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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.
Preparing Questions to Ask in your Upcoming Job Interview When you get ready for a job interview, chances are you have spent a lot of time trying to guess the questions you will be asked and prepare your answers to them. How will you explain that gap in your work history? What will you say when they ask you why you left your last job? In the rush to make sure that you have all of your answers perfectly prepared and ready, don?t forget to prepare a few questions of your own to ask the person who is interviewing you. Asking questions is an important part of your interview. When you get asked the old ?do you have any questions for us? one, it pays to actually be able to come back with a few questions instead of a, ?no, I don?t think so.? Asking questions will show that you are engaged in the interview and have done some thinking about the position, plus, the questions you ask will help you elicit valuable information you need when you have to decide whether or not to actually take the job, should it be offered to you. The first thing you should want to find out is why the job is open in the first place. Is the job you are applying for a new position? That means you can expect to have a lot of transitional bumps along the way as you are integrated into the company. If the job is not new, and the person before you was fired, then you can expect things to be in a state of disarray when you take over and that you will have to spend a lot of time up front cleaning up spilled milk. If the job is open because the person who had it before you moved up in the company, then you will know that this is a job with a lot of future potential. Next, find out a little bit about the person who will actually be your boss if you get the job. Sometimes, this person will be involved in the interview, but often they will not. Finding out how high up in the company chain you will be reporting will help you gauge how important the position for which you are applying is to the company. Also, it helps to know a little bit about the personality type of the boss to be. If you like to keep your head down and do your work, and your potential new boss is one of those ?wacky? types, then you may want to look elsewhere. From there, ask about the kinds of responsibilities you will need to take on board right out of the gate. When companies are hiring for a new position, they usually have a few ideas about what that person will need to start working on right away. Getting a clue about your first project will help you decide if this job is right for you. This is also a good time to ask the interviewer about their job and why they like working the company. You may find out that this really could be your dream job, or you may end up sensing from your interviewer that you should run away, fast. Last but not least, ask your interview when you should follow-up on your interview. Don?t open the door for a ?don?t call us, we?ll call you? kind of interview closing. Let the interviewer know to their face that will be making the effort to contact them again. You may get the vibe from your interviewer that the job probably will be going to someone else, so you can move on quickly, or you may end up being offered the job on the spot. Either way, you will have opened the lines of communication to take the next step.
Grocery Check ? Visit your Neighborhood Grocery Website for a Free Deal Page Are you looking for the best in grocery freebies? If so, get ready to reap the rewards of becoming a dedicated freebies hunter. It is said that there is no such thing as a free lunch, but if you are an avid freebie hunter, you will find that there is such a thing. Getting free groceries is one of the sweetest plumbs. Here are some hints and tips on how to get free groceries. Wouldn't it Be Great to Get Free Groceries? Yes! Of course, wouldn't we all want to get free groceries? Believe it or not, it is totally possible with a bit of creativity, ingenuity and planning. First, you must learn the art of creative couponing. What is creative couponing? It is exactly what it sounds like?you can use coupons to get some sweet grocery freebies. All you have to learn is how and where to use your grocery coupons. Here are some tips on using coupons to get free groceries. Watch Out for New Product Coupons New products are often heavily marketed with free or deeply discounted offers. Sign up for your grocery store's promotional newsletter or discount card program. This way, you will automatically receive discount coupons and freebie offers through the mail. Watch out for new products?these often come paired with new product coupons. You can often use new product coupons in order to match the sale price and get the time for free. You can use new product coupons to purchase food items, but they are often available for hygiene and beauty care products. Toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo and deodorant?all of these types of personal care products are constantly being revamped and marketed. Check the Clearance Aisle or Table at Your Local Grocery Store If you are an avid coupon clipper, there is a good chance that you already have a coupon stowed away for an item on the clearance aisle. Believe it or not, deeply discounted or marked down items are still eligible for coupons. Check out the clearance aisle in order to match your coupons with discounted items. There is a chance that you can get an item at a deeply discounted price, or yes, even for free. Seek Out Loss Leaders at Your Local Grocery Store What are loss leaders, and why can they be such good deals? Loss leaders are those items at your local grocery store that are currently selling at a loss. Loss leaders may vary from store to store, even when you are shopping at a chain store. Stores are often ready and willing to get rid of loss leaders. These items are often sold at a deeply discounted price. Be prepared to match these loss leaders with coupons in order to turn these products from cheap loss leaders to freebies. Don't Forget the Double Coupons Double coupons are the bread and butter of any motivated freebie hunter. Most grocery stores still honor double coupons, and some grocery stores even have promotional double coupons days. Search your store's ad circular and items for items that you can possible get for free by using double coupons. You will be amazed at how many grocery items you can get for free, or near-free, simply by taking advantage of double coupons. Don't Forget the Rebate! Rebate offers are another bread and butter strategy that you should employ if you are serious about finding free grocery items. Although you may not get an item for free right away, be patient and follow all the instructions offered by the manufacturer. After a few weeks, you should receive your rebate check in the mail. This is an easy way to make sure that you can get free grocery items.
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.