Well, my outsourcing experiment is over – here’s how it went down.
I chose one of the programmers (I got five bids of $12-20) because he/she had four good reviews, but they never responded. So I chose the second respondent and he got back to me in about a half hour.
We talked twice via email – he was fast, his code is clean and it works. That’s all I needed, and it was well worth the negligible amount of cash I had to spend. I’ll definitely consider doing this again the next time I get stuck with a programming task I can’t figure out quickly.