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Beautiful Pens are Just the Beginning: Fascinating Gifts for Writers (gifts for writers) Buying gifts is a difficult project in many cases. Sometimes a person seems to already have everything. They may not enjoy the typical gift ideas that come to your mind. To buy the perfect gift, it is essential to actually know a person. A basic understanding of likes and dislikes will help, but passions will guide you to a really great gift. If you cannot come to a conclusion for what to buy for a friend, you can also consult other sources for gift ideas. Following are some ideas for buying gifts for writers. Writers are passionate people. They are passionate about words and about truth. They are also passionate about their subject matter. Is there a writer in your life? By using these guidelines, along with your knowledge about that person, you can come up with an ideal gift that they will treasure. Under Twenty Dollars As suggested by the title, a beautiful pen is almost always an inexpensive and appropriate gift for a writer. Most writers spend much of their time jotting down thoughts and ideas. As they meander through their day, an idea may strike at any time. Give them a quality instrument to facilitate great thoughts. You can also include a personalized pad of paper to hold on to the brainstorms. Another great gift for a writer is a magazine subscription. A good writer needs to keep up with the type of writing that is being published. Sometimes they need a little bit of light reading to keep their creative juices flowing. Choose the magazine based on some interest that you and your friend share. Under One Hundred Dollars If you want to spend a little bit more on gifts for writers, you can start taking your gift buying to a little bit different level. For less than one hundred dollars your options open up. Books are great gifts for writers. You can buy new books in the writer?s area of interest or expertise. He will probably always be ready to expand his own knowledge base. You can also buy reference books. Style manuals are very helpful when a writer has strict guidelines to follow. Your writing friend probably already has a pretty good dictionary, but you can buy them the best one. Thesauruses and literary guides are also interesting gifts to receive. Moving away from words for a bit, a writer would also love to receive an artifact that has to do with their main subject matter. If he is a history buff, try to find an authentic coin from the particular piece of history he finds most fascinating. Under Five Hundred Dollars At the next level of gift buying, your options start expanding into more elaborate forms of previous gifts. Very old and rare books may fall into this price range. Very old or particularly good quality antiques will also be fairly expensive. Gifts for writers also often fall into the category of electronics. Good printers make the writing all that more impressive looking on the page. Software and other hardware for the computer is also a worthwhile gift for a writer that spends most of his day sitting at his computer. A nice digital camera is also a fantastic gift for a writer that wants to remember situations exactly in order to adequately describe them later. Won?t Cost you A Dime Some of the best gifts for writers won?t cost you anything. Many of the more expensive gifts are extremely practical, but the free ones can be that also. The nature of a writing career leads writers to spend a lot of time alone. A good gift is just some company. Take your friend out for dinner with a group of mutual friends. He?ll appreciate the time away from the desk. If he?s been trying to get an interview with someone, you can put the leg work in for him and schedule it. All that will cost you is some time and effort. Not all gifts have to cost money. Good luck finding the perfect one for the writer in your life.

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.

