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Web Hosting - Managing Disk Space
Few things are less exciting than managing the disk space that always seems to be in too short a supply. But few things are more important to the health and well being of your site.
The most obvious aspect of managing disk space is the need to have enough. If you have only a few dozen web pages, that's not an issue. But as the amount of information (web pages, database content and more) grows, the quantity of free space goes down.
That's important for two reasons.
All permanent information on a computer is stored on hard drives. Temporary information is often stored in memory only. The two components are completely separate, though they are sometimes confused with one another. As the amount of free space on the hard drive decreases several effects occur.
Here's one way to picture them...
Imagine you had a table with a certain area and you lay out playing cards on the table. At first, you lay them out in order, the 2 at the side of the 3, then 4, and so on. But then you pick up one or two cards from the middle and discard them. Then you add some more cards. Pretty soon things look pretty random.
Now cover the cards with a big opaque sheet of paper.
You want the cards to appear in order when displayed to someone. A special robot could be designed to always pick up the cards from underneath the sheet in order. Or, it could slide a hole in the sheet over the cards to display them in the correct order (2, 3, 4, ...), no matter what order they are really in. That's similar to how the operating system always shows you information in a sensible way, even though it's actually stored randomly.
Why should you care?
Real files are stored in pieces scattered around the drive wherever there is space for them. The more free space there is, the quicker the operating system can find a place to store a new piece. That means, if you delete the junk you no longer need (and free up more space) the system actually runs quicker. It helps create space you might need, and allows the operating system to store files for you faster.
But there's a second effect.
As you delete old files or change them, the pieces get more and more scattered. It takes the 'robot' longer and longer to fetch or display the 'cards' in order. Existing files are fetched and put together 'on the fly' (say, when you request a graphical page or a list of names). But, it takes longer to put together the web page when there are more scattered pieces.
So, the other aspect of managing disk space is to keep the pieces of the files more or less in order. A utility that does that is called a 'de-fragger' or de-fragmentation program. You can request that a system administrator run it, or if you have the authority, you can run it yourself. That keeps the 'cards' in order and allows for quicker access to them.
So, managing disk space involves chiefly three things: (1) keeping enough space to store what you need to store, and also (2) keeping enough free space to make new file storage quick and (3) making old file retrieval fast by keeping things orderly.
When only a few files are involved the benefit isn't worth the effort. But as the number and size of the files grow, to thousands of files or several gigabytes of data, the effect becomes more noticeable. Keeping things organized then makes a significant difference in performance.
Much of this can be automated using utilities. Some will delete files in a certain folder older than a certain date. A de-fragger can be set to run automatically during times of light usage, or quietly in the background at all times. Discuss the options with your system administrator and help him or her do the job better by keeping your house in order. You'll benefit by having a better performing web site.
Software company patent A Software Company Patent is the Door to a World of Confusion There is no universal understanding of exactly what a software company patent is. In general, owning a patent allows a company certain rights (or exclusivity) for a prescribed amount of time. Individuals or corporations seeking a patent must apply for a patent in each and every country in which they wish to have one. Unlike copyrights, patents are not automatically granted to applicants and can take quite a while in order to be approved. Another thing to remember, particularly with a software company patent, is that a patent may issue in one or more of the countries in which you've applied but not all of them. The real problem lies in the fact that there really is no central agreement about what a software company patent actually grants among any of the nations so those who are awarded patents may not be getting exactly what they think they are getting in the process. With no universal agreement there really can't be universal enforcement about the laws and the rights surrounding a software company patent. The growth of Internet business and e-commerce in general has led to many patent applications for software, particularly software that was designed for specific business applications. The problem is that while the cases are granted and successfully tried and defended in some countries, other countries offer no enforcement or legal recourse for those who do not honor the software company patent even if the patents were granted in those countries. The fine line between nations about what is and isn't patentable is another challenge when it comes to establishing and honoring patents. In other words, the issue of a software company patent is a rather confusing process at best. Patents differ greatly from copyrights, which are issued automatically and recognized and enforced internationally. Copyrights protect the source code of software from being copied and registration is generally not required in order for your work to be protected. Lately there is a new term, copyleft, which is an obvious play on words and represents the rights to not only redistribute the works that are covered by this but also to modify and freely distribute those modifications. This term is very much in the spirit of many open source types of software and music. The catch for copyleft protection is that the newly created work be distributed in the same manner and spirit in which it was received. In other words if you were freely given the software, then you must freely provide the improvements and modifications you made to that software. Of course this is a long way from the idea of a software company patent. It is also important that you are sure you understand exactly what you are applying for as far as your patent goes. Different countries will grant patents for different things and those are closely regulated and carefully regarded when it comes to software-know what you are applying for and understand what you are being granted. A software company patent means different things to different people in different places and it nearly impossible to get other countries to honor a patent that they would not have granted at the same time they shouldn't expect other countries to honor patents based on their decision to do so either. One unfortunate circumstance surrounding patents is that there seems to be an unequal and obvious disparity between the haves and the have not's. Patent enforcement for software, unlike literature and music is largely subjective. In literature and music, it is rather obvious that the copyright has been abused or that the work has been copied, this isn't as simple with software which is one other reason that software company patent is such a hotly debated subject in the software industry.
Yes, Freebies are Real! If you tell someone that something is free, they immediately start looking for the catch. After all, the words of wisdom ?there is no such thing as a free lunch? have usually been proven true for people time and again throughout life, and so a healthy cynicism towards free stuff usually springs up with good reason. If you are one of these skeptical types, however, you may be missing out on some really great stuff. The truth is that you CAN get free things that are really and truly free, and yes, actually worth having. You just have to know where to look. OK, here is where the caveat comes in. The definition of ?free? often depends on the definition of ?cost.? As any economist can tell you, cost really doesn?t only come down to how much money you have to hand over to get something. There are additional costs, like inconvenience and time spent doing something. And true, some freebies have these ?non monetary? kinds of costs associated with them. You have to balance all of the costs with the value of the free stuff you are getting and decide if it is worth it to you. The two biggest costs associated with freebies? Time and convenience are at the top of the list. Time is a big factor in many free offers. Companies want a bit of your time in exchange for their free products. Indeed, some companies literally want hours of your time. Have you ever taken advantage of one of those ?free weekend vacation? offers in which you received free accommodation in a beach house or condo for a weekend in exchange for suffering through a long presentation and intense sales pitch? For some people, they can handle the presentation and have no qualms about refusing to buy anything and the free vacation more than makes up for it. Other people would rather pay any price to avoid having to listen to one of these spiels. So, while these weekends are freebies, for some people, they cost too much. More often, a company wants your time in a less obvious way ? they want you to spend time filling out forms. These forms may simply be your name, address and email address, or they may be very lengthy, quizzing you about buying habits and the like. The reason the companies want you to do these forms is often for market research, and they are more than happy to give you a freebie in exchange for this. Many people find the time spent filling out these forms will worth it to get a great free product. Convenience is the other cost involved with many freebies. Time and convenience go hand in hand in some cases ? after all, it may not be especially convenient to fill out form after form simply because it is time consuming, but convenience takes another hit from freebies in the form of spam email. Often, signing up for a freebie can land you on a spam email list, and for some people, getting tons of spam is so inconvenient that they would rather pay full price. The truth about all of these costs of freebies is that the freebie is in the eye of the beholder. You have to decide what you are willing to put up with in order to get a free product. Once you know the limits to your freebie costs, than you can cash in on some really great products that don?t cost you a dime. When you spend five minutes filling out a form and get rewarded with a free DVD player that you have been wanting, you will realize that there are free things out there to be had.