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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.

Quest of Becoming a Writer (becoming a writer) Finding ones? true calling is one of the hardest things in life. There are some people who believe that they are meant to sing, or dance, or even write. Like all things, becoming a writer is a process and there are many hurdles and even steps, potential writers must take in their quest of making their writing dream come true. It has been said that the art of writing is exploration of you, your own thoughts, your own motivations, and your own goals. However, there is much more to being a writer that just learning to be a good writer. Potential writers must realize that a career writer is one that recognizes writing as a profession and craft that can be turned into a career. The first step to becoming a writer is the most obvious, which is writing. If one is going to make writing their career then they must write first. There are many who believe that writers have no excuse not to write. A writer who does not want to write may be classified as someone who doesn?t want to be a writer. However, there are many people who don?t have the time to write, and in some cases it is best for potential writers to get jobs that make use of their writing skills. Most writers believe that to become a writer you must work as a fiction writer, but there are many jobs that offer the experience needed to become a professional writer. Although the creative process may not be the same as writing fiction, by acquiring a job that uses their writing skills, potential writers will be able to write more creatively and efficiently as fiction writers. Nonfiction writing jobs include, journalism, becoming a technical writer, becoming a technical editing, science writing, marketing communications, sales writing, resume writing, freelancing, and many more. There are many writers who don?t believe that they have to write or obtain a job in writing to become a great writer, but writing is the key to becoming a writer. Another key step for potential writers is to use logic to create the vision, and to achieve the desired goal. Before writing, it is important to think about what you want to write, instead of thinking of what can be gain from writing. It is typical for many writers to site personal gain as their reason for writing, instead of financial gain. There are some who believe that you can?t put a price on pursuing a dream. Becoming a writer also requires working long, and odd hours. A creative idea may strike at any moment, and it is advisable for writers to write and to expand their ideas, no matter what time of day it may be. Potential professional writers should also become comfortable with their place as a writer, and comfortable with their own creative process. If you are going to write, it is best to find a process that works best for you, and to use that process in all of your endeavors as a writer. Writers who have a steady process and who strive to become better and to write more will eventually achieve the success they want. Potential writers should also know that writers? block is not real, and many times writers cannot write, because they are lacking something and may need to fill a need in order to return to their comfortable place of writing. Becoming a writer is not easy and many writers may run away when they see all the hard work that is required. However, there are many who pursue their dreams and who become the writers they always wanted to be. So, while it may be easy to run away, it is always more rewarding to face a challenge and come out on the other end as the victor, and for many that means becoming a writer.

