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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.
Beautiful Pens are Just the Beginning: Fascinating Gifts for Writers (gifts for writers) Buying gifts is a difficult project in many cases. Sometimes a person seems to already have everything. They may not enjoy the typical gift ideas that come to your mind. To buy the perfect gift, it is essential to actually know a person. A basic understanding of likes and dislikes will help, but passions will guide you to a really great gift. If you cannot come to a conclusion for what to buy for a friend, you can also consult other sources for gift ideas. Following are some ideas for buying gifts for writers. Writers are passionate people. They are passionate about words and about truth. They are also passionate about their subject matter. Is there a writer in your life? By using these guidelines, along with your knowledge about that person, you can come up with an ideal gift that they will treasure. Under Twenty Dollars As suggested by the title, a beautiful pen is almost always an inexpensive and appropriate gift for a writer. Most writers spend much of their time jotting down thoughts and ideas. As they meander through their day, an idea may strike at any time. Give them a quality instrument to facilitate great thoughts. You can also include a personalized pad of paper to hold on to the brainstorms. Another great gift for a writer is a magazine subscription. A good writer needs to keep up with the type of writing that is being published. Sometimes they need a little bit of light reading to keep their creative juices flowing. Choose the magazine based on some interest that you and your friend share. Under One Hundred Dollars If you want to spend a little bit more on gifts for writers, you can start taking your gift buying to a little bit different level. For less than one hundred dollars your options open up. Books are great gifts for writers. You can buy new books in the writer?s area of interest or expertise. He will probably always be ready to expand his own knowledge base. You can also buy reference books. Style manuals are very helpful when a writer has strict guidelines to follow. Your writing friend probably already has a pretty good dictionary, but you can buy them the best one. Thesauruses and literary guides are also interesting gifts to receive. Moving away from words for a bit, a writer would also love to receive an artifact that has to do with their main subject matter. If he is a history buff, try to find an authentic coin from the particular piece of history he finds most fascinating. Under Five Hundred Dollars At the next level of gift buying, your options start expanding into more elaborate forms of previous gifts. Very old and rare books may fall into this price range. Very old or particularly good quality antiques will also be fairly expensive. Gifts for writers also often fall into the category of electronics. Good printers make the writing all that more impressive looking on the page. Software and other hardware for the computer is also a worthwhile gift for a writer that spends most of his day sitting at his computer. A nice digital camera is also a fantastic gift for a writer that wants to remember situations exactly in order to adequately describe them later. Won?t Cost you A Dime Some of the best gifts for writers won?t cost you anything. Many of the more expensive gifts are extremely practical, but the free ones can be that also. The nature of a writing career leads writers to spend a lot of time alone. A good gift is just some company. Take your friend out for dinner with a group of mutual friends. He?ll appreciate the time away from the desk. If he?s been trying to get an interview with someone, you can put the leg work in for him and schedule it. All that will cost you is some time and effort. Not all gifts have to cost money. Good luck finding the perfect one for the writer in your life.
