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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.
Writing on the Fly (freelance writing jobs) Writing is a fascinating way to explore the world. You can write in your free time about anything you wish to know more about. You may write fiction in order to delve into abstract topics of your world. You may also choose to write poetry to take that concept further. Non-fiction writing will help you understand more objective topics in order to have a clearer picture of the natural and created world. Writing is enjoyable and aids in learning, so what if you could enjoy yourself and get paid for it? This is not to suggest that you quit your job and become a writer, though you could do that as well. The possibilities in freelance writing jobs can give you the flexibility you need to write for money in your spare time. Defining Freelance Writing Freelance writing is writing that happens for an employer without any long term contract. Freelance writing jobs are very different from your typical day job because the trade off for labor and pay does not function in the same way. Freelance jobs are accepted one at a time. There are many different employers that seek out freelance workers. The writer will have the ability to produce a quality product in a desirable amount of time. The employer usually pays based on production rather than hours or weeks. Freelance paychecks come in irregularly, based on the work available. The great benefit to being able to freelance is that you basically get to work for yourself. You can work as much or as little as you wish, only being limited by the freelance writing jobs being offered. As you continue to write, your qualifications will continue to be more impressive. Where are the Jobs? So, maybe you?re interested in finding some freelance writing jobs. The potential to work on your own time, doing something you enjoy and getting paid for it is an appealing one. Where do the jobs exist? There are a few places that you can start looking. A great place to start, to find out what the job market looks like, is the internet. Many employers advertise freelance positions online. They are looking for people all over the country, and potentially all over the world that can work from a distance. Another great benefit to freelance work is that it can happen anywhere. No matter where the hiring company is, the freelance writer can participate in the production of the needed product. Magazines and newspapers both hire freelance writers. In order to find those jobs, it is often appropriate to query the publication in question. First you need to find out about submission guidelines and then send in an article idea. If it is accepted, you are on your way to even more freelance writing jobs. What Does It Take to Be Good? What it takes to be a good writer is not in question. You all know about grammar, style, voice and coherency. What does it take to be successful in the freelance writing category though? There are a few things to consider. First, you will need to be able to be flexible. You may not always be able to write on subjects that you are necessarily interested in. In order to build your resume though, and be able to pick and choose your work, you will have to start out doing whatever needs to be done. Second, to be a great freelance writer, you need to be able to work quickly without sacrificing quality. Oftentimes freelance assignments will go out last minute. You will have a better chance of success if you can honestly take assignments and get them turned in again by deadlines. Finally, a good freelance writer is able to market his talents. The most effective way to prove your writing talents is to introduce yourself in your resume and cover letter in a way that impresses prospective employers. No one will believe you are a writer if you cannot write an engaging cover letter. Freelance writing is a fun way to add a little income to your current pay. It is possible to make a career out of freelancing, but it is not for everyone. If you are interested in writing and want to try your hand at a few different kinds of projects, consider freelancing for awhile.
