It seems like this thread is attracting comments from those that do most of the heavy lifting across the forums and therefore should be the ones who are reading rather than responding to the thread. Ideally there should be responses from newbies rather than those with thousands of posts to their credit.
Speaking as one who is more a receiver of help than a giver I can see how a new comer may be daunted by the fray. However while this may scare the thin-skinned off, one can soon get the message that unless you follow the guidelines of posting (summarised in point #6 of Nick Gammons Posting Guidelines http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/topic,97455.0.html
) and do some homework first, you can expect to get a serve from forum members. I find a source of amusement is to look for posts from some unsuspecting noob which breaks most of Nicks guidelines and read the acerbic and withering invective that subsequently rains down on the OP from some of the luminaries in this thread as well as some other notables . Some recipients retort, slamming the culture of the forums but most take it on the chin and learn from their mistake. In doing so it sets the tone for the forums and keep them tight, and informative.
I have been one the receiving end more than once and have learnt without bearing a grudge. However, in the interest of welcoming all, maybe the more experienced should view the number of posts of the OP before responding. Firm redirection should be order of the day, but sarcasm should be directed only at those with a few posts under their belt.
Being a member of forums on other websites, I find the Arduino forums well run and the members helpful and intolerant of fools. Judging from the number of posts under the monikers of most of this threads participants I am amazed by the time and effort put in by some of you without any thanks. (I never know whether to post a "Thanks" to one of my posts that has been resolved; artificially bumping it to the top of the forum without any additional information. What's the etiquette?)
Anyway, thats my two cents worth but while there are many "high-posters" in one spot I just have one recommendation......
A while ago Grey Nomad let slip some of his past history in electronics and what he had worked on. I don't think that I am the only one fascinated by the "old world" of valves and early electronics that some of you have been involved in. It was only when I went to the Raspberry Pi website that I found out more about Grumpy Mikes experience and background.
In the interest of promoting the depth of the knowledge pool of this forum as well as providing some interesting reading (and threads), would it be good to get some of the older members to post a speil on their previous experience (without breaching their privacy)?