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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.

Want a Favorite Product Free? Write the Manufacturer Are you ready to revel in all the freebies you can find? If you are a sucker for freebies, here are some easy tips for getting your hands on the best free samples out there. You will find that finding the right freebies is often as easy as picking up a pen or licking a stamp and putting it on an envelope. Should You Write Your Favorite Manufacturers to Receive Free Product Samples? Is there a special item or product that you love? Is there a shampoo you can't live without? Would you die if your favorite brand of toothpaste were discontinued? Fortunately, there are many ways to declare your allegiance to a specific brand or product, and get rewarded for it. If there is a product you simply cannot live without, go ahead and write the company. Write them a letter to let them know what a big fan you are. Companies appreciate positive customer feedback. Simply writing to your favorite company can get you on their free sample mailing list. In fact, go ahead and ask them for free samples. Most manufacturers and corporations are more than willing to oblige your request. Getting the Information You Need to Contact Your Favorite Manufacturer Where can you find the information you need in order to get free product samples? Luckily, finding this information is often quite simple. Most of the time, all you have to do is look at the back of the product label to find information. Always contact the customer service address. If no address is available or listed, call their toll-free customer service hotline. Ask the customer service rep about possible free samples. At the very least, you will probably be able to finagle a handful of valuable coupons to save money on your next buy. Getting Free Stuff From Your Favorite Manufacturers Online Did you know that there are plenty of places to get free samples and other freebies by checking online? The World Wide Web is a treasure trove of freebies. There are many websites that specialize in freebie offers. Think of these websites as the middleman to freebie paradise, as well as an easy way to save on stationary and stamps. What are some of these freebie sites? The freesite.com is a great site to find a variety of freebies, both virtual and beyond. To find the latest free stuff, turn to websites such as freeflys.com. This website's slogan is that "Cheap is good, but free is always better." Who can argue with that kind of logic. There are many other websites that can offer you a library of freebies. Here are some tips for sorting out the legitimate offers from the fake stuff. Don't Get Caught in a Freebie Scam Although there are plenty of great websites out there that offer real legitimate freebie offers, there are also many websites that prey on people seeking freebies. Here are some tips for filtering out the bad websites, and finding the best in legitimate freebie offers. First, do not accept freebies from websites that require too much personal information. Only give just enough information to get what you need. Avoid accepting freebies from websites that require you to sign up for a newsletter or email offers. These websites have been known to sell your email address to partners, thus causing your email inbox to become overwhelmed with offers and related spam. A good rule of thumb is that if you don't feel comfortable providing your personal data, you should not. Also, avoid websites that are too burdened with obtrusive pop-up or banner ads. Websites that rely too heavily on advertisements are more likely to sell your personal data.

What to Think about While Choosing a Writing Desk (writing desk) Writing desks come in many shapes and forms. The technical definition is a piece of furniture with a surface for writing, with drawers and pigeonholes for writing materials and a portable case that when opened forms a surface on which to write. A writing desk could be as complex as that definition or as simple as a desk for writing. Basically a writing desk can be anything that you want it to be. You may not need to buy a writing desk. You may be perfectly comfortable with one you already have or working on the couch or at the kitchen table. This is fine. If it is a cohesive work environment for you that is fabulous, but some writers require a more formal, dedicated area just for them. By finding the perfect writing desk, you are on the way to the start of creative that work style atmosphere that they need. Before you begin your writing desk shopping venture you must first have two things picked out. The area in which your desk is going to go and the chair you are going to use. The location of the desk is important because it will be necessary to choose a size and style. The chair is important for comfort and maybe an important factor in determine the correct height of desk needed. Once these are figured out you shopping journey is ready to begin. While shopping for a writing desk the most important feature is comfort. You need to sit at the desk for most likely for hours at a time. Having a desk at the right height is imperative to this. With the writing surface being to high or to low will not only be uncomfortable but also will more that likely make it difficult for you to concentrate and write. Having a writing desk that is not the correct height is likely to cause neck and back strain. The function and the size of your writing desk are the next factors you need to consider before you purchase one. Do you need one with a little storage or a lot? Does it need to have an adjustable surface or can it just be flat? With all the choices available assessing what you need can help narrow down the ones that will work for you. How big of a space do you have for it? These are some simple considerations that are often forgotten while buying a writing desk. It would be terrible to fall in love with a desk and bring it home just to find out that it is not going to fit. The next important thing is style. When choosing the style of the writing desk you will want it to flow with the furniture already in your home. If your home is modern or contemporary you may want to choose one of the metal and glass desk designs or perhaps one with light wood tones and metal accents are right for you. Another great writing desk available is called the secretary. The secretary is wooden desk with drawers on the bottom and a fold down writing surface. They are usually compact in size but have ample storage and often offer shelving covered by glass doors on top. Plus having a fold down writing surface, it is easy to close up when you are done and hide you space altogether. Choosing the writing desk that is right for you may not seem that important. I mean how difficult could it be to choose a surface to write on, right? But making sure comfort, storage, and style fit into your lifestyle is an important decision. This is part of creating a suitable working environment for you to produce your work.