The Top Virtually Bug-free Free Email Services on the Net Virtually bug-free e-mail services are available actually from several places. Many of these service providers are big names, known by many, especially Internet users. The difference between the different e-mail providers lies in several things. These differences include but are not limited to plenty storage space, effective spam filtering, a fast user-friendly interface, desktop e-mail program access and much more. Currently in the United States and the rest of the world, the best offer for free e-mail comes from Gmail. Gmail is part of the Google business enterprise (the search engine most of us know) and offers the most features and storage space for their users for free. With virtually unlimited storage capacity for e-mails, a user never has to delete any e-mails of the server and can collect all the messages. Gmail offers a simple user-friendly interface, which also includes an excellent search function that lets a user find messages instantly and precisely. Another great feature of gmail is the POP and IMAP access features. This gives the user the possibility to download the e-mail from the server with any e-mail program that the user generally would use. The program can then also automatically download the e-mails into the program ready for the user to read. Gmail is funded by displaying advertising next to the e-mails read. Next on the worldwide list would be GMX, a German provider that offers many of the features gmail offers, but with limited storage space. This program also has the POP feature and can therefore be used in conjunction with any of the common available PC e-mail programs. Right after gmail it is one of the most reliable e-mail services, but unfortunately they discontinued the English user face and only offer a German version now. Thereafter on the top free e-mail services providers is AIM Mail. It is the free web-based service from AOL. Like gmail it offers virtually unlimited online storage, excellent spam protection and a simple, easy to use interface. Unfortunately, AIM Mail lacks proper productivity, such things as labels, smart folders and message threading is not available. AIM Mail also offers a very functional POP and IMAP access. Yahoo! Mail would be the next e-mail service that should be mentioned on the list of the top virtually bug-free services on the Internet. Yahoo also offers virtually unlimited storage space for e-mails and a few other nice features, such as Short message services for texting to friends and family, instant-messaging features for the internet and up to date news feeds. What Yahoo! mail lacks is a really good spam filter. It offers a spam filter, but it is not effective enough. Also nice to have would be labeling options as well as smart folders. The Yahoo! Interface is just as easy and user-friendly as the other providers and fairly reliable. To complete the list we need to mention the following three services, Inbox.com, FastMail and Hotmail. Inbox.com offers e-mail users 5 GB of free space to store e-mail online. Despite the limited space, this service is outstanding due to its high-speed accessibility. Web access and POP access are very fast and even the search functions are faster than with most other services on the market. The drawbacks of Inbox.com are the missing IMAP access, only POP is provided and the organizing of mail is slightly unorganized due to missing smartfolder technology. FastMail on the other hand offers users only IMAP. It has many useful features and has one of the best web-based e-mail interfaces. It also generally displays fewer ads then the other services do. And lastly, Live Hotmail should be mentioned here, since most PC users that have a Windows based operating system will have heard of hotmail. This program offers 5 GB of storage for e-mails online. It has a fast search option, a solid security feature and the interface is as easy as the ones users are used to on their desktop. Even though security is great, the spam filter is not quite as effective as some of the other e-mail providers. Also missing with this provider is the POP and IMAP access as well as smartfolders and other great e-mail organizing features.

Yes, There Really is a Freebie Santa Claus If you are a cynic when it comes to offers of free stuff, you are not alone. Everyone has had notions like ?there is no such thing as a free lunch? and ?if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is? drilled into their heads, and for good reason ? these things often hold water. On the flip side, there ARE actually lots of places you can score some decent free stuff, if you know where to look and are willing to devote some time to hunting them down. The key to getting the best free stuff with the least amount of hassle is to stick with that healthy cynicism but to also dipping your toe in the freebie pool little by little. But why would anyone give stuff away for free? It is certainly an obvious question, but if you stop to consider it for a moment, you can see that companies actually have a lot of motivation to give away free stuff. After all, if they give you something for free, you are bound to have a little soft spot for their company, and when you are ready to part with some cash, their product may near the top of your list. Also, by giving away free things, companies can convince people to try new products. You might not want to try a new kind of shampoo if you have to pay for it, but you?d certainly be willing to give a free sample a try. You may end up loving it and switching to that shampoo for good, turning you into a paying customer. Another reason a company might give you free stuff is to complete market research. This is where getting free things can get a little complicated for some people because the products may not cost you money, but the offer may cost you a little time. A company might ask you to take a survey of your buying habits before they give you a free offer, or they may ask you to provide feedback on a regular basis as you try their product for free. Some people balk at the time commitment required here, but for other people, filling out some paperwork is a small price to pay for some free stuff. Of course, to convert you into a customer or to communicate with you about market research, a company will have to contact you, which is complicated area number two for freebie lovers. You will almost always be forced to hand over your email address in order to cash in on a free offer, and that is a recipe for opening your inbox up to a barrage of spam (many companies sell your email address to offset the costs of their free promotions, which means the number of people soliciting you can go through the roof very quickly). If you want to avoid this downside of freebie hunting, set up a special email address specifically for your freebie deals. That way all of your spam goes to this one address and your regular email you use with family and friends remains free and clear. One final note of caution about free stuff online: a lot of scammers have hit on the idea of using pretend freebie offers to solicit personal information about people or to convince people to send them money. Don?t send money, even for postage, to a company you don?t know and never, ever give out personal information online. No reputable company is going to ask for your social security number or bank account details for a freebie offer, so don?t hand them out to anyone. When in doubt, skip it and move to the next freebie.