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Evaluating your Free Offers of Stuff Getting free stuff can be a lot of fun, and for many people, the hunt for freebies is as fun as actually enjoying the free products themselves. There is a dark side to freebie offers, however. Many scam artists have come to realize that pretending to offer free things is a great way to trick people into handing over sensitive information about them than can be used in identity theft operations or even bilk them out of cold, hard cash. For that reason, it is important to make sure you know how to stay out there when you?re looking for free offers. There are some things you can do to make sure you freebie hunting only brings you good times ? these common sense rules are a great place to start. You?ve heard it a million times before ? if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The reason you have heard it so many times is that it almost holds water. Think about the reason that companies give away free things. They?re usually not doing it for charity. They want you try to their products in the hope that you will come back to them as a paying customer in the future, and they?re doing it to build good will for their company over all. They?re definitely not doing it go broke. So consider whether the freebie offers you come across make sense according to these criteria. Does it make sense that a company will give you a free bag of their new flavor of chips or a trial size jar of their new face cream? Sure it does, because if you like it, you may buy these products in the future. Does it make sense that a company will give you an all expenses paid, two-week first class trip to Bali for you and ten of your friends? Not so much. Don?t waste your time on these too good to be true freebies ? they may end up costing your big time in the long run. By the same token, the more outlandish an offer sounds, the more you have to look for the small print. Sure, maybe the hotel chain is willing to give you a free weekend in their beachfront hotel. The small print in the offer might say that you have to agree to spend 10 hours a day at a sales seminar or that the free weekend is yours after you pay for a two week stay. One particular airline ran an offer for a free coach class plane ticket from New York to London. The small print said you had to buy two, full price first class tickets on that same route before you could get the free on ? at a cost of around $8,000 per ticket. Before you jump, make sure you get all of the details. Freebie offers that actually require you to shell out some money are very tricky. Sometimes they are legitimate ? after all, if you are accustomed to paying full price first class airfare, a free coach class ticket can be a real score. But many times, when you have to pay to get something for free, that is a red flag that a scammer is at work. You should never send money, even for postage, to a company that you don?t know. Also, keep an eye on the costs for things like postage even if you do know the company name. If they?re asking for $50 postage to send you a free magazine, then you know something is up. Lastly, beware giving out too much personal information. There?s no reason a company giving away free shampoo needs your bank account details. Protect your private info and if you?re unsure, move on to the next freebie offer.

Copyright Music Infringement Copyright Music Infringement is Not Preferred Method for Music Lovers In recent years, copyright music infringement has seen an unprecedented leap in scope and scale. This is largely due to online services that allowed unchecked file sharing among their subscribers. While this abuse of copyright is not by any means limited to music, this is where the most profound effects of file sharing have been observed. Industry giants of file sharing are cropping up left and right with the demise of the pioneer for illicit file sharing, Napster. The Recording Industry Association of America (or RIAA) has made copyright music infringement their primary cause to fight. They estimate that peer-to-peer file sharing takes around 4.2 billion dollars each year worldwide from the coffers of the music industry. I really cannot blame them that is a fairly large chunk of change. The problem with their estimates however is the assumption that people would actually buy every piece of music they download or that they aren't buying the music they would have bought at any rate. While I by no means condone copyright music infringement or any other copyright infringement I do believe they are overestimating the damage to the industry that is being done by these file-sharing programs. One of the primary arguments that the RIAA is using in order to, hopefully, discourage people from not supporting their favorite groups and artists by buying their recordings, is the fact that new and struggling bands are less likely to continue making music because it will no longer be profitable. The bulk of musician's incomes are the result of royalties, which depend entirely on the sales of their albums. The RIAA is using the legal system to back them up by taking the fight to court. Recent claims made by the RIAA include one rather controversial claim that people ripping CDs they have bought and paid for does not constitute fair use because CDs are not "unusually subject to damage" and that if they do become damaged they can be replaced affordably. This assertion has raised more than a few eyebrows and is giving rise to opponents of the RIAA who claim that the lawsuits and crackdowns against those presumed guilty of copyright music infringement are actually hurting music sales and the profits of the music industry. During the height of Napster popularity (the hallmark by which all file sharing seems to be compared) CD sales were at their highest rate ever. People were exposed to music and groups they otherwise may not have heard without file sharing. As a result of enjoying the music by these groups people went out and actually bought the CDs of the music they enjoyed. It's ironic that the very lawsuits designed to stop copyright music infringement have actually managed to stifle file sharing enough that CD sales are dropping noticeably around the world. Opponents and critics also challenge that rather than being a source of copyright music infringement, peer 2 peer networks offer unprecedented exposure for new artists and their music. Another argument against the RIAA is that the real reason for the lawsuits against file sharer is because they want to keep the prices for CDs over inflated while keeping the actual royalties coming to the artists relatively low. The copyright music infringement claims made by the RIAA have become suspect. The music industry is currently working on ways where fans can legally download music. This will mean that fans have access to the music they love from their PCs and directly to their music playing devices without resorting to illegal copyright music infringement. The truth is that most people want to do the right thing and given viable alternative will elect to do so.

