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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.
Big Time Experience with Small Time Publications (writing newsletter articles) When you start writing, you may have ambitions of getting your name on the front page of newspapers and on feature stories in magazines, but you will soon find out that it takes time to get there. Even the best writers have to make their way through the ranks before making it to headline status. Don’t be discouraged though. Even though you may have been rejected more times than you could have ever imagined, there are still many places that will be accepting. Even if you feel like you’ve exhausted all of your creative power, there are publications that are ready to help you develop even further. The buildup is not leading towards riches or fame, but writing newsletter articles can be a great step in that direction. The first thing that any writer should realize is that there is more to learn. Even knowing all of the grammar and all of the clarity rules will not make you a good writer. Only experience can bring you to that place. Newsletters are a great place to start getting cleaning up your writing and to start learning to write for different audiences. Who Prints Newsletters? Why are newsletters such a great place to start earning publications? There are plenty of organizations and groups that print them. The printing money and the circulation are already in place. The other great thing about writing newsletter articles is that there is almost always a high demand for newsletter writers. The pay is not great and is most often non-existent, but the newsletters must go out all the same. Hit up any organization in town that you know prints a newsletter. Some of the printing is done nationally for the larger organizations, but many will be done locally. Try volunteer and non-profit organizations as well as university and church groups. These organizations will all have news that they need to get to the public. Many of them survive based on public donations. What that means for you is that there is plenty of demand for talented and interesting writers. The Expert in Print If you have any sort of claim to expertise along with your writing skills, you will be a fantastic candidate for writing newsletter articles. One great draw for a reader is the pull of a well researched and authoritative article. Imagine the thrilled group of environmentalists when you approach them with evidence that the developmental process for non-stick pan coating is connected to the decreasing population of Asian tortoises. You’d have a job in no time. Regardless of whether or not you got paid for your work, you can expect that you’d get repeated assignments, growing experience and bylines galore for your next step of job applications. Being knowledgeable about a certain subject will give you many writing opportunities. If you have any experience in a subject area, be sure to add it to your resume. As you write newsletter articles, you’ll only add to you’re your expertise. Other Newsletter Articles If you don’t necessarily believe that you have an area of expertise that is not a problem. There are many other ways to get into writing newsletter articles. A big part of newsletter content is just content. Newsletters need to be made up of interesting and varied articles. There are usually volunteers that head up the projects and they in turn hire various writers to fill in the titles that they choose. If you can be flexible in your writing and if you can find a newsletter that works with a topic you care about, you will be well on your way to building your resume with bylines and great circulation. Writing newsletter articles will probably not be a career in itself because of the low pay scale, but it will take you closer to a lucrative writing career. Think of writing newsletter articles as a type of community service. Even after you have added paying pieces to your repertoire you may continue to write for the newsletters that you care about.
Following Up on Fallacies about Getting Free Stuff “Free stuff” – the mere whisper of the words is often enough to make many people throw common sense out the window and head for the free goods like a missile to a target. And then there are those people whose eyes glaze over when they hear those words, because they can’t believe anything worth having can actually be free. The truth about free stuff is really somewhere in the middle. Yes, you can really and truly cash in on many freebie deals for things that you want to have, but a healthy sense of cynicism about free gear is also useful. Here are some of the important things to keep in mind about free stuff. The first myth you should throw out the window is that nothing good comes for free. The fact of the matter is that the price tag on a good doesn’t always match up to the quality, and there are many great free things out there. Case in point: music. Sure, everyone has heard the scare stories about file sharing online, and maybe some big record labels will come after you if you focus on their artists. Dig a little below the surface, however, and you can find a whole new world of really great bands that are more than happy for you to listen to their music over and over again. The same goes for free software. People on the cutting edge of technology who have a passion for creating new and efficient applications often develop open source code software. They’re doing it for the love of it, and they often have more talent than any ten suit-and-tie tech guys trying to hock their latest product for a mega profit margin. Here is where the reality part comes in, however. Yes, you can find wonderful things that are completely free – but yes, you can also find a lot of free things that aren’t worth your time at all and in some cases can cause you a lot of trouble. The net is a great place to fall victim to a “free stuff” scam, but you can also sometimes come across these scams in the mail as well. If something is free, but requires you to give your credit card number or bank details, run the other way. Another myth people have about free stuff, especially free stuff on the internet, is that when you try to cash in, the only free stuff you will be getting is an inbox full of more spam than you can handle. The truth about this is, well, that is can certainly be true. Many companies give away free things in exchange for your email address, so they can try to hit you up to purchase things in the future. What makes this a myth, however, is that it can be avoided. If you don’t want to choke on an inbox of spam, and who could blame you, set up a special (free) email account that you will use exclusively for freebie hunting. You’ll have the best of both worlds. The last myth about free stuff involves the “catch” people are always looking for. Often, for free stuff, the catch is a bit of junk mail or email or the fact that you have to submit to a time consuming survey. Sometimes, the catch is that if you get free stuff through a trial offer, if you don’t cancel it, it keeps coming, and this time you have to pay. The truth about these catches is, however, that the catch is in the eye of the beholder. These things don’t make products any less free; so don’t write off every free offer offhand. You might just find a catch you can live with to get a great free product you really want.
Copyright Law Act The Copyright Law Act of 1976 The Copyright Law Act of 1976 is the basis of the United States copyright laws. The Copyright Law Act states the rights of copyright owners, the doctrine of the fair use copyright laws and it changed the term life of copyrights. Before the Copyright Law Act the law had not been revised since 1909. It was necessary that the copyright laws be revised to take into account technological strides that were being made in radio, sound recordings, motions pictures and more. The Copyright Law Act of 1976 preempted all previous laws that were on the books in the United States, including the Copyright Act of 1909. The Copyright Law Act of 1976 defines “works of authorship” to include all of the following: * Musical works * Literary works * Dramatic works * Pictorial, sculptural and graphics * Motion Pictures and Audiovisuals * Sound Recordings * Choreographic Works and Pantomimes * An eighth work which falls under “architectural works” was later added in 1990. What is unique about the United States copyright law is that it is automatic. Once someone has an idea and produces it in tangible form, the creator is the copyright holder and has the authority to enforce his exclusivity to it. In other words, the person is the owner of the creation. It is not necessary that a person register their work. However, it is recommended and it can serve as evidence if someone ever violates a copyright. It is interesting to note that when an employer hires an employee to produce a work that the copyright is given to the employer. Violations of US Copyright Law are generally enforced in a civil court setting. However, there could also be criminal sanctions brought against someone who violates US copyright law. Someone that is in serious violation of US Copyright Law such as counterfeiting can find themselves on the inside of prison looking out. People need to understand that the copyright symbol is not a requirement. Someone may have a copyright, yet their work may not have a copyright notice or symbol. US Copyright Law covers a wide range of things that are derived from artistic expression, intellectual or creative work. This includes things such as literary works, music, drawings, photographs, software, movies, choreographic works such as ballets and plays, poems, paintings and more. The law covers the form of expression, not the concept, facts or the actual idea of the work. This means that someone can use another person’s idea or concept and produce their own take on it. However, copying another person’s work is a violation. It should be noted that some things may not be copyrighted but they may be protected by a patent or trademark. Individuals who have a copyright on a particular piece of work can do with it what they will. They may choose to copy it and sell it. They may display their work or perform it in public and charge admission, or they can assign or sell the work to someone else. Individuals who have a copyright can also choose to do nothing with their work, if that is their desire. However, if someone comes along and takes the work and tries to use it in some way, that person is still in violation of the owner’s copyright. The Copyright Law Act covers published and unpublished work.