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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.

Tackling those Second and Third Interviews to Land that Job If you make it to a second or third interview, you are a serious candidate for the job. The key now is to narrow down the candidates. This moment is when you will determine if you get called with a job offer or receive a notice of rejection in the mail. Arm yourself with the proper tools and make an even bigger splash on the second and third interviews than you did at the first one. The first thing to remember when you are going into a second or third interview is what you said in the first interview. The interviewer will have notes from the first interview so you need to be ready to follow up on things you said initially. This is why it is important to be honest and realistic in the first interview. If you work hard to impress the interviewer and end up lying, you may not be able to recall they lies you told in the first interview. Eliminate this from being the case by telling the truth the first time around. Be armed with questions about the position and the company in generally. Search through information online about the company and get a feel for day-to-day operations. Type in the name of the company in Wikipedia and see what comes up. Many corporations are listed in this massive Internet encyclopedia and information about the company can be found there. Find out as much as you can about the company you are interviewing with. If you are interviewing with the same person the second or third time around, ask about their experience with the company. Questions like, ?What is a typical day for you on the job?? or ?How long have you been employed with the company?? can help to build a relationship with the interviewer. It also signals that you are comfortable with the interviewer. Not to mention, who does not like to talk about themselves? This is a great way to keep the interview moving on a positive note. Have plenty of questions about the position. Show that you have researched the job and are very confident that you are going to get it. The more inquiries you have about the position the more serious and interested you will seem. By the second or third interview, you will probably meet a number of different people. Shake hands firmly and look them in the eye when talking to them. If you are given a tour of the facilities, ask questions. Do not just let your tour guide point out areas without you taking an interest in them. Although it may seem like second and third interviews should be easier, do not let your guard down. Stay on your toes and be even more prepared than you were for the first interview. As the interview process moves on you will probably be meeting with the person that will be your direct boss or the director. Interviews with these figures may be much more difficult than the first interview which was probably with a human resource person. Be aware of this fact and have answers for those tough questions like, ?What makes you the right candidate for this job?? Also be prepared for hypothetic situations that may take some spur of the moment problem solving. No matter what number interview you are on, there are some standard rules to follow. Take copies of your resume to your second and third interviews. Even though the interviewer may have a copy of your resume, you want to be armed with extras just in case there are other people in the department that would like copies. If you meet with different managers they may all ask for copies of your resume. Yes, they have copies, but they want to see if you are prepared.

Web Hosting - Bandwidth and Server Load, What's That? Two key performance metrics will impact every web site owner sooner or later: bandwidth and server load. Bandwidth is the amount of network capacity available, and the term actually covers two different aspects. 'Bandwidth' can mean the measure of network capacity for web traffic back and forth at a given time. Or, it sometimes is used to mean the amount that is allowed for some interval, such as one month. Both are important. As files are transferred, emails sent and received, and web pages accessed, network bandwidth is being used. If you want to send water through a pipe, you have to have a pipe. Those pipes can vary in size and the amount of water going through them at any time can also vary. Total monthly bandwidth is a cap that hosting companies place on sites in order to share fairly a limited resource. Companies monitor sites in order to keep one site from accidentally or deliberately consuming all the network capacity. Similar considerations apply to instantaneous bandwidth, though companies usually have such large network 'pipes' that it's much less common for heavy use by one user to be a problem. Server load is a more generic concept. It often refers, in more technical discussions, solely to CPU utilization. The CPU (central processing unit) is the component in a computer that processes instructions from programs, ordering memory to be used a certain way, moving files from one place to the next and more. Every function you perform consumes some CPU and its role is so central (hence the name) that it has come to be used as a synonym for the computer itself. People point to their case and say 'That is the CPU'. But, the computer actually has memory, disk drive(s) and several other features required in order to do its job. Server load refers, in more general circumstances, to the amount of use of each of those other components in total. Disk drives can be busy fetching files which they do in pieces, which are then assembled in memory and presented on the monitor, all controlled by instructions managed by the CPU. Memory capacity is limited. It's often the case that not all programs can use as much as they need at the same time. Special operating system routines control who gets how much, when and for how long, sharing the total 'pool' among competing processes. So, how 'loaded' the server is at any given time or over time is a matter of how heavily used any one, or all, of these components are. Why should you care? Because every web site owner will want to understand why a server becomes slow or unresponsive, and be able to optimize their use of it. When you share a server with other sites, which is extremely common, the traffic other sites receive creates load on the server that can affect your site. There's a limited amount you can do to influence that situation. But if you're aware of it, you can request the company move you to a less heavily loaded server. Or, if the other site (which you generally have no visibility to) is misbehaving, it's possible to get them moved or banned. But when you have a dedicated server, you have much more control over load issues. You can optimize your own site's HTML pages and programs, tune a database and carry out other activities that maximize throughput. Your users will see that as quicker page accesses and a more enjoyable user experience.

Pertinent Advice for Negotiating Salary Your salary is a huge factor when it comes to job satisfaction and overall quality of life. That is why negotiating salary is something that you should never overlook. While many employers like to state that starting salary as if it were etched in stone, there is usually some leeway in how much you will make. Remember, what you make is going to affect your entire life. Negotiating your salary is something that you should take very seriously. There are a few things to consider before you start throwing out figures. You don?t want to lose the job you have just gotten. First of all, leave the salary negotiating for the end of the hiring process. This is important because if you agree to a lower salary earlier on in the hiring process, you will be locked into that salary. Also, as the hiring process goes on and you become more of an employee, opposed to an interview, your worth increases. If you have gone through several interviews and met a few different managers, you have been able to make an impression on a number of people. That means that several different people have measured your worth to the company. When salary negotiating comes around, you can ask for more money. With several different people discussing your salary there is a chance that your state price may win out. Before you begin negotiating salary, you should know how much you are worth. One of the most important aspects of job hunting is finding out how much your skills and talents are worth in the job market. Armed with this knowledge, you will be able to market yourself better and know whether or not the employer is bluffing you. If you know that the salary they are offering you is much less than other companies offering the same position are offering, start the negotiating. Employers are always looking for a bargain. They never shoot out the high end of salary numbers. Employers start out at the bottom of the salary barrel. That means you can work to boost the salary offer. Of course, you do not want to sabotage yourself by acting too cocky but do not crumble under pressure. Be savvy in your negotiating and recognize that if the company is hiring, they need you. Yes, you may need a job, but the need is mutual. They would not be going through the interview process if there were no need of your services. Also, they obviously were impressed with your credentials. Be sure that they appreciate you will a decent salary. Know when to start salary negotiation. When the employer is explaining the job description to you, if they state a salary that is lower than you would like, let that pass. Until you have been offered the position, you do not need to worry about the salary. The first thing is to get the job. Once the offer is made and you are filling out paper work, you can start the negotiating part of the deal. It is important to know when salary negotiating is not an option. There are certain jobs that offer a set salary for certain position. If you are interviewing for a job that has a stated, set salary, you do not want to negotiate. The stated salary is the one that you will be getting if you take the job. In these cases, whether or not you are willing to settle for less is the question at hand. If the salary is too low for you to handle, get out there and find an employer that appreciates your talents.