Ten Top Things That Make for a Great Employee If there is one thing that everyone can agree upon in the job market it is that great employees are hard to come by. Whether you are an employee yourself and you feel like you are always pulling the weight of the other people in the office or if you are a boss who is wondering how you can actually get some people on board who can do the job, you know that great employees are at a premium. But what exactly makes an employee great? These ten top things are guides to bosses looking for greatness in a new hire and for employees trying to get noticed in the workplace and be the kind of employee who has the potential to move up in the company chain. The first thing that makes an employee great is that they are always dependable. Great employees do the job they are supposed to do every time, and no one has to worry that they don?t deliver the goods. A great employee can be counted to always have their work done right, when it is supposed to be done ? it is a forgone conclusion that they will, and no one else has to spend any time worrying about it. The second thing to look for in a great employee is that they are a team player. A great employee isn?t one who is constantly looking for attention or hogs the spotlight. Instead, a great employee works with everyone else to make sure that the things that need to get done do get done, for the good of the company. The third mark of employee greatness is that they know how to take direction. Great employees know how to take criticism, direction and advice gracefully and make it work for them when doing their job. Fourthly, a great employee can be trusted. They don?t spread office gossip and they don?t dish company dirt. Likewise, they always tell the truth to their employer, even if it lands them in hot water. The fifth sign of greatness in employees is linked to the fourth ? a great employee always guards the confidential nature of their business dealings and protects everyone?s privacy. The sixth thing that makes an employee great is that they participate in the day to day life of the office. They don?t bow out of meetings or skip the office birthday celebrations. These things may not be a fun part of working life, and everyone involved knows that everyone else has some place they would rather be ? but a great employee wouldn?t be any place else. In seventh place comes the fact that a great employee gets along with other employees. Every office has one person that is in everyone else?s business and talks to loud on the phone and generally stirs things up and gets under everyone?s skin. This kind of employee zaps office morale ? a great employee is a good co-worker to everyone. The eighth thing a great employee has is good working skills. It may sound obvious, but a great employee has the abilities needed to do their job, and they constantly seek ways to improve, like going to training seminars or seeking further education. Great workers have great skills. The ninth thing that leads to employee greatness is tact and decorum. If there is a problem in the office, a great employee doesn?t make a scene in front of everyone else. A great employee will deal with such issues with privacy and diplomacy. Further, a great employee doesn?t tell tasteless, political or religious jokes, nor do they send emails that tell these kinds of jokes. Last but not least, a great employee has a great attitude. Bad attitudes bring everyone down. A great employee helps make work great for everyone else by having a good spirit about their job.

Web Hosting - Changing Web Hosts, Pitfalls and Planning At some point, nearly everyone finds it necessary to change web hosts. It may be just a migration to another server, or it may be changing web hosting companies entirely. Either way, the process is fraught with potential dangers. But there are ways to minimize the odds of problems and maximize your changes of a smooth migration. Plan, plan, plan. Make a very detailed list of everything that is on your current system. Review what is static and what changes frequently. Note any tailoring done to software and files. Be prepared to remake them if the systems aren't transferred properly or can't be restored. Keep careful track of all old and new names, IP addresses and other information needed to make the migration. Backup and Test Backup everything on your system yourself, whenever possible. Web hosting companies typically offer that as a service, but the staff and/or software are often less than par. Often backups appear to go well, but they're rarely tested by restoring to a spare server. When the time comes that they're needed, they sometimes don't work. Do a dry run, if you can. Restore the system to its new location and make any needed changes. If you have the host name and or IP address buried in files, make sure it gets changed. This is often true of databases. SQL Server on Windows, for example, picks up the host name during installation. Moving a single database, or even multiple ones, to a new server is straightforward using in-built utilities or commercial backup/restore software. But moving certain system-related information may require changing the host name stored inside the master database. Similar considerations apply to web servers and other components. Accept Some Downtime Be prepared for some downtime. Very few systems can be picked up, moved to another place, then brought online with zero downtime. Doing so is possible, in fact it's common. But in such scenarios high-powered professionals use state-of-the-art tools to make the transition seamless. Most staff at web hosting companies don't have the skills or the resources to pull it off. Prepare for Name Changes One aspect of moving to a new host can bedevil the most skilled professionals: changing domain names and or domain name/IP address combinations. When you type a URL into your browser, or click on one, that name is used because it's easier for people to remember. www.yahoo.com is a lot easier to remember than 209.131.36.158. Yet the name and or name/IP address combination can (and does) change. Still, specialized servers called DNS (Domain Name System) servers have to keep track of them. And there are a lot of them. There may be only two (rarely) or there may be a dozen or more DNS servers between your visitors' browsers/computers and your web host. Every system along the chain has to keep track of who is who. When a name/IP address changes, that pair has to be communicated to everyone along the chain, and that takes time. In the meantime, it's possible for one visitor to find you at the new place, while another will be pointing to the old one. Some amount of downtime will usually occur while everything gets back in sync. The Little Gotchas But even apart from name and IP address changes, there are a hundred little things that can, and often do, go wrong. That's not a disaster. It's just the normal hurdles that arise when changing something as complicated as a web site and the associated systems that underlie it. Gather Tools and Support Having an FTP program that you're familiar with will help facilitate the change. That will allow you to quickly move files from one place to the next to do your part to get the system ready to go or make repairs. Making the effort to get to know, and become friendly with, support staff at the new site can be a huge benefit. They may be more willing to address your problem before the dozen others they have to deal with at any given moment. Ok. On your mark. Get ready. Go.