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Web Hosting - Databases, What Are They and Do You Need One?
'Database' is one of the most commonly used terms that one encounters in web site design. Yet, what they really are and whether they're essential is often not clear to novices.
A database is a collection of organized data, stored in files that have a specific structure. It's that organization and structure that allows for easy and rapid storage and retrieval.
The need for a database generally only arises when you have a certain amount of information and that information needs to have some structure. If you have a half-dozen names and addresses to store, a database is usually overkill. If you have a blob of data with no relationships between any of the items in that blob, maintaining a database is usually more trouble than it's worth.
Maintain a database? Yes, like other complex systems a database, to be effective, needs to be designed properly at the outset then kept 'tuned' for good performance. The alternative is to gradually allow the database to become more and more disorganized. That leads to difficulty in use, poor speed of retrieval and more frequent failures.
With MySQL, Access or MS SQL Server, the three most common choices of database product for web sites today, setting up a database is relatively simple. Even those with limited technical skill can get one up and running just by following some simple instructions. But some thought should be given to how you want the information organized, and to maintaining the system during its lifetime.
Suppose you have a set of names, addresses, email addresses, products purchased, date purchased and amount. If you have only a few dozen records it matters very little how these pieces are arranged and related. A database usually isn't even warranted in this scenario. Once you have several thousand or more records, it matters a lot. Speed, the ease of expanding the set of attributes (like adding, say, product category), and other issues come into play.
Even those with little technical expertise, but a willingness to exert logical thought and invest some time, can build a very robust database. Think about how you would organize a set of data (called 'tables'). Should Name, Address, and Product be in the same table? Or should the personal information be stored in one table and any product information (product, price, ...) in another?
Some experimentation may be needed to get it right, but the choices have an impact on how easy the tables are to maintain. It also affects the speed with which programs can fetch old data and store the new.
Having a database also introduces new maintenance issues for the server administrator, since backups usually need to be done differently. Recovering a failed database is usually more complicated than simply re-copying files from yesterday. Ask your hosting company what tools and skills they have for dealing with any database system you consider.
It's true that introducing a database creates more complexity and the need for additional thought and administrative effort. At a certain level, professional expertise will be needed. But clearly the advantages outweigh the costs in many cases. Companies large and small eventually use databases to store and organize data. At some point, you may be fortunate enough to be one of them.
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.
Finishing a Masterpiece and Getting it on the Shelves (how to get a book published) Writing a book is a monumental task in itself. The process is long, drawn out and grueling. Even if you thoroughly enjoy writing and writing on the same subject for an extended period of time, you will no doubt be exhausted by the writing of a book. Getting that book published, however, will take even more time and effort than producing the thing in the first place. Are you thinking about writing a book? Have you already written one and now are just wondering how to get a book published? If you are, read on. Here are a few tips on how to get from the starting line to triumphantly crossing the finish line. Writing that Book When starting out writing your book, before you are ready to consider how to get a book published, you may already feel daunted. To write a successful book you need to start out with some original thought. You probably have plenty of originality, but you may have trouble getting your ideas into a coherent flow of information that will be digestible by the general public. The first step is to create a book skeleton. You need to organize your thoughts into a progression of chapters. If your book will be non-fiction, start with a table of contents. Write chapter headings and sub-headings. You will automatically know that you?ll need an introductory chapter, but you should probably leave the content of your introduction for the last step. Organize your chapters so that they build upon one another. The more headings that you can brainstorm to begin with, the easier it will be to fill in your book with a series of short articles that flow into one another. If your writing will be fiction, you will need more of a storyboard. You will need to create cause and effect as well as character sketches. To make your story coherent your characters will need events to react to. Their reactions should become predictable as your readers get into the story. You may need to create some situations for your characters just for the purpose of introducing their traits to the reader. These are very general guidelines about how to begin constructing your book. The actual process will be much more involved as you move closer to finding out how to get a book published. Even after you are finished with the bulk of the content, your goal is still a ways off into the future. Getting to Print The next step in how to get a book published is finding a publisher. There are resources at your local library that will let you know who will be the best candidate for publishing the kind of writing that you do. After a series of queries and correspondence with the potential publishers you may get an invitation to send your manuscript. Then the work begins. A publisher is very experienced in finding books that are marketable. He knows what it will take to get your book to sell. Don?t be offended when his editors tears your writing apart. If they are doing that, you can enjoy the fact that you are on the road to a published book. Expect to enter into a close relationship of compromise and change with the editor as you rework and rework what you have already so painstakingly written. When you are finished you will have a readable and clean and correct manuscript ready for print. The road to getting a book published is a long one, but well worth the effort. Trust yourself, and trust the publisher to create a beautiful masterpiece. Don?t be discouraged if several publishers are not interested in your book. You may have to just keep the first few for yourself, and then again, they may eventually get accepted. Good luck and enjoy the process.
Great Sources for Free Games on the Internet The Internet is a great source for games, especially of course computer games. Computer games are the biggest hit since they are invented and every year thousands of PC games flood the market. Some of the computer games actually are so expensive that many parents cannot afford them for their children and are looking for alternatives that their children can play. There are actually a vast number of games that are available for free through the Internet and in some cases even as a CD. Freeware, shareware, trial products and even full version of prototypes are available on the Internet. Many pages on the Internet actually specialize in offering freeware or shareware programs. Hobbyist programmers usually write shareware and freeware programs and other programmers, who want to give something back to the community. These programs are not always working one hundred percent and most often there is also no real support for all the programs, but they are free. Freeware in general is a free program that has a copyright. The program is made available free for use, but it cannot be changed or used for development by other developers. Shareware programs are often only free for certain periods of time. After that period the user has to pay for using the software. Shareware programs are a marketing method of big computer firms. It is the try before you buy strategy that is used here. Some companies will offer the full version of the program for 30 days for trial, while others offer a version of the program with reduced functions to give the user a taste and to lure the user to buy the product if he wants to use the rest of the functions. Even thougfh both freeware and shareware are often callled free software, free software is something completely different. Free osftware are programs that are available for free, but generally are also avialble for others to study the code, change and modify or even use the code as a base for their development. In any way, these three major types of free game software can be found on the Internet along with such things as online games. Some of the games can be plauyed online. Evne though the userm ight not own the software, the games can be played for free anytime. The only thing that most of those free onlin game pages require is to sign up to their page for free. For younger hcildren, many of the educational sites offer free preschool and early childhood computer games, that teach children, the shapes, colors, vocabulary, counting and much more. With parental sucpervision such activities are safe for children and can enhance the learning process. Other pages offer free games for older chidlren and adults. While many parents do not constantly check on their chidlren while they are on the itnernet, it is important to keep up to date on their youngsters Internet activites. Many pages are completely safe, but sometimes advertisement to found the free software can be dangerous for young, innocent eyes. For adults, there are even more choices in free games. There are whole communities of gamers, that are connected throughout the world for vieosgaming sessions. Anything form cardgames to wargames can be played for free in some of those communities. All one needs might be a free membership sign up to the web page or the community. All of these sources for games can be found easily by typing the words freeware, shareware, online games into any of the major search engines. But as always, do it with cuation, conisdering the many viruses and spyware programs that aare out there in cyberspace.