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Web Hosting - Redundancy and Failover
Among the more useful innovations in computing, actually invented decades ago, are the twin ideas of redundancy and failover. These fancy words name very common sense concepts. When one computer (or part) fails, switch to another. Doing that seamlessly and quickly versus slowly with disruption defines one difference between good hosting and bad.
Network redundancy is the most widely used example. The Internet is just that, an inter-connected set of networks. Between and within networks are paths that make possible page requests, file transfers and data movement from one spot (called a 'node') to the next. If you have two or more paths between a user's computer and the server, one becoming unavailable is not much of a problem. Closing one street is not so bad, if you can drive down another just as easily.
Of course, there's the catch: 'just as easily'. When one path fails, the total load (the amount of data requested and by how many within what time frame) doesn't change. Now the same number of 'cars' are using fewer 'roads'. That can lead to traffic jams.
A very different, but related, phenomenon occurs when there suddenly become more 'cars', as happens in a massively widespread virus attack, for example. Then, a large number of useless and destructive programs are running around flooding the network. Making the situation worse, at a certain point, parts of the networks may shut down to prevent further spread, producing more 'cars' on now-fewer 'roads'.
A related form of redundancy and failover can be carried out with servers, which are in essence the 'end-nodes' of a network path.
Servers can fail because of a hard drive failure, motherboard overheating, memory malfunction, operating system bug, web server software overload or any of a hundred other causes. Whatever the cause, when two or more servers are configured so that another can take up the slack from one that's failed, that is redundancy.
That is more difficult to achieve than network redundancy, but it is still very common. Not as common as it should be, since many times a failed server is just re-booted or replaced or repaired with another piece of hardware. But, more sophisticated web hosting companies will have such redundancy in place.
And that's one lesson for anyone considering which web hosting company may offer superior service over another (similarly priced) company. Look at which company can offer competent assistance when things fail, as they always do sooner or later.
One company may have a habit of simply re-booting. Others may have redundant disk arrays. Hardware containing multiple disk drives to which the server has access allows for one or more drives to fail without bringing the system down. The failed drive is replaced and no one but the administrator is even aware there was a problem.
Still other companies may have still more sophisticated systems in place. Failover servers that take up the load of a crashed computer, without the end-user seeing anything are possible. In fact, in better installations, they're the norm. When they're in place, the user has at most only to refresh his or her browser and, bingo, everything is fine.
The more a web site owner knows about redundancy and failover, the better he or she can understand why things go wrong, and what options are available when they do. That knowledge can lead to better choices for a better web site experience.
How to Succeed as a Writer in the World of Freelancing (freelancing) Many may view freelancing as a writer as an acquired taste. There are many things about freelance writing that may be deemed as undesirable for many writers, including the common low pay and high demands. However, most writers would consider the freelance writing field, and many enjoy the freedom of freelancing. Being a freelance writer involves writing as well as the marketing of oneself and one?s work. For freelancers, it is important to give careful attention to the business details of the writing world, such as quarterly taxes, and staying ahead of the changing trends of publishing. Freelance writers also have the job of writing according to the editor or publisher?s rules while staying true to their own style. Being a freelance writer may seem ideal to some writers, but in the world of freelance there is stiff competition and most writers receive a hundred rejections before receiving one letter accepting their work. Many freelancers don?t consider being a freelance writer as an easy job, but there are some steps that can help turn any person succeed as a freelance writer. First, it is important that the freelance writer is honest about the quality of their writing and the depth of their writing skills, as well as their knowledge of freelancing. Editors will not spend time with submissions that have many grammatical or spelling mistakes, so it is important to know your own limits, learn your weakness, and use your strengths when writing on a freelance basis. There are many freelance writers who consider themselves professionals, but who don?t have the proper training or degree in any field of writing. So, the next step to being a successful freelance writer is to take a writing course or attend a workshop. Learning techniques from an instructor can be very helpful to a freelance career, and may inspire some writers to move higher on the career ladder. Writers may benefit from receiving comments on the quality of their work from instructors and peers, and may benefit from the pressure of writing well on deadlines. Freelancing requires a certain amount of promotion of oneself, and writers must learn how to write query letters to editors well. For freelance writers, a query letter briefly proposes their idea for an article, gives their qualifications as a writer, and makes the editor believe that the idea is better than every other idea out there. Next, the freelance writer should use web sites for writers to improve their writing skills and to find freelance job opportunities. Many writing web sites have features that are very helpful to writers, and some even offer advice and lessons on how to become a freelance writer and how to maintain a freelancing career. Freelance writers may find it difficult to begin their career, but a simple starting point is the local newspaper or local magazines. It is usually best for a writer to contact the local paper or magazine and ask to submit an article ?on spec,? which means the editor may choose not to pay for the article but will be willing to read it. Typically this method works as a good introduction into the freelance process and world, and helps the writer learn the proper techniques for presenting work. Freelance writers should also work on many small points to improve their career, such as professional presentation. It is advisable for a writer to create a portfolio of clips that prove that they have experience as a writer. This may be difficult for inexperienced writers, but they can begin to build their portfolio by volunteering to write for community publications. Online communities also offer writers the opportunity to write and create material for their portfolio. Freelancing may not be desirable for all writers, but for many it is passion, and some believe the writing world cannot survive without freelancers.
