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Web Hosting - The Internet and How It Works In one sense, detailing the statement in the title would require at least a book. In another sense, it can't be fully explained at all, since there's no central authority that designs or implements the highly distributed entity called The Internet. But the basics can certainly be outlined, simply and briefly. And it's in the interest of any novice web site owner to have some idea of how their tree fits into that gigantic forest, full of complex paths, that is called the Internet. The analogy to a forest is not far off. Every computer is a single plant, sometimes a little bush sometimes a mighty tree. A percentage, to be sure, are weeds we could do without. In networking terminology, the individual plants are called 'nodes' and each one has a domain name and IP address. Connecting those nodes are paths. The Internet, taken in total, is just the collection of all those plants and the pieces that allow for their interconnections - all the nodes and the paths between them. Servers and clients (desktop computers, laptops, PDAs, cell phones and more) make up the most visible parts of the Internet. They store information and programs that make the data accessible. But behind the scenes there are vitally important components - both hardware and software - that make the entire mesh possible and useful. Though there's no single central authority, database, or computer that creates the World Wide Web, it's nonetheless true that not all computers are equal. There is a hierarchy. That hierarchy starts with a tree with many branches: the domain system. Designators like .com, .net, .org, and so forth are familiar to everyone now. Those basic names are stored inside a relatively small number of specialized systems maintained by a few non-profit organizations. They form something called the TLD, the Top Level Domains. From there, company networks and others form what are called the Second Level Domains, such as Microsoft.com. That's further sub-divided into www.Microsoft.com which is, technically, a sub-domain but is sometimes mis-named 'a host' or a domain. A host is the name for one specific computer. That host name may or may not be, for example, 'www' and usually isn't. The domain is the name without the 'www' in front. Finally, at the bottom of the pyramid, are the individual hosts (usually servers) that provide actual information and the means to share it. Those hosts (along with other hardware and software that enable communication, such as routers) form a network. The set of all those networks taken together is the physical aspect of the Internet. There are less obvious aspects, too, that are essential. When you click on a URL (Uniform Resource Locator, such as http://www.microsoft.com) on a web page, your browser sends a request through the Internet to connect and get data. That request, and the data that is returned from the request, is divided up into packets (chunks of data wrapped in routing and control information). That's one of the reasons you will often see your web page getting painted on the screen one section at a time. When the packets take too long to get where they're supposed to go, that's a 'timeout'. Suppose you request a set of names that are stored in a database. Those names, let's suppose get stored in order. But the packets they get shoved into for delivery can arrive at your computer in any order. They're then reassembled and displayed. All those packets can be directed to the proper place because they're associated with a specified IP address, a numeric identifier that designates a host (a computer that 'hosts' data). But those numbers are hard to remember and work with, so names are layered on top, the so-called domain names we started out discussing. Imagine the postal system (the Internet). Each home (domain name) has an address (IP address). Those who live in them (programs) send and receive letters (packets). The letters contain news (database data, email messages, images) that's of interest to the residents. The Internet is very much the same.

