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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.
Get the Scoop on Some Great Informative Parenting Freebies Being a parent can be hard and especially, when it is about money. So many things in life are very expensive and children often desire what they cannot have. Therefore families of average or below income have often trouble giving their children what is in or what other children have. Therefore any opportunity to get something for free in parenting hood is a great opportunity. Whether it is free advice, free literature or even free products, it is surely something that a parent can use. Where and how to find great parenting freebies? It is actually fairly easy to find parenting freebies, especially when one has access to the cyber world. The Internet is one of the greatest resources for information, products and advice. The Internet holds freebies for any stage in life, but the most for the infancy and toddler stage, as well as some resources for the young years of life before children grow into adulthood. Many of the resources that are available on the Internet are actually sponsored by different departments of the United States government. For example, the US Department of Health offers easy reader books for young children or a free CD for parents with information on the development of teenagers during their adolescents. For parents of toddlers, the Internet holds resources for free toddler magazine subscriptions, potty training success guides and guides to prevent childhood lead exposure. Many of the major issues in toddler live can be found online with advice, frequently asked questions sections, chats and forums to help parents. For later on in life, there are plenty if resources that will help parents with such things as saving for college, preventing teen pregnancy, preventing drug and alcohol abuse in the teenage years and preventing or talking about smoking with children. All the information that is available online is often also available for parents as kits that are mailed to their houses. Online pages offer forms that parents can fill to have material sent to their home mailing address. Books, CDs, DVDs, guides, and other informative material can be downloaded or requested by parents. Many parents do not know about these resources and struggle with these exact same problems that they could have help with. Some of the offers for young children, such as free music downloads for children, often include such music as classical music and therefore might make a good download for anybody who loves classical music. Even though these pages are geared at babies and toddler, it does not mean that other people cannot use this music for themselves. Other sources on the internet offer for example free descriptions to art projects, fee coloring pages that can be printed using any printer, free read along stories online and more. There are so many activities online, that parents can do with their children, or that can be used to educate children that sometimes it might be hard to choose with what to start. The Internet also offers parents the possibility to talk tot her parents and get connected without having to attend an actual meeting or playgroup. Whenever parents need advice, they can just log on to one of the many free parenting sites and ask questions. Of course answers are given by other parents and are more their thoughts and experiences rather than professional advice, but some of the pages sometimes offer advice from experts on topics and have special chat sessions for parents with these experts. Whatever kind of informative parenting freebie or product parents are looking for, the Internet might hold the answer to their questions. It often amazes parents what they can find just by typing their questions or search keywords into one of the Internet search engines. Literally hundred of answers and pages with free help might pop up and parents might have a hard time reading it all.
Preparing Questions to Ask in your Upcoming Job Interview When you get ready for a job interview, chances are you have spent a lot of time trying to guess the questions you will be asked and prepare your answers to them. How will you explain that gap in your work history? What will you say when they ask you why you left your last job? In the rush to make sure that you have all of your answers perfectly prepared and ready, don?t forget to prepare a few questions of your own to ask the person who is interviewing you. Asking questions is an important part of your interview. When you get asked the old ?do you have any questions for us? one, it pays to actually be able to come back with a few questions instead of a, ?no, I don?t think so.? Asking questions will show that you are engaged in the interview and have done some thinking about the position, plus, the questions you ask will help you elicit valuable information you need when you have to decide whether or not to actually take the job, should it be offered to you. The first thing you should want to find out is why the job is open in the first place. Is the job you are applying for a new position? That means you can expect to have a lot of transitional bumps along the way as you are integrated into the company. If the job is not new, and the person before you was fired, then you can expect things to be in a state of disarray when you take over and that you will have to spend a lot of time up front cleaning up spilled milk. If the job is open because the person who had it before you moved up in the company, then you will know that this is a job with a lot of future potential. Next, find out a little bit about the person who will actually be your boss if you get the job. Sometimes, this person will be involved in the interview, but often they will not. Finding out how high up in the company chain you will be reporting will help you gauge how important the position for which you are applying is to the company. Also, it helps to know a little bit about the personality type of the boss to be. If you like to keep your head down and do your work, and your potential new boss is one of those ?wacky? types, then you may want to look elsewhere. From there, ask about the kinds of responsibilities you will need to take on board right out of the gate. When companies are hiring for a new position, they usually have a few ideas about what that person will need to start working on right away. Getting a clue about your first project will help you decide if this job is right for you. This is also a good time to ask the interviewer about their job and why they like working the company. You may find out that this really could be your dream job, or you may end up sensing from your interviewer that you should run away, fast. Last but not least, ask your interview when you should follow-up on your interview. Don?t open the door for a ?don?t call us, we?ll call you? kind of interview closing. Let the interviewer know to their face that will be making the effort to contact them again. You may get the vibe from your interviewer that the job probably will be going to someone else, so you can move on quickly, or you may end up being offered the job on the spot. Either way, you will have opened the lines of communication to take the next step.
