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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.
Copyright Law Act The Copyright Law Act of 1976 The Copyright Law Act of 1976 is the basis of the United States copyright laws. The Copyright Law Act states the rights of copyright owners, the doctrine of the fair use copyright laws and it changed the term life of copyrights. Before the Copyright Law Act the law had not been revised since 1909. It was necessary that the copyright laws be revised to take into account technological strides that were being made in radio, sound recordings, motions pictures and more. The Copyright Law Act of 1976 preempted all previous laws that were on the books in the United States, including the Copyright Act of 1909. The Copyright Law Act of 1976 defines ?works of authorship? to include all of the following: * Musical works * Literary works * Dramatic works * Pictorial, sculptural and graphics * Motion Pictures and Audiovisuals * Sound Recordings * Choreographic Works and Pantomimes * An eighth work which falls under ?architectural works? was later added in 1990. What is unique about the United States copyright law is that it is automatic. Once someone has an idea and produces it in tangible form, the creator is the copyright holder and has the authority to enforce his exclusivity to it. In other words, the person is the owner of the creation. It is not necessary that a person register their work. However, it is recommended and it can serve as evidence if someone ever violates a copyright. It is interesting to note that when an employer hires an employee to produce a work that the copyright is given to the employer. Violations of US Copyright Law are generally enforced in a civil court setting. However, there could also be criminal sanctions brought against someone who violates US copyright law. Someone that is in serious violation of US Copyright Law such as counterfeiting can find themselves on the inside of prison looking out. People need to understand that the copyright symbol is not a requirement. Someone may have a copyright, yet their work may not have a copyright notice or symbol. US Copyright Law covers a wide range of things that are derived from artistic expression, intellectual or creative work. This includes things such as literary works, music, drawings, photographs, software, movies, choreographic works such as ballets and plays, poems, paintings and more. The law covers the form of expression, not the concept, facts or the actual idea of the work. This means that someone can use another person?s idea or concept and produce their own take on it. However, copying another person?s work is a violation. It should be noted that some things may not be copyrighted but they may be protected by a patent or trademark. Individuals who have a copyright on a particular piece of work can do with it what they will. They may choose to copy it and sell it. They may display their work or perform it in public and charge admission, or they can assign or sell the work to someone else. Individuals who have a copyright can also choose to do nothing with their work, if that is their desire. However, if someone comes along and takes the work and tries to use it in some way, that person is still in violation of the owner?s copyright. The Copyright Law Act covers published and unpublished work.
Editing for the Next Generation: The MySpace Form (myspace editing) The goal of a good editor is to make any piece of text appropriate for its audience and form. Books must fit into the expectations of a publishing company in order to fit the expectations of those who buy the books. Magazine articles must fit the style of the magazine including its goals and also its audience?s expectations. Content is certainly important, but voice and specific word choice are also big components of catering to an audience. A scientific magazine should not sound like the latest gossip. Likewise, a glamour magazine should be far from stiff and boring. When it comes to internet editing, even more elements are added to the typical editing criteria. Consider for a moment the different aspects of editing for the MySpace pages. Individual Pages An individual is not required to edit their pages. MySpace editing does often involve self-editing however. A page owner is writing about themselves, introducing themselves to many other people. No doubt that page owner wants to send the right message. Self-definition is very important in order to effectively communicate your intentions with others. That is where MySpace editing comes in. Here again, word choice is very important. Careful use of adjectives and other descriptive words can paint a picture for other visitors to the site. Using generic terms like ?thing? and ?a lot? will leave a person sounding boring and bland. In addition to self-representation, individual pages really should be edited for appropriate citations. That may sound tedious and so like ninth grade English class, but it is important. Quoting authors and lyricists on your page is an effective way to express your own feelings, but if the words are not your own, you cannot claim them. Plagiarism is wrong. In addition to the ethical issues, you should give credit to the people you quote for other reasons as well. Visitors to your page may really appreciate the words and lyrics that you quote. If you give credit to their author, other people can find more similar words to enjoy. Corporate Pages MySpace editing is useful for individuals, but it also opens up job opportunities. Because of the popularity of MySpace pages, advertisers have naturally started enjoying the benefits of the high traffic. The problem is that many advertisers may not be familiar with the format of MySpace nor the appropriate language to use to reach the audience that is surfing there. A qualified user can use their expertise to help corporations effectively use the pages in order to best reach the audience. A member of that audience can edit for the presentation of content so that it will be the most effective at getting the readers? attention. If you are one of these qualified users, MySpace editing could lead you to a successful career in all kinds of editing. Use your own page as a resume. If you aren?t interested in the career, you could just have some fun making the most of someone?s use of the pages. You will no doubt be well rewarded for your efforts. MySpace editing can take more than one form. The important thing to remember is that no matter what the format is for writing, correctness is important. Especially when your words are representing you, you will want to be clear and correct in your writing. Giving credit to those people you quote is the correct thing to do ethically, but it is also respectful. Finally, editing for companies without the proper know-how when it comes to internet advertising could be quite profitable. You?ll be more likely to get the job if your own page is effectively and correctly put together.
To Enter or Not to Enter Writing Contests (writing contests) If you are a freelance writer, it is because you love to write. Why not put those abilities to use and enter a writing contest? You have nothing to loose and a lot to gain. You can find writing contests by simply searching the Internet. Writing groups and message boards may also have listing for these contests. No matter what you writing genre maybe poetry, fiction, non fiction, there is a contest out there for you. Read about them and choose which ones are right for you. It is not necessarily about winning or loosing but about the experience and knowledge that you gain to get there. Whether you win or not there are still valuable things that can be learned or gained by entering into contests. Entering writing contests will help you hone the skills that you have. Try something new, you may choose to write in a niche that you normally wouldn?t. You get constructive criticism from someone new. Someone that doesn?t have to worry about hurting your feelings and that is unbiased can be a wonderful asset to your career. The feedback you receive can be invaluable to you. It will get your name out there and give you a place to showcase your work. Depending on how good your story, if you make it to the next round your writings could be in front of editors and agents. This feedback and criticism is even more important than the first. Do not your eggs all in one basket. Enter a couple contests to get multiple feedback sources. Not every editor or agent is going to agree. By entering multiple contests and find common points about your writing that need perfecting you will be able to concentrate on a general consensus about your abilities. There are some downsides to entering writing contests, too. Chances are that a simple contest is not going to launch your career into star status. Do your research just as if you were going to write an article about contests. For many contests you give up your rights to your entry whether it wins or not. You need to decide whether or not you are willing to give up all rights to your story. If you win it is not a big deal, but if you loose your giving your work away. Are you willing to do this? Research the contest. You can search the Internet for reports or opinions on contests run by the company. You can find valuable information on if the contest is legitimate, if entering has had any effect of previous entrant?s careers, and if it is really worth it in the long run. The bigger and well-established companies will give credibility to your work if you win. But the bigger and more well know the companies are will also bring in tougher competition with well know authors. Some companies offer contests as a disguise. Yes they will give away prizes and declare winners but their main goal with the contest is advertising. It can be in the form of offering you to buy obscure book featuring your contest submission. Sometimes it is an editing company that offers a discount for its services or a company that will offer you discounts on writing classes. A writing contest is just a possible stepping stone. Whether it helps you or not is the unknown, but it definitely won?t hurt you. It may help you reach the next level of your career. You and only you will be able to make the decision on whether or not writing contests are a good move for your career.