Getting on your soap box is fine. But, read through this whole thread again. You haven't explained what you want to do with your ethernet shield.
I absolutely agree. Questions like "Duh, it don't work!" get us nowhere.
However - and correct me if I am wrong - I have listed very specific goals in my use of the Ethernet shield - and yes, I have received excellent answers from many people, to whom I will be forever in their debt.
Again, maybe I am wrong, but one of my "hot buttons" as a Software QA engineer of many years, is usability, and I believe that usability is one of the hallmarks of well written code and documentation.
IMHO - truly in my own very humble opinion - I appreciate these fora, and all the other fora that I have been privileged to participate in. The ability to learn from those who have gone before is invaluable - and I honestly applaud those who take the time to answer my own silly noob questions - even if it is for the four-zillionth time.
Likewise, again IMHO, my own very humble opinion, as a newbie I can see things that - perhaps - escape the notice of those who have been working within the Arduino community for years and years. These experts naturally know that in order to make this particular thing work you have to tweak this, nudge that, and give this other thing a little twist to the left. They have done it so often that it is second nature to them.
Unfortunately, for those of us who are (relatively) new to the Arduino platform, these things are not self-evident. We do what the documentation tells us to do, and slam up against that brick wall, because we don't
know about the tweaks, nudges, and twists that the "old timers" know about.
Ergo, these fora. For which, again, I am most humbly grateful.
My point is this:
If these things are more carefully explained in the documentation accompanying a piece of software - or if there is even some kind of documentation at all - the noob like myself who does not mind reading the documentation before trying to load code, will have a chance to learn these things without taking up the valuable time of the experts on these fora, explaining and re-re-re-explaining what should be obvious, and obviously documented.
These people don't get paid for this. They do this because they have a sincere desire to support a platform they admire. And their time is valuable. As much as I appreciate the comments and advice that everyone has given me, I know that there are better, more worthy, questions that they should be answering. Ergo, my comments suggesting better and more comprehensive documentation.
On the Propeller fora, I have offered to compile zipped archives of their various object libraries - for two reasons:
First: I get a copy of everything!
Second: Other folks like me don't have to go through a list of a hundred-or-so objects and download each and every one, one at a time.
I cannot do much there, I am still way too green, but this is my way of offering to "give back" to the community.
And as soon as I find something that I, myself, can do to help here within the Arduino community - despite my own limited knowledge - it will be my privilege to do so.
I am sorry if I appeared to come off as one simply ranting and raving - for that I apologize - however, I do believe that the gist of my comments has merit, and should be considered.
What say ye?