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Web Hosting - How To Select A Web Host As with many purchases, our first impulse when selecting a web hosting company is to go with the cheapest. Hey, they're all alike, why pay more? Au contraire. There are a number of objective criteria that separates one web hosting company from another and money is only one of them. And not the most important one. Selecting a company based on price alone is equivalent to selecting an auto mechanic on price alone. Sure, he may maintain or fix your car cheaper. But will the car spend all the time in the shop and none on the road? The first consideration is 'horsepower'. Do they have the capacity to carry your load and deliver decent performance? Most hosting companies will advertise that they have huge bandwidth and hundreds of servers. They're usually telling the truth. But there's a difference between existing capacity and usable capacity. If they also have thousands of sites with millions of visitors per day the available or free capacity will be much lower. A big pickup truck may be able to tow 5,000 lbs. But not if it's already carrying 4,999. Be sure to ask about available capacity, and have the prospective company back it up with reliable numbers. If you can't interpret the information they provide, find someone to help you do so. Next, and a very close second, is reliability. A lot of power is worthless if it's cut often. Outages are a normal part of business. Even Google and Microsoft go down from time to time. The difference is, it happens rarely and they have failover plans. That means, if their site/system does go down it's either up again in a flash, or you never see the outage because a backup system kicks in automatically and seamlessly. Be sure to grill the company closely about their up time. They'll often tout 99.6%, or some such figure. But, like the on-time figures of the airlines, those numbers can be shaded by adjusting the definition of 'up time'. What matters to you is whether your visitors will be able to reach your site at any time of the day or night they might want to. Find out what systems, both technical and human, they have in place to deal with failures of all sorts. Servers can go down, networks can fail, hard disks can become defective and lose data even when the other components continue to work fine. The result is YOUR site is unavailable, which is all that matters to you. The web hosting company should be able to deal with all of that and have you up again very quickly. Last, but not least, is security. With the continuing prevalence of viruses and spam, you need to know that the web hosting company you select has an array of methods for dealing with them. That means a good technical plan and staff who are knowledgeable in dealing with those issues. The old saying: 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure' is more true here than anywhere else. All these issues are central to finding a web hosting company that can deliver the services you need. After those criteria are satisfied by a number of candidates, then you can start narrowing them down by price.

The Top Virtually Bug-free Free Email Services on the Net Virtually bug-free e-mail services are available actually from several places. Many of these service providers are big names, known by many, especially Internet users. The difference between the different e-mail providers lies in several things. These differences include but are not limited to plenty storage space, effective spam filtering, a fast user-friendly interface, desktop e-mail program access and much more. Currently in the United States and the rest of the world, the best offer for free e-mail comes from Gmail. Gmail is part of the Google business enterprise (the search engine most of us know) and offers the most features and storage space for their users for free. With virtually unlimited storage capacity for e-mails, a user never has to delete any e-mails of the server and can collect all the messages. Gmail offers a simple user-friendly interface, which also includes an excellent search function that lets a user find messages instantly and precisely. Another great feature of gmail is the POP and IMAP access features. This gives the user the possibility to download the e-mail from the server with any e-mail program that the user generally would use. The program can then also automatically download the e-mails into the program ready for the user to read. Gmail is funded by displaying advertising next to the e-mails read. Next on the worldwide list would be GMX, a German provider that offers many of the features gmail offers, but with limited storage space. This program also has the POP feature and can therefore be used in conjunction with any of the common available PC e-mail programs. Right after gmail it is one of the most reliable e-mail services, but unfortunately they discontinued the English user face and only offer a German version now. Thereafter on the top free e-mail services providers is AIM Mail. It is the free web-based service from AOL. Like gmail it offers virtually unlimited online storage, excellent spam protection and a simple, easy to use interface. Unfortunately, AIM Mail lacks proper productivity, such things as labels, smart folders and message threading is not available. AIM Mail also offers a very functional POP and IMAP access. Yahoo! Mail would be the next e-mail service that should be mentioned on the list of the top virtually bug-free services on the Internet. Yahoo also offers virtually unlimited storage space for e-mails and a few other nice features, such as Short message services for texting to friends and family, instant-messaging features for the internet and up to date news feeds. What Yahoo! mail lacks is a really good spam filter. It offers a spam filter, but it is not effective enough. Also nice to have would be labeling options as well as smart folders. The Yahoo! Interface is just as easy and user-friendly as the other providers and fairly reliable. To complete the list we need to mention the following three services, Inbox.com, FastMail and Hotmail. Inbox.com offers e-mail users 5 GB of free space to store e-mail online. Despite the limited space, this service is outstanding due to its high-speed accessibility. Web access and POP access are very fast and even the search functions are faster than with most other services on the market. The drawbacks of Inbox.com are the missing IMAP access, only POP is provided and the organizing of mail is slightly unorganized due to missing smartfolder technology. FastMail on the other hand offers users only IMAP. It has many useful features and has one of the best web-based e-mail interfaces. It also generally displays fewer ads then the other services do. And lastly, Live Hotmail should be mentioned here, since most PC users that have a Windows based operating system will have heard of hotmail. This program offers 5 GB of storage for e-mails online. It has a fast search option, a solid security feature and the interface is as easy as the ones users are used to on their desktop. Even though security is great, the spam filter is not quite as effective as some of the other e-mail providers. Also missing with this provider is the POP and IMAP access as well as smartfolders and other great e-mail organizing features.