From the Publisher?s Desk: How Book Publishing looks from the Other Side (book publishing) Many writers aspire to writing books. Writing a book is a long, involved, difficult process. Book publishing is harder. A writer may submit his book time and time again only to be turned down again and again. He may eventually be successful. Wouldn?t it have been easier to have just gotten published the first time? Is that possible? You can improve your chances if you understand a little bit more about what happens at the publisher?s desk. Book publishers are busy people with several projects crossing their desks every day. They must make fast decisions about what will sell. They must also delegate their time efficiently in order to keep the business running. Only occasionally do publishers actually seek out work. Maybe understanding the work day of a publisher will help you to get a book published. Persistence Has a New Meaning You all know that writers must be persistent. Regardless of how many times you get shot down and your ideas are thrown in the trash, you have to keep going back for more discouragement. The idea is that eventually you?ll make it in the door. If you can get all the way through, you will finally get to the place where more of your work is accepted than declined. When working with the book publishing world, the rule is the same. If you have a book that you know will sell, you can?t give up on getting it onto the publisher?s desk again and again. You probably won?t be sending the entire book, but excerpts from it. As you continually send your manuscript again and again to publisher after publisher, you should try to market it in different ways. Publishers are looking for a particular kind of writing and will dismiss anything that doesn?t look like what they are looking for. Variation in your marketing techniques may turn a rejected book into an accepted book. The Right Stuff Book publishing is a strange area of business. The people?s tastes are somewhat fickle and a book publisher has to keep up with what kinds of books will sell. It seems that technically written mysteries will always have a place on the bookshelves, but it is unclear how many authors readers are willing to get to know. That market may be tied up until Crichton and Grisham are finished. That is just one example from one genre of books though. Publishers have to keep track of what is selling in all areas of literature. The best way for you to get your work noticed is to make it look like the other writing that is selling. Be careful not to imitate style or voice of another author. Write with your own unique words while imitating the use of popular public opinion. Another way to improve your chances of getting your work onto the right publisher?s desk is to find out who?s publishing what. Are You Barking Up the Right Tree? Some publishers specialize in a certain kind of writing. If you are writing a novel, it won?t do you any good to send it to the people who publish technical manuals. How do you find out who is the most likely candidate to publish your work? There are reference manuals at your library that will tell you the kinds of book publishing that is happening. It will contain valuable information leading you to children?s book publishers, novel publishers and textbook publishers. If the handbook at your library is not quite up to date, your next option is to check out the new release and best seller rack at the book store. Buy a few books and read them. You?ll have a much better feel for the market if you are a consumer. Book publishing is a difficult field to break into. It can be helpful to approach the issue from the direction of the publisher. Before you send out your manuscript again, there are things you can do to improve your chances. Change your marketing style so that you just may grab some better attention. Make sure that you are a book consumer yourself. You?ll get a better feel for what?s selling and therefore what a publisher will buy. You?ll also find out who is publishing which types of books. Finally, by buying the product you are trying to sell, you will improve the book economy all together. Publishers need to see people buying books before they can commit to publishing more.