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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.
Filling Out Surveys Could Equal Free Stuff! Did you know that you could get great freebies simply by filling out surveys? It's true?while you may not be able to get rich off of filling out surveys, you will certainly be able to get your fill of great freebies. Here are some tips for filling out freebies so you too can get great free stuff. One of the Web's Best Sites for Filling Out Surveys for Free Stuff There are many fine websites that offer freebies. One of the best websites for finding free stuff is known as MyPoints BonusMail. This website operates as a shopper's reward program. It is fast, easy and totally free to join MyPoints BonusMail. What can this shopping rewards program do for you? It is easy, and did we mention free? All you have to do is to fill out the registration form. After signing up with MyPoints BonusMail, you will begin to receive offers in your email inbox. You set your own personal preferences when you sign up about the number of emails you wish to receive on a weekly basis. In order to complete the registration process, you will be asked to take a short survey about your shopping preferences and general interests. You will only receive emails in your in box regarding the preferences you have indicated. The programs works through point accumulation. When you have accumulated a certain number of points, you will qualify for gift cards to some of your favorite retail centers and merchants, including big names like Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart and many others. How do you accumulate points? You get points by making purchases directly through the MyPoints website. You also accumulate points by reading emails and clicking on the promotional links. Finally, you can also gain points by filling out surveys. MyPoints BonusMail is a long-established website that has helped shoppers get something back every time that they make a purchase. Finding the Best in Freebie Surveys Why does filling out surveys often result in free stuff? Filling out surveys is an easy, efficient and relatively accurate way for companies to find out what is on the mind of the general consuming public. Many companies will often offer free samples or products to consumers who are willing to take the time to fill out a full survey. Thus, filling out surveys can be a great way for companies to get some relatively cheap market research done. Don't expect to get rich off filling out surveys, but do expect some kind of compensation, even if it is only a free sample of a popular product. Freebie Sites Are Often a Good Place to Find Freebie Surveys There are many well-regarded websites that specialize in web freebies. If you already have a good spate of freebie websites bookmarked, these sites are wonderful resources for finding legitimate freebie surveys. Many of these sites offer a compendium of the latest surveys and companies offering freebies and product samples. Word to the Wise ? Be Wary if It Seems Too Good to Be True If it seems to good to be true, it probably is. This is the rule in life, and it rings true when it comes to the practice of filling out surveys for freebies. Here are some short and easy guidelines for avoiding non-legit surveys. Never fill out a survey that requires you to divulge too much information. You should especially avoid surveys that ask for personal contact information, as the survey may be just a front to gain sales contact information. Is that free sample of detergent really worth getting on telemarketers to-call lists? Be careful to whom you hand over your information.
Clean Up your Digital Profile and Land that Job Whether you are looking for a job after getting fired or you are looking for a job other than the one you are working at currently, many steps in that process are the same. You need to get your résumé up to date and conform to newest standards, you need to get your wardrobe together and most of all you need to be prepared to go for the interview. But did you know that in a fast paced society with all the high technology gadgets, employers and companies appreciate a good digital profile? When it is time to land a new job it is time for you to clean up your digital profile. For those of you who might not know what a digital profile is, let?s reminisce about digital profiles for just a second here. A digital profile is any and all information about you that can be found online. It can be anything from your own homepage, over articles and answers that you have posted on the Internet to videos and pictures of you. Anything that is somehow connected to you and your name and can be found through Internet search engines such as Google, Yahoo and other crawlers belongs to your digital profile or e-portfolio. Believe it or not, many employers have started to check out your digital profile online by doing a little research on the Internet and finding any information about you. If it is on the Internet it is public information and therefore not illegal. Information on the Internet does not necessarily have to be positive. What if one of your friends posted some stories or pictures/movies about you on the Internet? Employers might see that and think that you are not fir for the tasks that are asked form you by the new job and might just plain throw your nice résumé into the trash before they ever have a chance to meet you in person. Therefore before going onto your next job-hunt, clean up your digital profile. Steps you can take to clean up your e-profile are many and one of the easiest ones is a regular search with different Internet search engines about things that are related to your name. See what comes up and try to clean it up. If there are pictures or movies posted on such pages as u-tube about you, try to get friends or the owners of the page to take them down or at least take your name of the page in such a way that a search engine cannot find this information when somebody is searching for your name. A very important positive step in cleaning up your digital profile is to create your own positive statements and information on the Internet, such as online résumé, Personal web pages or a personal development plan (PDP). If the amount of positive information, academic achievements, and plans for the future are greater than any negative amount of information they can find, the light shed on you is of good nature and your chances are greater to land that job than when they only find negative information for the reasons that you never knew about a digital profile. Should you still be new to all of this and you are not quite as well versed on the Internet, there are places that can help you. Many Universities and development centers offer help and tools just for this kind of situation. Public libraries also offer you free time on the Internet as well as other resources in connection with the job-hunt and digital profiles. So before you actually send out your résumé, make sure that you checked online for any information that might harm you.
Why Time Management Makes for a Better Employee Time management is a major issue in the workplace. When time is not utilized efficiently, it leads to sloppy work, missed deadlines, and way too much stress. Employers are constantly seeking ways to teach their employees to manage their time better for a simple reason ? a team that manages its time well is a team that is productive and successful. Everyone has done it. You?ve know that there is a big deadline approaching for weeks on end, and you kept telling yourself that have plenty of time. Then, suddenly, it is the day before the project is due, and you haven?t even begun it. You know you will have to pull an all-nighter, and even then you will be lucky to get everything done in time. Your heart is racing, your head is pounding, and you?re cursing your procrastination yet again, thinking about how much time you wasted surfing the next when you could have been doing a little work on the project every day, so it wouldn?t be so overwhelming. The end result of a project like this is predictable. You may get it in on time, or at least close to the deadline, but your work is likely to be sloppy. The rush job you did will be evident to everyone, and if your project involved making a pitch to a potential customer, your time management failure may end up costing your company big money (and costing you a job). As if you were not stressed enough already! If you contrast that performance with one in which you had effectively managed your time, the difference is clear. If you have worked on the project over the entire time span you had to finish it, a little bit at a time, then you would have had time to make sure your work was up to par. You wouldn?t have been scrambling for last minute information to include, and you could have made sure your work was free from little errors like typos or pages that printed incorrectly. Most importantly, you wouldn?t feel like you needed a week long vacation when the project was over, because your stress level never would have hit the roof. So, how do you become a happier and more effective employee by managing your time better? The first thing you can do to become an effective time manage is simple ? write yourself a to-do list everyday. Not only does a to-do list help you think through exactly what you need to accomplish so you don?t forget anything in the rush, but it also helps you feel accountable for everything that needs to get done. If you write ?spend 30 minutes on the big project? on your to-do list, it is a lot harder to come up with excuses why you can put it off for another day. Your conscience will make you want to get through everything on that list. If it seems like you never have enough time in the day, keep a journal of all of your activities. If you spend 20 minutes chatting by the coffee pot, write it down. After a week, look back over your activities. You may be surprised how much time you actually spend doing nothing. Now that you know, you can reinvest that time more wisely. The last thing is the hardest thing ? getting over procrastination. This one is sheer willpower. When those voices in your head start arguing over whether to work on something now or put it off until later, listen to the work now voice. Give yourself manageable goals, like working on something for 15 minutes or 30 minutes, to get started. Once you experience the freedom from stress that time management brings, that procrastination voice will be a thing of the past.