The Top Virtually Bug-free Free Email Services on the Net Virtually bug-free e-mail services are available actually from several places. Many of these service providers are big names, known by many, especially Internet users. The difference between the different e-mail providers lies in several things. These differences include but are not limited to plenty storage space, effective spam filtering, a fast user-friendly interface, desktop e-mail program access and much more. Currently in the United States and the rest of the world, the best offer for free e-mail comes from Gmail. Gmail is part of the Google business enterprise (the search engine most of us know) and offers the most features and storage space for their users for free. With virtually unlimited storage capacity for e-mails, a user never has to delete any e-mails of the server and can collect all the messages. Gmail offers a simple user-friendly interface, which also includes an excellent search function that lets a user find messages instantly and precisely. Another great feature of gmail is the POP and IMAP access features. This gives the user the possibility to download the e-mail from the server with any e-mail program that the user generally would use. The program can then also automatically download the e-mails into the program ready for the user to read. Gmail is funded by displaying advertising next to the e-mails read. Next on the worldwide list would be GMX, a German provider that offers many of the features gmail offers, but with limited storage space. This program also has the POP feature and can therefore be used in conjunction with any of the common available PC e-mail programs. Right after gmail it is one of the most reliable e-mail services, but unfortunately they discontinued the English user face and only offer a German version now. Thereafter on the top free e-mail services providers is AIM Mail. It is the free web-based service from AOL. Like gmail it offers virtually unlimited online storage, excellent spam protection and a simple, easy to use interface. Unfortunately, AIM Mail lacks proper productivity, such things as labels, smart folders and message threading is not available. AIM Mail also offers a very functional POP and IMAP access. Yahoo! Mail would be the next e-mail service that should be mentioned on the list of the top virtually bug-free services on the Internet. Yahoo also offers virtually unlimited storage space for e-mails and a few other nice features, such as Short message services for texting to friends and family, instant-messaging features for the internet and up to date news feeds. What Yahoo! mail lacks is a really good spam filter. It offers a spam filter, but it is not effective enough. Also nice to have would be labeling options as well as smart folders. The Yahoo! Interface is just as easy and user-friendly as the other providers and fairly reliable. To complete the list we need to mention the following three services, Inbox.com, FastMail and Hotmail. Inbox.com offers e-mail users 5 GB of free space to store e-mail online. Despite the limited space, this service is outstanding due to its high-speed accessibility. Web access and POP access are very fast and even the search functions are faster than with most other services on the market. The drawbacks of Inbox.com are the missing IMAP access, only POP is provided and the organizing of mail is slightly unorganized due to missing smartfolder technology. FastMail on the other hand offers users only IMAP. It has many useful features and has one of the best web-based e-mail interfaces. It also generally displays fewer ads then the other services do. And lastly, Live Hotmail should be mentioned here, since most PC users that have a Windows based operating system will have heard of hotmail. This program offers 5 GB of storage for e-mails online. It has a fast search option, a solid security feature and the interface is as easy as the ones users are used to on their desktop. Even though security is great, the spam filter is not quite as effective as some of the other e-mail providers. Also missing with this provider is the POP and IMAP access as well as smartfolders and other great e-mail organizing features.
Ten Top Things That Make for a Great Employee If there is one thing that everyone can agree upon in the job market it is that great employees are hard to come by. Whether you are an employee yourself and you feel like you are always pulling the weight of the other people in the office or if you are a boss who is wondering how you can actually get some people on board who can do the job, you know that great employees are at a premium. But what exactly makes an employee great? These ten top things are guides to bosses looking for greatness in a new hire and for employees trying to get noticed in the workplace and be the kind of employee who has the potential to move up in the company chain. The first thing that makes an employee great is that they are always dependable. Great employees do the job they are supposed to do every time, and no one has to worry that they don?t deliver the goods. A great employee can be counted to always have their work done right, when it is supposed to be done ? it is a forgone conclusion that they will, and no one else has to spend any time worrying about it. The second thing to look for in a great employee is that they are a team player. A great employee isn?t one who is constantly looking for attention or hogs the spotlight. Instead, a great employee works with everyone else to make sure that the things that need to get done do get done, for the good of the company. The third mark of employee greatness is that they know how to take direction. Great employees know how to take criticism, direction and advice gracefully and make it work for them when doing their job. Fourthly, a great employee can be trusted. They don?t spread office gossip and they don?t dish company dirt. Likewise, they always tell the truth to their employer, even if it lands them in hot water. The fifth sign of greatness in employees is linked to the fourth ? a great employee always guards the confidential nature of their business dealings and protects everyone?s privacy. The sixth thing that makes an employee great is that they participate in the day to day life of the office. They don?t bow out of meetings or skip the office birthday celebrations. These things may not be a fun part of working life, and everyone involved knows that everyone else has some place they would rather be ? but a great employee wouldn?t be any place else. In seventh place comes the fact that a great employee gets along with other employees. Every office has one person that is in everyone else?s business and talks to loud on the phone and generally stirs things up and gets under everyone?s skin. This kind of employee zaps office morale ? a great employee is a good co-worker to everyone. The eighth thing a great employee has is good working skills. It may sound obvious, but a great employee has the abilities needed to do their job, and they constantly seek ways to improve, like going to training seminars or seeking further education. Great workers have great skills. The ninth thing that leads to employee greatness is tact and decorum. If there is a problem in the office, a great employee doesn?t make a scene in front of everyone else. A great employee will deal with such issues with privacy and diplomacy. Further, a great employee doesn?t tell tasteless, political or religious jokes, nor do they send emails that tell these kinds of jokes. Last but not least, a great employee has a great attitude. Bad attitudes bring everyone down. A great employee helps make work great for everyone else by having a good spirit about their job.