Business writing: What it is and Tips to Help You (business writing) Business writing is much more precise and less detail oriented than other styles of writing. In writing for a business there are a few elements you must know. Your knowledge or lack there of these elements can make or break your business writing career. Your goal for business writing is to strive for clarity and precision, yet not be too vague or elaborate. Examples of business writing would be emails, business plans, brochures, and many more. Virtually anything writings that pertain to a business are classified as business writing. When people read business writings they are not only looking for what happened and why, but how you are handling the situation at hand. A person reading a business writing that has an organized and concise style with an active tone is going to heed a much better result and give confidence that any matters will be taken care of. Organize your thoughts. The more organized you are the quicker and easier it will be for you to put your words in a decisive and orderly style. Your writing should be grammatically correct along with the proper usage of capitalization and punctuation. These errors can cause misinterpretations amongst the readers of your business writings. An example of correct and incorrect punctuations would be ?We are missing the actress Jane.? Or ?We are missing the actress, Jane.? While both are correct, they mean two entirely different things. Business writing is backwards or upside down from other writings. You start with the ending and then give a brief synopsis on how you got to that point. You may include other avenues that were considered and why they were not chosen. Have a positive attitude. Even if you are conveying a message that has on outcome other than optimal a positive tone will bring a much better response. Tell your readers what good came about from the outcome. Tell them what you can do with these results. For example a non-profit agency held a fundraiser. They were hoping to bring in $25,000 for building repairs and play ground equipment. Unfortunately, they only got $15,000. Positive tone writing would be ?Our fundraiser was successful. We can now begin building repairs.? Or ?The new playground equipment will be delivered tomorrow due to our successful fundraiser.? Even though it was not as much of a success as you would have liked, by keeping a positive attitude and showing people what can be done will promote a positive attitude in the future. A negative tone might be something like ?Since our fundraiser was not as successful as we had hoped, we will have to choose between playground equipment and builder repairs.? This approach could be unfavorable to future fundraisers because it seems as though you are unthankful for what you did get. Being positive shows your appreciation for the hard work or donations that you have received. Don?t play the blame game. Even if you know whose fault it is a deal fell through there is no need to start a mud-flinging contest. Surely, the person responsible is already aware of the situation and chances are so is everyone else. Down the line they are not going to remember whose fault it was, but they will remember who was naming names. This is not only very unprofessional, it is malicious and that is not how you would like to be talked about. Finally using an active voice will promote a better reception to your business writing than a passive one. An active voice shows that you are in control and are aware of how or why things are going to happen.
The Business of Self-Publishing (self publishing) Self-publishing has become a common practice for many writers. Writers? reasons for self-publishing are varied, but it is commonly known that many writers want the accolades of having published work, no matter who publishes it. The freedom and business aspects of publishing work independently are desirable to many writers. A self-published writer is one who is in control of every aspect of their published work. The term self-publishing is defined as the publishing of books and other media by the authors of those works, instead of being established by third-party publishers. The advancement of technology has caused an increase in the self-publishers world, but it still only represents a small percentage of the publishing industry in terms of sales. The proliferation of media channels and web logging has contributed to the increase in self-publishers. The business of publishing books and other media independently is one that is unique and different from any other business. The most distinguishing characteristic of self-publishing is the absence of a traditional publisher. The author of the content takes on the role of the traditional publisher. The author is given editorial control of the content, arranging for printing, marketing the material, and distributing the material to consumers and retailers. The published books may be printed on demand with no inventory, which places a large amount of financial risk for the venue on the author?s shoulders. Many self-published authors end up subsidizing their work rather than making money from it. Digital printing technology has made it possible for the self-publishing concept to become mainstream in digital photo book printing. Self-publishers are able to get individually printed photo books from firms like Apple?s iPhoto, FotoInsight, Snapfish, and Printing-1. The motives for publishing work independently are varied, and there are numerous reasons for choosing to self-publish. One common reason is that the work of the author is not of interest to the commercial publisher, and otherwise not marketable. Some other common reasons for self publishing include an author?s preference to retain complete editorial control over content. Many writers are unwilling to compromise when it comes to the editing of their work, and some prefer to have their work presented ?as is.? Writers may also be denied publication because they are unknown and don?t have a substantial resume. Self-publishing may also be an alternative for writers who have written material on a popular topic but that is only of interest in a small geographic area. Topics that address an obscure topic in which few people are interested may also be denied publication by commercial publishers. Writers of controversial works may also choose to self-publish, as many traditional publishers refuse to work with controversial writings. There are also some authors choose self-publishing because they want a larger percentage return from retail sales. Whatever the reason for self-publishing, authors should know that there is extensive work required in publishing a book alone. Publishing alone involves a long list of tasks, which include prepublication and publication. Prepublication includes editing or obtaining editing for the manuscript, proofreading, establishing yourself as a legal retail business, and obtaining an ISBN ?Cataloging in Publication? number. The publication process involves formatting the manuscript, providing front matter and back matter, and providing cover art for the front and back covers and the spine of the book. Self-publishers must also obtain printing quotes, determine how the manuscript will be delivered to the printer, and pay for printing and delivery of finished books. Self-publishing is a business that many writers prefer to avoid, but for others it may be the only way to have the work printed and available to the public.