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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.
To-Do Lists an Important Part of Being a Better Employee What makes a good employee? Take a look at how the star employee in your office operates. Chances are that they don?t run around in a constant fog of stress and pressure. Good employees are usually calm and conscientious; they seem to always get the job done with a minimum of hair pulling and frantic rushing around. Is it just genes that these people have that allow them to work like this, or are some people just better at managing stress than others? The answer is probably not. If you take a closer look at the star employee in your office, you will are likely to see that they are so stress free and productive because they are good at managing their time. And chances are they manage that time with the help of a to-do list. The to-do list is an often-overlooked part of working life. While they are the kind of thing people expect housewives to carry around with them in their purse while they run errands, many people think they can do without them in the work place. This is a big mistake. Being productive at work is all about being able to carry out your tasks in a timely manner, and being productive at work is also about managing your stress. If you are too stressed out, your work will suffer for it. You will fall behind because you won?t be able to concentrate, and you will make mistakes you might not have made if you were able to take your time with your work. So, how can a to-do list help? To-do lists can do many things for you in your busy working life. For starters, to-do lists remove the problem of having that all important phone call or meetings slip your mind. When you have a to-do list, everything that needs to be accomplished is set out there for you, so there is no more explaining to your boss why you stood up your company?s most important client. With a to-do list, you can also see the bigger picture of everything that needs to be done, so you can plan your time wisely. Working on tasks one after another as they come up is not a smart way to accomplish things at the office. Some jobs are on a tight deadline, while other jobs can stand to wait a little while. When you set everything out for yourself in a to-do list, you will be able to prioritize your tasks in order of importance, so you get the crucial work out of the way first thing, and only move on to less important jobs when you have the time to devote to them. All of this organization will make your working life less stressful. Imagine a typical day without a to-do list. You come in to the office in the morning, you work through all of the email sitting in your inbox, you make a few phone calls, chat with some co-workers in the break room, answer a few more emails, and then bam! All of the sudden, you remember that the presentation your boss needs for the big meeting is due at 2 p.m., and you haven?t even started it. Now you resort to hair pulling and frantic working. Then, you give your boss the presentation over an hour late, and it is filled with mistakes and sloppy work. Now imagine the same day with a to-do list. You get the presentation out of the way first thing, and you have time to check it. Then you can move on to less important tasks without the dark cloud of stress hanging over you. To-do list writing is time well spent if you want to succeed at work.
Editing for the Next Generation: The MySpace Form (myspace editing) The goal of a good editor is to make any piece of text appropriate for its audience and form. Books must fit into the expectations of a publishing company in order to fit the expectations of those who buy the books. Magazine articles must fit the style of the magazine including its goals and also its audience?s expectations. Content is certainly important, but voice and specific word choice are also big components of catering to an audience. A scientific magazine should not sound like the latest gossip. Likewise, a glamour magazine should be far from stiff and boring. When it comes to internet editing, even more elements are added to the typical editing criteria. Consider for a moment the different aspects of editing for the MySpace pages. Individual Pages An individual is not required to edit their pages. MySpace editing does often involve self-editing however. A page owner is writing about themselves, introducing themselves to many other people. No doubt that page owner wants to send the right message. Self-definition is very important in order to effectively communicate your intentions with others. That is where MySpace editing comes in. Here again, word choice is very important. Careful use of adjectives and other descriptive words can paint a picture for other visitors to the site. Using generic terms like ?thing? and ?a lot? will leave a person sounding boring and bland. In addition to self-representation, individual pages really should be edited for appropriate citations. That may sound tedious and so like ninth grade English class, but it is important. Quoting authors and lyricists on your page is an effective way to express your own feelings, but if the words are not your own, you cannot claim them. Plagiarism is wrong. In addition to the ethical issues, you should give credit to the people you quote for other reasons as well. Visitors to your page may really appreciate the words and lyrics that you quote. If you give credit to their author, other people can find more similar words to enjoy. Corporate Pages MySpace editing is useful for individuals, but it also opens up job opportunities. Because of the popularity of MySpace pages, advertisers have naturally started enjoying the benefits of the high traffic. The problem is that many advertisers may not be familiar with the format of MySpace nor the appropriate language to use to reach the audience that is surfing there. A qualified user can use their expertise to help corporations effectively use the pages in order to best reach the audience. A member of that audience can edit for the presentation of content so that it will be the most effective at getting the readers? attention. If you are one of these qualified users, MySpace editing could lead you to a successful career in all kinds of editing. Use your own page as a resume. If you aren?t interested in the career, you could just have some fun making the most of someone?s use of the pages. You will no doubt be well rewarded for your efforts. MySpace editing can take more than one form. The important thing to remember is that no matter what the format is for writing, correctness is important. Especially when your words are representing you, you will want to be clear and correct in your writing. Giving credit to those people you quote is the correct thing to do ethically, but it is also respectful. Finally, editing for companies without the proper know-how when it comes to internet advertising could be quite profitable. You?ll be more likely to get the job if your own page is effectively and correctly put together.
The Slam and Other Outlets for your Poetry Needs (poetry reading) Poetry is an effective display of human life and emotion. Not only are the writer?s feelings about life revealed, the reader is also taken on a journey of meaning and feeling. Poetry is an outlet for writers and readers alike. Each new poem that is written is another chapter in the entire human experience. Since people are looking for meaning within their experiences, poetry draws fans by adding that meaning. Poetry reading can be educational and enjoyable. There are many places and forms that poetry reading can take, so if you are looking for an outlet or inlet of your own, you?ll be sure to find one that will fit your needs perfectly. A Poetry Slam A poetry slam is a gathering of poetry lovers. Each person that attends brings one or several pieces of poetry to read. The poems can be individual work or work that you have come across in your poetry reading. The point is to allow everyone to enjoy poetry that they may have never heard before. As each reader places his own interpretation within his reading, everyone can enjoy the variation in style and sound and meaning that comes out of the experience. There are probably a few poetry slams scheduled in your community already. Check the library or the local college campus for more information. If poetry slams are not already being scheduled, or if they are not frequent enough for your taste, you can start your own. All it takes is a meeting place and some flyers. You?ll probably meet all kinds of people that you enjoy being with at a poetry slam. Going to Class Another place to meet other poetry lovers is in class. If there is a college or university campus near you, join a class. Poetry classes are often scheduled in the evening because of their popularity with those who are not regular students. Poetry reading happens in a couple of different kinds of classes. You can take poetry classes that focus on poetry that has been written through history. Sometimes the classes will focus on a specific group of people or time in history. As the subjects change, you can continue to take the classes and continually come across new poetry that you have not read before. You can also take poetry classes that encourage you to write your own poetry. You will then be able to read your work as well as listen to others? work. The great thing about poetry classes is that they are set up for discussion. You can discover more meanings in other people?s writing and develop your own with the help of other qualified students as well as your professor. The Impromptu If you are involved in any other kind of poetry reading, you will probably be well immersed in the different forms of poetry. Understanding a few different writers? perspectives will allow you to involve poetry in your every day life. As you talk to friends and relatives about typical situations that arise, you will be able to bring meaning to many of your conversations through poetry reading. You will probably also develop your own skills of writing and so be able to express yourself effectively when it comes to all kinds of human experiences. Hopefully, at impromptu poetry readings, you?ll be able to inform your friends and relatives as well. Poetry reading opens doors to the heart and the mind. Poetry is a deep expression of emotion and the understanding of life as well as death. Don?t hesitate to broaden your own poetic horizons by experiencing your own poetry and that of others. Try some of the outlets and inlets listed above.