of gout. That kept me home with not-enough to do. And finally, the weather in January in New York was, well, wintery -- lots of cold and lots of snowy. More reasons to stay home and answer questions. By the end of January, I was the top scorer for the month. Mount Athos is a peninsula in northern Greece, devoted to twenty-one Orthodox monasteries -- and nothing else.

It is inhabited by a few thousand monks living medieval lifestyles. The only way to visit is as a "pilgrim", staying at a monastery. An incredible experience.

No internet. But, I was able to make up the point deficit on Stack Overflow. This year, each month that passes is another month where I seem to be the top point-gatherer on Stack Overflow. At this point, I might as well make it to the end of the year.


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