Staying Computer Safe while Searching for Freebies on the Net Who doesn?t love the idea of getting something for nothing? Free stuff can bring a smile to anyone?s face, and the Internet is destination number one when you are looking for cash in on a few freebies. The downside of free stuff online is that if you aren?t careful, the free item could end up causing plenty of headaches and heartaches, not to mention a lot of cold, hard cash. If you want to score with free stuff online, make safety your number one priority by following these tips. First and foremost, treat your personal information like its cash. That might sound a little dramatic, but anyone who manages to steal your identity online is after one thing, and one thing only, your money and any addition money they can grab by cashing in on your credit. Protecting your name, address, credit card number, bank account number, phone number, social security number, and so on and so forth when you are registering for free offers is the first step to making sure you don?t get hustled when you?re just trying to enjoy a good freebie. That means that if you are asked for some personal information that you don?t feel comfortable handing out, let the freebie go. Likewise, make sure the site from which you are getting your free stuff has a privacy policy and that you know it, understand it, and can live with it. Speaking of that site that is handing out the free goods: just who are these people? If you were walking down the street and a shady looking person said they would give you a free DVD player if you followed them, chances are you would run the other way. Online, it is hard to tell the legitimate people from the people looking at you like a free lunch, but there are a few red flags you can look out for. Does the website look like it was thrown up in about 5 minutes, full of clip art and bad spelling? Is it hard to find information about where the website is registered, or where the business the website is supposedly promoting is registered? If the website purports to be affiliated with a certain brand you know, does it really look like it is, or does the logo look different/colors look off? If you can?t get a reasonable feel for who are dealing with online, don?t deal with them. Red flag number one? Asking for too much personal info should send you running. Another way to protect yourself is to build a virtual fortress around your computer. The net is filled with people who know how to walk right into your virtual home ? your computer ? and flip through everything you have on there, taking whatever they want. Many of these kinds of hackers draw you in by creating phony freebie websites. The way to keep them out is to keep your computer on lockdown. Make sure your firewall is stronger than you think it needs to be, and make sure it is always updated. Also, make sure you have antivirus software on the patrol for you and that you keep this software updated as well. Last but not least, keep those passwords in the vault, and make sure they are extra strong. No freebie website has any reason to ask you about the passwords for your accounts so don?t give them away ? and don?t give them to anyone else online for that matter. Also, if you?re using your birthday or child?s name as password, don?t. Sure, it isn?t as easy to remember, but your password should be a random word and contain a collection of numbers and symbols as well. This will give you the extra layer of protection to make sure your online house is in order when you cash in on the freebies.

Bring These Important Tips to the Table in a Telecommuting Argument Are you tired of the sound of the alarm clock every morning? Are you equally tired of trying to figure out what to wear every day (ladies) and fighting the rush hour traffic to get to the office in time? How about spending almost your entire paycheck on gas to put in your car to get you to work? There is a way around all of this of course ? telecommuting. When you telecommute to work, you can catch a little bit of extra shut eye and head to work in your pajamas, without even getting in the shower. But aside from the convenience factor, there can be a lot of other good reasons why telecommuting makes sense. If you can put together a convincing enough argument for your employer, you may find yourself going to work in your bedroom slippers before you know it. The first thing you have to keep in mind about your telecommuting argument is that you have to make sure you have plenty of evidence that telecommuting will be beneficial to your employer, not just you. Sure, you would love to be able to see the kids off to school in the morning and take your coffee break in front of your favorite soap operas, but your boss doesn?t care about all of that. Though you don?t have to hide the fact that telecommuting will obviously have its privileges for you from your boss, remember to include plenty of ammunition for benefits to the company as well. What can you bring to the table in terms of telecommuting advantages for your boss? Point your boss to a growing amount of research on the internet that shows that big companies have seen big increases in productivity when they started letting people telecommute and work from the comfort of their homes. Everyone knows that a rested and stress free employee is a productive one, and offices can be filled with more distractions than your home (gossiping employees, phones always ringing). Some companies have seen increases in productivity of over 50%, something that is sure to get your boss?s attention. You can also point out to your boss that absenteeism takes a nosedive when people telecommute. No need to take a fake sick day to get out of going to office when you work from home, and even when people are under the weather, when the office is in the next room, they still tend to get a few things done on a day that would have been a total write off otherwise. Another selling point for your boss may be that everyone else is already doing it. More than half of the companies in the US have employees that telecommute, with great results. Your boss won?t want to let the company fall behind ? and your boss will know that offering what other companies have is important for employee retention. Make sure your boss knows that what you are asking for is not out of the ordinary in any way. Beyond the selling points for your boss, you can be specific about a few benefits to you. Bosses know that gas is major issue for employees ? telecommuting is a way they can let you cut back on that big expense, without feeling under pressure to respond with wage hikes. If you have customers that live near your house, let your boss know it will be easier to meet them face-to-face if you work from home. Last but not least, let your boss know that you believe you can deliver more to the company from the comfort of your home - more work for the same pay is always music to an employer?s ears.