How to Get Help by Email

1. Send to the right place. Always send a project technical question to the specified mailbox for help; if you send it to one of the individual members of the teaching staff, getting an answer will probably be delayed for hours or even days if that person is sleeping for a change or is out of town.

2. Don't send gobbledegook. Many of you are using MS Outlook to send your mail. This email program, and perhaps others, has a bad habit of putting html codes into your message, making it almost incomprehensible when viewed with the more general email programs we use. Please set your mail program to send only plain ASCII text. It's the polite thing to do.

3. Don't send your source code files. Think what will happen to our in-boxes with a bunch of identically named files. Usually we can help without the complete source. We will ask for your code if we have to compile it ourselves to figure out the problem.

4. Tell us what we need. If you are working on a project, and you need help understanding an error message, tell us:

A. What programming environment you are using - where (CAEN vs ITD vs personal), which kind and version of IDE/compiler. Examples: CAEN Unix gcc 4.1, ITD MSVS 7.2, Personal Mac Xcode 3.1.

B. The actual line of code causing the problem, and the few lines before it. Use copy-paste to put the actual code into your email to keep typos from confusing the issue.

C. The exact error message. Use copy-paste to put the actual message into your email to keep typos from confusing the issue.

If there are a zillion error messsages, start with the first one and resolve it if you can, and go to the next, and then ask us about the first one that is stumping you. Many errors spawn additional errors, so resolving them starting with the first is most efficient.