Cruise for Free Stuff Anonymously with a Free Privacy Service The World Wide Web is full of freebie offers, but many of these require you to give websites personal information and data. If you don't want your personal information floating around the World Wide Web (and who does want this?), there are some precautions you can take. Do you want to cruise for free stuff without having to worry about giving up your privacy? Here are a few privacy services that can help you cruise the web for freebies without having to worry about giving up any of your personal information. Why Should You Protect Your Privacy? Why should you even bother to use privacy services to cruise the web? There are many reasons why you would want to keep your personal data from being leaked into the World Wide Web. Every time that you are asked to provide personal information, you are at risk for infecting your computer with some kind of virus or spyware. In fact, it is estimated that the majority of all computer systems are infected by spyware. There are many programs that can actually track your keystrokes. This allows hackers and other cyber criminals to gain access to your passwords, bank account numbers and other private information. This puts you at high risk of computer identity theft. You can avoid having to enter personal information by using privacy programs to surf the web. Surf Easy with Anonymizer.com This is a program that allows you to surf the web anonymously. What does this program do? This program protects you by keeping your IP address secure. This means that online tracking software will be unable to track the sites you visit and keep a profile on your online activities. This program allows your connection to be redirected through their own secure servers, thus keeping your online identity hidden and protected. This program uses 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer technology. The program also provides protections against pharming, phishing and spyware websites that seek to invade your computer. Keep Your Privacy with Enonymous What is Enonymous.com, and what can it do to protect your privacy? Enonymous.com offers web surfers the ability to cruise confidently with its own host of free privacy software. This privacy software was created as a way to protect web surfers and consumers right to privacy. The program offers users with privacy policy statements and ratings. The software also helps users choose what kind of personal information they want to divulge before making web purchases. If you are concerned about giving away your name, phone number, email and other personal data, not to mention credit card and bank account numbers, then you will appreciate this software program. For Fast, Free and Totally Private Email, Turn to Hushmail Are you looking for fast, free and private email? If so, Hushmail.com is what you are looking for. This email uses industry standard algorithms that are optimized for the highest level of privacy, authenticity and security. This is one of the best of the free email services if you are concerned about protecting your privacy. All you need to do is to create your own passphrase. The program creates a transparent decryption and encryption system. It is also very user-friendly that allows for easy encryption and decryption of data, and for fast retrieval of a public/private key. ZoneAlarm for the Best in Firewall Protection If you are looking for the best in firewall protection, consider using ZoneAlarm for protecting your PC from invading viruses and spyware. This award-winning program helps shield your computer from incoming attackers, and helps banish already-present invaders. Surf the World Wide Web with confidence with the help of ZoneAlarm.

Achieving a Better Family and Work Balance Makes for Better Job Performance Are you constantly working after hours and weekends at the office? Are beginning to forget what your family even looks like? Many people find themselves in this predicament. Work seems to get more and more demanding with every passing day, and to stay on top of your game at work, you feel like you need to put in long hours. The flipside to this is that of course when you are at the office, you are away from home – away from family dinners, play time and your kids’ sporting events or school plays. You may feel like your hands are tied – that no matter how much you want to be more involved with your family life, you have to keep working as hard as ever to make sure your family is provided for in the long run. The truth is, however, that you may be doing yourself a disservice on both fronts. Studies have shown time and again that well rested workers with well balanced lives are more productive in the time they do spend working. In the end, the best way to be a stand out worker at the office is to be fully involved and present in your family live. But wait, you say, “I’m working practically around the clock now, and everything still isn’t getting done.” However, maybe the problem isn’t that you aren’t working hard enough. Maybe the problem instead is that you aren’t working smart enough. Think about the way you spend you working day. Are you taking on more responsibility than you need to, instead of delegating tasks to others? Are you spending a lot of time chatting in the break room when you run for a cup of coffee? Are you procrastinating so that big projects require you to work all-nighters instead of spreading out the work? Keep a journal of all of your activities at work for a few days. You might be surprised to see how you are really spending your time and in what areas you could make improvements. Simply staying on task and delegating effectively could get you home in time for dinner. When you have done everything you can to make your work habits as productive as possible, it is time to turn to other ways to balance your work life and your family life. Rule number one is the hardest one for most people to follow you – draw clear lines of distinction between work time and family time. Family time isn’t really family time if you are constantly on your cell phone making and receiving work calls or if you are on your laptop for the entire family vacation. When you’re working – work. When you’re with your family – concentrate on them. The time you spend actually taking a breather from work will recharge your batteries and make you a better worker when work time rolls around again. Next, you have to evaluate your priorities. Maybe working around the clock will help you make partner faster, but at what cost? Decide if seeing your daughter’s soccer game every week is more important to you than moving up the corporate ladder quickly, and make adjustments in your schedule appropriately. There is no right or wrong answer, but deciding where you priorities lie will make scheduling easier for you. With your priorities in mind, see what work options are available to you to help you meet them. If you want more time with the kids, see if your office offers flex time or part time hours to help you meet your family commitments. Last but not least, don’t feel guilty about taking time with your family. Not only is this time important to your family, you can rest assured that the time out from the office stress will make you more productive when you return to work.