To Enter or Not to Enter Writing Contests (writing contests) If you are a freelance writer, it is because you love to write. Why not put those abilities to use and enter a writing contest? You have nothing to loose and a lot to gain. You can find writing contests by simply searching the Internet. Writing groups and message boards may also have listing for these contests. No matter what you writing genre maybe poetry, fiction, non fiction, there is a contest out there for you. Read about them and choose which ones are right for you. It is not necessarily about winning or loosing but about the experience and knowledge that you gain to get there. Whether you win or not there are still valuable things that can be learned or gained by entering into contests. Entering writing contests will help you hone the skills that you have. Try something new, you may choose to write in a niche that you normally wouldn?t. You get constructive criticism from someone new. Someone that doesn?t have to worry about hurting your feelings and that is unbiased can be a wonderful asset to your career. The feedback you receive can be invaluable to you. It will get your name out there and give you a place to showcase your work. Depending on how good your story, if you make it to the next round your writings could be in front of editors and agents. This feedback and criticism is even more important than the first. Do not your eggs all in one basket. Enter a couple contests to get multiple feedback sources. Not every editor or agent is going to agree. By entering multiple contests and find common points about your writing that need perfecting you will be able to concentrate on a general consensus about your abilities. There are some downsides to entering writing contests, too. Chances are that a simple contest is not going to launch your career into star status. Do your research just as if you were going to write an article about contests. For many contests you give up your rights to your entry whether it wins or not. You need to decide whether or not you are willing to give up all rights to your story. If you win it is not a big deal, but if you loose your giving your work away. Are you willing to do this? Research the contest. You can search the Internet for reports or opinions on contests run by the company. You can find valuable information on if the contest is legitimate, if entering has had any effect of previous entrant?s careers, and if it is really worth it in the long run. The bigger and well-established companies will give credibility to your work if you win. But the bigger and more well know the companies are will also bring in tougher competition with well know authors. Some companies offer contests as a disguise. Yes they will give away prizes and declare winners but their main goal with the contest is advertising. It can be in the form of offering you to buy obscure book featuring your contest submission. Sometimes it is an editing company that offers a discount for its services or a company that will offer you discounts on writing classes. A writing contest is just a possible stepping stone. Whether it helps you or not is the unknown, but it definitely won?t hurt you. It may help you reach the next level of your career. You and only you will be able to make the decision on whether or not writing contests are a good move for your career.

Start Sampling for Free with the Start Sampling Website If you are looking for the best in online sampling, there is one Web destination that you should know about. The websites is known simply as StartSampling.com, and it can do wonders for your cache of freebies. If you are an avid freebie hunter, this is a website that you will definitely want to keep at your freebies by placing it on your active bookmark list. You will find that this is a fun and active community that you can consult on a regular basis for the best in online freebie sampling. How Can You Become a Member of StartSampling? If you are a newbie to the world of online sampling and freebies, here is a brief primer on becoming a member of this active community. First, StartSampling is a free service?never sign up for a freebie service that asks for monetary compensation or that requires a yearly membership sign-up. All you need in order to become a member of the StartSampling community is the ability to willingly sample many fine products from some of the company's leading manufacturers. As a member of StartSampling, you will receive samples as well as participate in the site's own Frequent Tryer Miles program. The Frequent Tryer Milers program allows you to collect points. You collect these points from participating in a variety of sampling programs and taking advantage of special offers and promotions. As a reward for participating in these programs, you will receive pints and gifts for free. This is your reward for being an active member of the StartSampling community. How to Contact the StartSampling Company Directly If you find that you have questions and concerns about using StartSampling, you can contact the company directly by selecting the 'contact us' button that is located at the bottom of the StartSampling home page. However, you will probably find that most of your questions can be answered directly simply by perusing the FAQ section of the website carefully. The FAQ provides you with an extensive list of questions and answers that have been addressed and compiled by the company. What Exactly Does StartSampling Do? Many newcomers to the StartSampling community wonder if the company is a web research enterprise. In reality, StartSampling is a promotions and marketing company. They have recently managed to establish themselves as a leader in online sampling. They do this by connecting consumers directly with the right kinds of companies. As an active participant of the StartSampling community, you will have the opportunity to receive samples from companies that you did not previously recognize. Sampling also allows you to inform marketers about your specific desires and interests. This way, you will receive product and service offers that are tailored specifically to your interests. In effect, think of StartSampling as a way to make your voice heard as a consumer. Where Do the Product Samples Come From? With so many online samples coming your way, perhaps you are wondering where all the samples provided by this community come from. All the samples provided to you by StartSampling are furnished directly by the small and large companies that are working with StartSampling. These samples are provided to StartSampling because these companies believe in their products and want consumers to try them and express an honest opinion. Most companies are looking to receive consumer feedback from members of their targeted consumer group. Who is Behind the World of StartSampling? Many newcomers are curious about who is behind the scenes at StartSampling. StartSampling is a leading online company managed by small group of energetic individuals. It is a privately held organization that is growing at a rapid pace.