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Frequently Asked Questions

For Readers: For Authors: If you have a difficulty with Tech Tips please email the administrator.

What are Tech Tips and What Is This Section For?

Tech Tips are short articles one page in length contributed by our more experienced viewers to help other viewers with common problems, avoid pitfalls, or describe new products or techniques. A development of the Open Forum, Tech Tips become a permanent "knowledge base" for the site. Tech tips can include a photo or drawing. Tech Tips are organized by subject category, making it easier to find an article of interest. Anyone with experience or special expertise can write a Tech Tip. If you write a Tech Tip you receive a $5.00 Speed Shop credit as our thanks for helping out our viewers.

Viewers can review Tech Tips, leaving comments, and rate Tech Tips for usefulness. The average viewer rating is displayed with the Tech Tip. Viewers can also ask the Tech Tip author a question and all questions and answers are available for everyone's viewing. Viewers can also request that a Tech Tip article be written on a certain topic.


Do I Need to be a Registered User to Read Tech Tips?

No! You do not need to be a registered user to browse the Tech Tips. You DO need to register if you wish to ask the author a question or rate a Tech Tip. We require registration for these activities to eliminate crank posts and spam.


How Do I Find a Particular Tech Tip I'm Looking For?

There are many ways to locate Tech Tips. Probably the fastest is to use the grey Search Bar which appears just under the top navigation links on every Tech Tips page. Just type in a word describing what you need and hit "Search". There is also an Advanced Search which allows you to specify a rating range and restrict the search to a particular category or sub-category.

While we're on the subject of categories, this is another way to locate items. All Tech Tips are listed in a category and sub-category. A list of all the categories appears on the Tech Tips Home Page. (The little digits are the number of Tech Tips in that category). Click on a category and you are taken to another page which lists the sub-categories for that category, again with quantities. If you then click on a sub-category you are taken to the list of Tech Tips in that sub-category. You can get a complete list of all categories and sub-categories on the Site Map.


What if I Can't Find a Tech Tip On A Topic I'm Looking For?

You can request that one of our authors write a Tech Tip to discuss that topic. First of all, go to the Tech Tips and see if anyone else has requested a Tip on that Topic by clicking on "Requests for Tech Tips". If no one else has made a request for your topic you can make one by clicking on "Request a Tech Tip". If you haven't registered yet you must register first to get a login name and password, then you can fill out a short form detailing your Tech Tip request.


Can I Find Out More About a Tech Tip Topic or Contact the Author?

If you have any questions about a Tech Tip by all means contact the author and ask them (not us!). Click on the "Ask Question or View Answers" link found on the Tech Tip. Your question (and the author's answer) appear here on a mini message board for the Tech Tip. Although we notify the author by email of your question you do not receive an email reply, instead the author posts to this board. Check back at this question and answer board to get the author's reply.


What Is the "Rating" and What Does It Mean?

Readers are able to rate each Tech Tip for usefulness. The rating system uses one to five stars and the rating displayed with the Tech Tip is the average of all reader ratings. Feel free to rate any Tech Tip you read yourself. You can also leave comments for the author and other readers. You can also ask the author a question via privacy email. All questions and answers are posted on a little mini board attached to each Tech Tip.


How do I Post a Tech Tip?

Posting a Tech Tip is easy. To start, click on Post Your Tech Tip here or at the top or bottom of any Tech Tips screen. This takes you to a login screen. If you have not already registered click on the Register button (if you have registered just fill in your username and password and go to the next paragraph). You are taken to a form where you enter your desired username and your email address and some basic contact formation. You are then taken back to the login screen with your new username already filled in. Our system emails you your password, usually within a few seconds. Save this email! Cut and paste the password from the email into the login form and hit the Login button. (Later, if you like, you can change your password to something easy to remember using Change Password.)

You are first taken to a screen which asks if you have a picture to upload for your Tech Tip. You can upload any GIF, JPEG, or BMP picture which is on your computer. If you do have a picture you select it using the normal file selection window for your system, and it is uploaded for you. After you upload it you can check it to see if it arrived OK and if not you can try again. Once you have your picture uploaded, or if you don't have a picture, you are taken to a form to enter your name, a category for the Tech Tip, amd the Tech Tip itself.

Once the posting form is filled in to your satisfaction, hit the Preview button. The system shows how the Tech Tip will look. If you like what you see, click on the Add Tech Tip button and the Tech Tip is posted. If not, you can also go back and make changes to anything about the Tech Tip at this point.

