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Web Hosting - Managing Disk Space
Few things are less exciting than managing the disk space that always seems to be in too short a supply. But few things are more important to the health and well being of your site.
The most obvious aspect of managing disk space is the need to have enough. If you have only a few dozen web pages, that's not an issue. But as the amount of information (web pages, database content and more) grows, the quantity of free space goes down.
That's important for two reasons.
All permanent information on a computer is stored on hard drives. Temporary information is often stored in memory only. The two components are completely separate, though they are sometimes confused with one another. As the amount of free space on the hard drive decreases several effects occur.
Here's one way to picture them...
Imagine you had a table with a certain area and you lay out playing cards on the table. At first, you lay them out in order, the 2 at the side of the 3, then 4, and so on. But then you pick up one or two cards from the middle and discard them. Then you add some more cards. Pretty soon things look pretty random.
Now cover the cards with a big opaque sheet of paper.
You want the cards to appear in order when displayed to someone. A special robot could be designed to always pick up the cards from underneath the sheet in order. Or, it could slide a hole in the sheet over the cards to display them in the correct order (2, 3, 4, ...), no matter what order they are really in. That's similar to how the operating system always shows you information in a sensible way, even though it's actually stored randomly.
Why should you care?
Real files are stored in pieces scattered around the drive wherever there is space for them. The more free space there is, the quicker the operating system can find a place to store a new piece. That means, if you delete the junk you no longer need (and free up more space) the system actually runs quicker. It helps create space you might need, and allows the operating system to store files for you faster.
But there's a second effect.
As you delete old files or change them, the pieces get more and more scattered. It takes the 'robot' longer and longer to fetch or display the 'cards' in order. Existing files are fetched and put together 'on the fly' (say, when you request a graphical page or a list of names). But, it takes longer to put together the web page when there are more scattered pieces.
So, the other aspect of managing disk space is to keep the pieces of the files more or less in order. A utility that does that is called a 'de-fragger' or de-fragmentation program. You can request that a system administrator run it, or if you have the authority, you can run it yourself. That keeps the 'cards' in order and allows for quicker access to them.
So, managing disk space involves chiefly three things: (1) keeping enough space to store what you need to store, and also (2) keeping enough free space to make new file storage quick and (3) making old file retrieval fast by keeping things orderly.
When only a few files are involved the benefit isn't worth the effort. But as the number and size of the files grow, to thousands of files or several gigabytes of data, the effect becomes more noticeable. Keeping things organized then makes a significant difference in performance.
Much of this can be automated using utilities. Some will delete files in a certain folder older than a certain date. A de-fragger can be set to run automatically during times of light usage, or quietly in the background at all times. Discuss the options with your system administrator and help him or her do the job better by keeping your house in order. You'll benefit by having a better performing web site.
Software copyright Software Copyright Difficult to Enforce For those of you who love computer games, you probably know more about software copyright than you ever thought you'd want to know-especially if you have or have ever owned multiple computers. Most new games not only come with special copyrights but also built in security features that are designed to enforce those copyrights. Some have even gone so far as selling you the right to 'use' the material you are purchasing rather than providing you with actual ownership of the software to which they own the software copyright. That bothered me a bit at first, but I've come to understand it's another way of protecting them and their rights as well as controlling or limiting how you use the software they provide. Software copyright is actually quite confusing and hotly debated. Many stores will not accept opened software as returns because the software companies won't reimburse them for the product and they are left holding the bag. It doesn't sound like much but when you think of literally thousands of consumers attempting to return opened software because they didn't like or worse, they only needed to download and install it for it to actually run. Companies that produce computer software have become savvy to the ways of the modern consumer. Those companies that produce computer games especially require that the disk actually be in your player in order for the game to operate properly. This enforced the software copyright to the extent that two people can't reasonably share ownership of the same game, as they both need an actual disk in order to operate the games. But for every solution there is a hacker or budding programmer that creates a new problem for software makers and holders of software copyright to face. One of the latest problems is the virtual CD. The long and short of this is that the computer is tricked into 'seeing' the CD where it should be and carries out the game as though it were. Another important thing to note about software copyright is that there are many programs available that mimic some of the more notable applications for no fee. These are often referred to as open source software and often have excellent if not superior quality to similar programs that are available for fees. One thing I've noticed is that I will often find free open source software, download it, love it and a few months later I will find a more polished version of the same software, by the same company available with a few more bells and whistles for a fee. The new improved software has a software copyright and is not free to consumers but it is also a much better version than what I currently have. It's a great way for new software developers to make names for themselves and get volunteers for the testing process of their development phase. A software copyright offers protection and recognition to the owner of the software. The problem with protecting software is that it is impossible to police properly. That would require walking into every home on the planet and checking each computer to make sure there are no duplicate copies extra copies, illegal copies, etc. Plus, who keeps the actual boxes from all their software? I certainly do not. I could never prove that I was honoring the software copyright if the packaging or receipts were the only way I have of doing so. Most people in the world today honestly want to do the right thing. Software is one of the most expensive purchases people will often make for their home computers, it only makes sense to buy actual copies that have an actual software copyright in order to protect your investment not only in your software but also in your computer.
Everywhere You Look There are Creative Writing Prompts (creative writing prompts) As glamorous as creative writing prompt sounds, it is nothing more than they start of an idea for your writings. A prompt could be virtually anything from a picture to a dream, whatever gives you that ?Oh that would be a great story? feeling is your prompt. Like a movie preview it gives you a taste of what is to come or a sample at a store that makes you want to buy the product. It could be a single word or a collaboration of words. Whatever it takes to get the story into your head and then onto the paper would be considered a creative writing prompt. The need of finding creative writing prompts often stems from having writers block. If coming up with your own prompts has become difficult don?t worry. There a literally millions of prompts out there. You just need to find the right ones for you. Take the Internet for example. Do a search for creative writing prompts. You now have pages and pages of story starter?s right at your fingertips. You have many options available while searching for prompts. From one or two words starters to a brief synopsis of an idea they are available to you. Some sites offer daily prompts. They will even email them to you. There are many books available with nothing but lists of prompts just waiting to be turned into great stories from your mind. There are a lot of writers that feel that using lists of prewritten prompts by someone else is cheating. They feel that all prompts used must be their own. But truth be told, there is not a creative writing prompt that has not been wrote about. It is the creation that comes after the prompt that makes the writing your own. The prompt is not what your creative writing is all about, but a springboard for your imagination. It is merely what opens the portal to your imagination, to your passion, and to your thoughts. Sitting at your computer and staring at the blank page will most likely give you a headache before a great idea. Go outside, close you eyes, and clear your mind. Listen to the sounds around you. What do you hear? Children?s laughter, neighbors chatting, or ever the birds chirping. Let those sounds drift away and your mind float. Slowly letting things come back into your mind, your last trip to the beach, your kids at the playground, your spouse cooking dinner any of these can be an idea jogger that gets the creative writing flowing. These thoughts alone could spark a hundred ideas just waiting to be words on your canvas. It also may help to keep a notebook with you at all times. That way whenever you have a great idea you can jot it down before it escapes you. Many writers only use creative writing prompts from outside sources. They are given to them by editors and publishers telling the writer what they want you to write about. Some writers work better this way being given the idea and running with it. Others prefer using their own. Creative writing prompts not only help initiate ideas, they also help spark your memory for you to write about your own past experiences and adventures. You can use them for writings on your website or blog. Whether you use outside sources for your inspiration or use your own it does not affect the integrity of the words that complete the idea. The story behind the prompt is the vision of your creative abilities, not the prompt itself.