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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.
Definition of copyright infringement Protect Yourself: Know the Definition of Copyright Infringement As you?re creating something, you may wonder what copyright infringement actually is. It?s necessary, if you?re creating a work ? albeit written, musical, videos, software or some other form ? that you know the definition of copyright infringement. This issue is very complicated, and not very easily spelled out in plain English, so please make sure that if you?re ever unsure to contact a copyright lawyer immediately to ensure you?re using copyrights in a legal method appropriate to the medium. As I mentioned earlier, a definition of copyright infringement is difficult, at best. Copyright infringement is defined by the jurisdiction ? the United States of America has different copyright laws than the United Kingdom, or Australia, or Russia, or even China. Because of this fact, you should first, before anything else, check the laws in your jurisdiction (country, city & province) before using something that isn?t in the public domain. For our definition of copyright infringement, the public domain is a place where works are that aren?t copyright-able. Works that aren?t copyright-able include ideas, works that aren?t eligible (150 years-old documents, or older ? think Beethoven and Frankenstein), data that isn?t categorized in a creative way (this could be a database, such as a phone book or other publicly-accessible data), or items that the owners have specified creative commons copyrights. As you can see, copyright law is rather complicated. Wikipedia.org gives us the definition of copyright infringement as: ?Copyright infringement (or copyright violation) is the unauthorized use of material that is protected by intellectual property rights law particularly the copyright in a manner that violates one of the original copyright owner's exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted work, or to make derivative works that build upon it. The slang term bootleg (derived from the use of the shank of a boot for the purposes of smuggling) is often used to describe illicitly copied material.? Our definition of copyright infringement includes the works of creative commons. Creative commons is an organization that allows for the copyright author to determine the uses available for people who want to use their works ? for such items as for audio, images, video, text, educational materials, and software. It allows for the copyright owner to allow people to use their works for non-commercial, commercial, no derivatives, share alike, or just by giving attribution. Creative Commons is a license granted by the copyright holder, and can be used in both online (electronic internet) works and offline works. There are many places you can go to get a definition of copyright infringement. The most reliable definition of copyright infringement would be from your local copyright lawyer ? they will know exactly what in your jurisdiction is legal or not, and how you can use other peoples? works or protect your own. The real definition of copyright infringement comes from your jurisdictions statutes. In the United States of America, our jurisdiction?s copyright laws are contained in Title 17 of the United States Code, §501 - §513. You can also find a definition of copyright infringement through such organizations such as the European Union or World Trade Organizations. While s legal country or organizational definition of copyright infringement is hard for the layperson to understand, a copyright lawyer will help you to figure out what it is that your work needs to be protected against copyright infringement, or to protect yourself if you intend to use the work of another writer, director, or musician.
Bring These Important Tips to the Table in a Telecommuting Argument Are you tired of the sound of the alarm clock every morning? Are you equally tired of trying to figure out what to wear every day (ladies) and fighting the rush hour traffic to get to the office in time? How about spending almost your entire paycheck on gas to put in your car to get you to work? There is a way around all of this of course ? telecommuting. When you telecommute to work, you can catch a little bit of extra shut eye and head to work in your pajamas, without even getting in the shower. But aside from the convenience factor, there can be a lot of other good reasons why telecommuting makes sense. If you can put together a convincing enough argument for your employer, you may find yourself going to work in your bedroom slippers before you know it. The first thing you have to keep in mind about your telecommuting argument is that you have to make sure you have plenty of evidence that telecommuting will be beneficial to your employer, not just you. Sure, you would love to be able to see the kids off to school in the morning and take your coffee break in front of your favorite soap operas, but your boss doesn?t care about all of that. Though you don?t have to hide the fact that telecommuting will obviously have its privileges for you from your boss, remember to include plenty of ammunition for benefits to the company as well. What can you bring to the table in terms of telecommuting advantages for your boss? Point your boss to a growing amount of research on the internet that shows that big companies have seen big increases in productivity when they started letting people telecommute and work from the comfort of their homes. Everyone knows that a rested and stress free employee is a productive one, and offices can be filled with more distractions than your home (gossiping employees, phones always ringing). Some companies have seen increases in productivity of over 50%, something that is sure to get your boss?s attention. You can also point out to your boss that absenteeism takes a nosedive when people telecommute. No need to take a fake sick day to get out of going to office when you work from home, and even when people are under the weather, when the office is in the next room, they still tend to get a few things done on a day that would have been a total write off otherwise. Another selling point for your boss may be that everyone else is already doing it. More than half of the companies in the US have employees that telecommute, with great results. Your boss won?t want to let the company fall behind ? and your boss will know that offering what other companies have is important for employee retention. Make sure your boss knows that what you are asking for is not out of the ordinary in any way. Beyond the selling points for your boss, you can be specific about a few benefits to you. Bosses know that gas is major issue for employees ? telecommuting is a way they can let you cut back on that big expense, without feeling under pressure to respond with wage hikes. If you have customers that live near your house, let your boss know it will be easier to meet them face-to-face if you work from home. Last but not least, let your boss know that you believe you can deliver more to the company from the comfort of your home - more work for the same pay is always music to an employer?s ears.
Yes, There Really is a Freebie Santa Claus If you are a cynic when it comes to offers of free stuff, you are not alone. Everyone has had notions like ?there is no such thing as a free lunch? and ?if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is? drilled into their heads, and for good reason ? these things often hold water. On the flip side, there ARE actually lots of places you can score some decent free stuff, if you know where to look and are willing to devote some time to hunting them down. The key to getting the best free stuff with the least amount of hassle is to stick with that healthy cynicism but to also dipping your toe in the freebie pool little by little. But why would anyone give stuff away for free? It is certainly an obvious question, but if you stop to consider it for a moment, you can see that companies actually have a lot of motivation to give away free stuff. After all, if they give you something for free, you are bound to have a little soft spot for their company, and when you are ready to part with some cash, their product may near the top of your list. Also, by giving away free things, companies can convince people to try new products. You might not want to try a new kind of shampoo if you have to pay for it, but you?d certainly be willing to give a free sample a try. You may end up loving it and switching to that shampoo for good, turning you into a paying customer. Another reason a company might give you free stuff is to complete market research. This is where getting free things can get a little complicated for some people because the products may not cost you money, but the offer may cost you a little time. A company might ask you to take a survey of your buying habits before they give you a free offer, or they may ask you to provide feedback on a regular basis as you try their product for free. Some people balk at the time commitment required here, but for other people, filling out some paperwork is a small price to pay for some free stuff. Of course, to convert you into a customer or to communicate with you about market research, a company will have to contact you, which is complicated area number two for freebie lovers. You will almost always be forced to hand over your email address in order to cash in on a free offer, and that is a recipe for opening your inbox up to a barrage of spam (many companies sell your email address to offset the costs of their free promotions, which means the number of people soliciting you can go through the roof very quickly). If you want to avoid this downside of freebie hunting, set up a special email address specifically for your freebie deals. That way all of your spam goes to this one address and your regular email you use with family and friends remains free and clear. One final note of caution about free stuff online: a lot of scammers have hit on the idea of using pretend freebie offers to solicit personal information about people or to convince people to send them money. Don?t send money, even for postage, to a company you don?t know and never, ever give out personal information online. No reputable company is going to ask for your social security number or bank account details for a freebie offer, so don?t hand them out to anyone. When in doubt, skip it and move to the next freebie.