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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.
Some Info on Those ?Get Paid To? Sites Where You Can Get Free Stuff Anyone who has spent even five minutes online is aware that there are many websites that offer free stuff, and many people cash in on hundreds of dollars of free stuff every single month. But what about taking that one step further? What if you could not only get some free stuff, but also actually get paid to get free things? It sounds impossible but actually you can make a profit on getting free things online. The catch is that you have to devote a little bit of time and effort to finding these deals and completing them, but many people find that getting paid to get free things is well worth a little time investment. One of the top places to cash in for free stuff is so called ?get paid to? websites. These ?get paid to? websites usually act as clearinghouses for all kinds of internet offers that give users the chance to make some quick cash by completing some tasks. Most of the time, the tasks you have to complete on these ?get paid to? websites involve filling out some kind of survey or submitting your contact information to a company. When you visit one of these websites, you can often click through offer after offer and complete them in your own time, racking up the cash along the way. But sure, filling out surveys is a way to get paid for doing something very easy, but what about getting paid to get free stuff? These offers also appear on these websites. Most often, you will get a free meal at a local restaurant and then get paid for submitting a report about your experience there. This kind of ?mystery shopper? deal is also in place at many big chain stores, where you may be given a gift card for a small amount to go into the store, buy something and report back about your experience. Companies use these services to test their customer service in stores and figure out what they could be doing better. So, not only will you get a free meal or a free item at a store, you?ll get paid for telling the company if you were treated well by the staff ? not a bad gig if you can get it! The way to get one of the deals is to keep a close eye on the ?get paid to? websites. There are many of these websites out there, so the best way to figure out which ones are worth your time is to look for ones that have deals on offer from big name companies that you know. Most of the times, a major company will work with one website exclusively, so you getting in with the website that has the biggest number of big name companies mean you will have access to the most valuable ?get paid to? deals on offer. Is there a catch to all of this free stuff? Well, there can be, but you can mitigate the hassle to some extent. The biggest problem with free stuff online is that you have to hand over your email address to a company who is sure to both solicit you in the future and sell your email address to other companies who will also start soliciting you by email. Cut the hassle by setting up a separate email address just for these purposes, so that your primary email address does not struggle under the weight of the spam. Also, never give out your phone number ? you can use a phony one with a 555 exchange or set up an online number that you use only for freebies. Managed properly, you can really get paid to get free stuff with a minimum amount of hassle.
A Writer?s Best Friend: The Job of an Editor (editing) Are you irritated by typos and spelling errors in professional documents? Are you able to help your friends make their writing error free? You may be a good candidate for editing. The world is incredibly dependent on writers and the craft of writing. It is how people communicate with each other most often. As the internet writing forms do not require people to hold to correct grammar, spelling or professional style, most writers are losing their capabilities to complete a professional document or book without help. Writers have always needed the help of editors. Even when there was strict attention to correct writing, editors could come and catch missed errors as well as mistakes in content. Editors are still needed today. Read on to find out more about what can be involved in a life of editing. Who are the Editors? Editors are those people with the ability to read a document and guide a writer to make it the best piece of writing that it can be. Editors work in newspapers, and magazines. They also work for publishing companies and in student resource centers. Editors generally have some education that leads them to the ability to help writers. They probably have a degree in language as well as training with style manuals. What is the Job? An editing job involves taking a piece of writing and conforming it to some particular set of standards. Style manuals are often the standard used. Different publications will choose a style and then ask the editors to make all of the writing that comes out to be consistent to that style. Editing is not only concerned with objective corrections like spelling and grammar though. An editor must also read for clarity, consistency and voice. If a writer claims one thing in one point of their piece and seems to contradict that point in another part, it is the editor?s job to catch the mistake and work with the writer to fix the inconsistency. If the writer is speaking authoritatively in the beginning of a piece and then becomes apologetic later, it is the editor?s job to make the tone match. Editors help with sentence construction, word choice and content order. How to Find Editing Jobs If any of the above job description sounds interesting and even exciting to you, you just may have found your ideal job calling. Before you start looking for editing jobs, you should test your skills. There are editing tests online. Feel free to use a style manual as well as your intuition as you correct the sentences and word choice in the different test questions. If you do not pass the test, you should probably spend a little more time reading a style manual and a basic grammar guide. Once you can ace an editing test, it?s time to look for a job. Be sure to include any experience you may have had. Include any editing of any kind you have ever done. Peer editing in school is appropriate experience to mention. Also be sure to list any style you are able to edit to. Examples are AP, Chicago, MLA, and so on. If you get an interview, be prepared to take another editing test, with the help of your manual. The test will likely be timed. Editing is a rewarding career. It involves helping writers to do their very best writing geared to their particular audience. While it can be stressful because of deadlines and workload, at the end of the day you will know that you have made the world of the written word a little cleaner and much more effective. Editors are an essential part of making the written word what it is today.
Why Taking that Vacation Can Lead to a Better Workplace Do you love your vacations? Are they relaxing, fun and entertaining? There are many reasons why a vacation can enrich your life and fulfill you with joy and happiness. But many of these reasons actually can also be directly translated into reasons for why taking that vacation can lead to a better workplace for you, your boss and other employees. Vacations are as essential to a hard working employee as a parachute to a person jumping from an airplane with the goal to land safely. Many employers would love to minimize the time you are gone from your workplace because they think the more time you spend there, the more work you will accomplish. This argument is right up to a certain amount of hours and days a months or a year, but whenever your body starts to get tired and exhausted, the amount of work that you produce decreases. The quality of your work starts to decline as well. Time off work, time together with your family, time to relax, time to regenerate and time to just plain have fun are very important in an employees life. Taking a vacation has many benefits to the employee, but also to the company you work for. The more relaxed and happy your worker starts a workday or the workweek; the better will most likely be his or her performances at work. Research has shown that relaxation and regeneration are essential to human bodies. Did you know that in some companies in Europe and Asia, the emphasis on relaxation goes so far that meditation, morning sport and a short power nap belong to their required parts of a work day? The United States is actually one of the only industrialized countries that does not mandate a minimum of vacation days that the worker has to take off. In fact, in many countries in Europe, a minimum of 20 and more days is the norm. Since the late 1970s, the average middle income family works in total hours three and more months a year more then they did back then and according to a research done by Boston College, approximately 25% of Americans do not take a vacation at all. After all these facts are slowly emerging from mounts of collected date, some of the bigger American companies have actually begun to realize that off-time and vacation are essential to prevent mishaps and screwed up designs and products. If you are not taking your vacation or your employers does not allow for any vacation, a series of health hazards such as stress and high stress, sleeplessness, burnout, heart attacks and even more serious health conditions can occur. Another big factor in working too much, working overtime or never having vacation can be problems and loss of family and friends. Problems with families and friends will directly impact performance at work and even though the employee might not talk about it at work or might b e holding back his or her feelings, the mood and general behavior of the employee will have an impact ion his work and other employees. Every employee should value the vacation time given to him or her and employers should grant the time asked for to their employees. Vacation is essential to the performance at work and the quality in products the company can deliver. Following the examples that are set by many European countries, the US should give their employees the time they need and also make sure that their employees do take the time off to be a better employee overall. Vacation is fun, relaxing and regenerating.