Remember, readers can ask you, the author, questions via privacy email. If someone sends you e-mail asking about your Tech Tip, please respond promptly and courteously. Remember, when you receive questions by email you DO NOT REPLY to the email. All questions and your answers are posted on a mini message board attached to your Tech Tip. You go there to post your reply. The email you receive with the question has a link to this question and answer board or you can click on "Ask Question or View Answers" on your Tech Tip. Readers can also rate your Tech Tip for usefulness and Tech Tips are listed highest rated first.


I'd Like to Help Out and Post a Tech Tip, How Do I Choose a Topic?

Viewers can request that a Tech Tip be written on a certain topic. Click on Requests for Tech Tips and see if there are any open requests which you are interested in responding to. If so, click on the title of the request which takes you to a detail page with more information about what the viewer wants to know. If you wnat to write a Tech Tip in response to this request then click on "Post a Tech Tip In Response To This Request". This will take you the the Tech Tips posting page with the title already filled in from that request and will also remove the request once you have posted a Tech Tip.

If there are no Tech Tip requests or none which you wish to respond to you can always write one on an area of your particular expertise. You might be aware of topics or questions which come up frequently on the Open Forum. You may be aware of mistakes that newcomers frequently make, etc. If you are a Speed Shop or business and have a newsworthy new product or technique you may write about that. However, please, no blatant advertisements and no mention of prices!


Is There Any Charge for Posting Tech Tips

No, absolutely not! In fact, we are so pleased if you post a Tech Tip to help our viewers that we give you a $5.00 credit towards Speed Shop listings.


Why Do I need To Provide My Contact Information To Be Able to Post?

We require all permanent contributions to the site to be from registered users. This is to prevent junk posts, spam, and all the other bad stuff that can happen if people are allowed to post text and photos without establishing a positive identity. Also, this way we can reward you for taking the time to post a Tech Tip by crediting your Speed Shop account.


I Registered but the Post A New Tech Tip Login Won't Accept My Password

The most common reason for this is a typing error. Passwords (and usernames) are case-sensitive, meaning they must be entered using upper and lower case just as they appear in your registration email. We use difficult passwords but this makes your personal information on more secure. If you want, you can change your password to something easier to type and/or remember using the Change Your Password form. You can cut and paste your registration password from the email into this form. You can also have your browser (if it is a recent version) automatically remember your password for you. On Netscape 7.x try Edit | Preferences | Privacy&Security | Passwords. On Internet Explorer 6.0 try Tools | Internet Options | Content | Auto Complete. Consult your browser help for more information.


How Long Should My Tech Tip Be?

Tech Tips have a 100 word minimum to be able to be posted. We would prefer that you provide at least a couple hundred words or a page of material. Tech Tips are basically designed to be a single page. If you would like to post a longer article you can post it as several Tech Tips, number each one in the title, and provide links between the pages. Ask the admin if you need help in creating links between pages.


Can My Tech Tip Have One or More Pictures?

Each Tech Tip can have one picture. You select whether it has a picture or not right at the beginning of posting after you log in. If it does have a photo you upload it to the server before you post the Tech Tip. If you are doing a more involved article which absolutely requires more than one picture, divide the article into several Tech Tips, each with one photo (see above).


What Is This HTML Business In the Item Description and What Is It For?

HTML is the language used to control the formatting of web pages. We allow you to use HTML in your item description and you can use it to do things like change your text size, color, typeface, and format your text into separate lines and paragraphs. We have written a Very Simple Introduction to HTML to help you use this powerful feature. The introduction has a scratchpad where you can try different HTML coding and see the result.


I'm a Manufacturer or Speed Shop, Can I Promote New Products Here?

Yes, if you really have something which is newsworthy such as a new product or service. You can put these in the "New and Noteworthy" section. All Tech Tips are subject to editorial review and we will not accept Tech Tips which are blatant advertising and just advertising. This means no discussion of prices! Remember, it must be something new or different or newsworthy. Remember, our viewers will rate your post for usefullness.


Can I Change My Tech Tip Once It Is Posted?

Yes and no. You can change your author name, the Tech Tip title, and text. You can do this using the Author Edit link at the bottom of your Tech Tip. You can also delete your Tech Tip at any time should you no longer want it to be available online. You cannot change the photo (if any) and the category so choose this carefully when you post the Tech Tip.


Everything I Do Requires a Login, Any Way Around This?

Yes, you can use your browser (if it is a recent version) to automatically fill in your username and password for you on Tech Tips. On Netscape 7.x try Edit | Preferences | Privacy&Security | Passwords. On Internet Explorer 6.0 try Tools | Internet Options | Content | Auto Complete. Consult your browser help for more information.

We were very security conscious when we built Tech Tips and we don't want the wrong people to be able to access your information or listings, hence all the logins. We could have used "cookies" to automatically log you in but many people are paranoid about the use of cookies so we decided against it. We may do this in the future. In the meantime, get a recent browser and let it do the login for you.


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