Ways to Quit your Job Yet Still Maintain Positive Ties Just as there are ways to get jobs, there are also ways to leave jobs--especially one where you have cultivated relationships. Moving on to a new position does not mean that you have to leave on bad terms. Get the job you want without leaving your current job on bad terms. Choosing to leave one job for another one is a decision that is often unavoidable. In order to progress in life, changing jobs may be necessary. Whether it is increased pay, more room for advancement or a better work environment, changing jobs is a natural part of life. While some employees leave jobs because they are unhappy, other employees leave because they simply need or want a new job. These employees may have great working relationships with their employees and co-workers. They may even have good personal relationships with these people. Extenuating circumstances like friendships can make it difficult to move from one job to another. However, this necessary move can be made without destroying ties that are important to you. Being professional and careful when leaving your job can make leaving much easier. First of all, do not tell anyone you are planning one leaving. No matter how close you are to your co-workers, keep your intentions quiet. Arrange interviews during times that do not conflict with your current job. You do not want to miss work for an interview. Remember your current employer is an excellent reference for you. Maintain your good reputation at your current job. Continue to do a good job and care about your particular position. Using the company phones, e-mail or fax machine to contact your new potential employer is not appropriate. Use your own devices to contact the interviewer. Until you have the new job, things should be business as usual on your current job. Also, never give your notice at your current job until you are sure that you have the other job. Having to retract a two-week notice because you prematurely gave it is a sure way to cause friction. Once your new job is secure and you have given your tow week notice, continue to be a good employee. Be on time for work and complete your projects. Remember, no matter what your new job is, you have obligations to your current job. Write out your notice. Compose a nice letter thanking your boss and co-workers and provide two or more weeks notice. By giving a written and dated letter no one will be able to dispute the length of your notice. Also, you will be providing a professional and considerate notice. Allow your co-workers and bosses to say goodbye to you. If they want to take you out for a drink on your last day, oblige them. Enjoy celebrating an end of an era. You may keep in contact afterwards but you probably won?t be working together again. Let them know that you realize this and that you leaving is not personal. Sometimes, no matter what you do, some people are not going to be okay with you leaving a job. There will always be someone who thinks that you getting another job is not a good idea for you. This is especially true for co-workers or bosses who you have a relationship with. Some of that is probably coming for the fact that they will miss you being around the office. Others can be envious of your boldness. It takes a lot to leave a comfy work environment for a challenging job. There is no way to please everyone. In these cases, just remain positive and ignore any backlash you may face.
Make Allies in the Workplace to Boost your Own Employee Status A pleasant work environment can go a long way. Having allies in the workplace that work with you, opposed to against you, can create an enjoyable calm at your place of employment. While everyone is not going to be best friends in the workplace, the ability to get along is very important. This can be more challenging with some people than others. However, typically when there is a real bad apple in the mix, they tend to weed themselves out with complete alienation. With that in mind, make allies with as many of your co-workers as you can. A healthy work environment makes the actual work go much smoother. If you want to gain allies at work treat everyone with respect. Employees that are known for their fairness and respect for others are the ones that people trust. If something goes wrong on the job, the boss and other employees know that they can get the right version of the situation from the employee that is kind to everyone. You do not have to like people to be kind to them. Co-workers that you do not like personally should be the ones that you greet and discuss work issues with. Other than that, you want to steer clear of your least favorites. The same is true for bosses that are on your least liked list. Simply limit contact to business material and you will cut down on the chances of having altercations. Nothing ignites work hostility more than employees that do not do their share of the work. If you want to have allies in the workplace, be sure that you are doing your job. You will not have to force the issue if you are doing what you are supposed to do. Your co-workers will like having you around and will be pleasant if you are completing the work you need to do. Don?t gossip. This is one of the major ways to create dislike in the workplace. Spreading rumors, or even truths that were confessed behind closed doors can keep the office on edge. If you are the confidant of someone at work, do not take the information they have shared with you and share it with others. If co-workers come to you and bicker about one another, do not chime in. If they are complaining to you about someone, they are complaining about you to someone else. Politely listen and move on. Remember your manners. Sometimes things get hectic at work and we forget our manners. We find ourselves in a hurry, throwing reports at the secretary or interrupting someone?s phone conversation. Try to compose yourself and be polite. Do not forget your manners simply because you are at work. Put forth extra effort to get along with your co-workers that are not easy to get along with. Personalities are going to be in conflict occasionally. There is nothing wrong with being opposed to someone and their views of the world. However, if they are your co-worker or boss, you need to not let that get in the way of you communicating with them. Allies do not have to necessarily be friends. Instead they should be people that are aligned with you because of the job you do and the way that you treat people. Employees that are able to form alliances at work will have a much easier time getting through the day. Also, if something happens on the job and you need help, co-workers will be much more willing to help out if you are someone who is well liked. With that in mind, it is worth your effort to try to gain allies at work.