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Archive for August, 2006

CGI Web Hosting - 3 Essential Scripts for your Business

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Scripts are written in programming languages specially designed for the web, and there are several languages that are commonly used. Most client side scripts are written in Java which is still one of the best web programming languages around. Some functions of a web site must be completed via server side scripting, however, and the most commonly used languages for server side scripting are PHP, PERL, and CGI. PHP and PERL are newer languages and are gaining a lot of popularity, but there are still plenty of features that can be scripted in the granddaddy of web scripting languages, CGI.

Shopping Carts

No online sales site would be complete without a functioning shopping cart and most of the best ones have been written in CGI script. CGI web hosting is great for shopping cart scripts because it interfaces well with most databases, including the popular MYSQL and MS Access databases, it can be utilized on Windows, UNIX, LINUX, and MACOS servers with equal ease, and can be easily configured for sales tax and shipping cost calculations. Some newer shopping cart scripts are being written in PHP and PERL, but most of the functioning carts on the web are in good old CGI web hosting scripts.

Password Protection

Many web sites require some sort of registration and entry of a password for the user to access the site’s features. This is done for a number of reasons from simply a desire to track visitors for marketing purposes to allowing postings on message boards and ensuring that users have paid any required fees associated with use of the site. The automated registration process and user name/password issuance can be written with CGI scripts and many of them have been.

Form Managers

Have you ever wondered how the forms you fill out online are handled? In most cases, they’re handled by CGI web hosting. When a user fills in that form and hits the “submit” button, a CGI script takes over and sends the data in email or writes it to a database where it can be accessed later by the site’s administrators.

These are just a few of the uses for CGI scripts on today’s web sites. There are literally hundreds of others and if there’s something that can be done on a web site, it is something that can be done with CGI. PHP and PERL may be gaining a lot of popularity for various reasons, but CGI was with us first and it isn’t going anywhere. As long as there are web sites, CGI web hosting will remain king.]]>

Charitable Giving Online

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

It isn’t hard to see that a lot of people, animals, and the environment in general are being neglected in our world today. That’s not to say that a lot of things haven’t been improved over time as well. As I come from one of the few wealthy nations, I can witness daily both the extravagances of greed and the injustice of poverty, although of course the amount of poverty in my country is far less than in so-called third-world or developing countries. If we watch the News (I try not to as it often effects my mood in a detrimental way) we can also see all kinds of issues relating to the sustainability of our planet and its natural creatures that live in our interconnected space. However, we often seem to be separating ourselves from the Nature that actually provides us with all the elements we need to survive in the present and in the future.

There are differing opinions on how we as developed countries can help the rest of humanity to move forward. Some more ‘primitive’ societies might argue that they don’t need our help or want our type of modern lifestyle anyway. In Bhutan instead of GDP they have GDH or Gross Domestic Happiness. In thinking that happiness is more important than money maybe we really don’t have too much to give or teach these people. Bhutan is a minority however and the truth is that many countries could do with our support both in terms of finance and in the sharing of skills and knowledge.

Many people don’t seem to believe in giving to charities or non-profit organizations. I read recently in an Oxfam International article that of the 22 rich countries who promised a mere 0.7% of their GDP, only five have come through with the goods. It’s also the documented case that most of the charity given in the world is by individuals, and not the rich ones like you’d think, a huge proportion of America’s charity is given by people in the lower income brackets. This may be because they can emphasize with the marginalized as they too know what it is like to have little. It may also be the case that they are also happier with what they have as opposed to the often-obsessive consumer who always feels that they haven’t got enough and need more material possessions.

A friend of mine says that the way to help others isn’t by giving aid but by going and helping to build infrastructure and to change belief systems about economics and progress. The hard thing for most of us is we don’t see a means to implement these changes. I can definitely see where monetary aid can be of great help, especially when people have to live in tragic circumstances as in the recent Tsunami in Southeast Asia. Sometimes people simply need shelter, food, water, clothes, blankets and medicine to survive and thankfully there are several organizations whose sole purpose is to fulfill this need. Even with their help, around 30,000 children still die everyday in our world. If we all gave just a couple of dollars a day that we usually spend on chocolate or coffee much of this poverty could be alleviated.

I work as an Internet writer so I’ve been checking out some of the charities on-line. Giving is so easy these days, just a push of some buttons on your computer and you could make a positive change to the world, no matter how small the change, all actions in life have their reactions and repercussions. Check out Oxfam International, Plan International, World Wildlife Foundation, Red Cross, Unicef, Care International, World Vision, and Greenpeace just to name a few. You can also look up smaller organizations that work in your local area. A lot of the web sites are very well constructed and you can read all about their campaigns, policies, how to donate, and even how to get involved yourself if you really want to be proactive as a volunteer.

The Oxfam International site is really interesting especially if you are one of the skeptics who don’t believe that the money actually goes where it is meant to after being filtered by administration etc. They give annual reports, strategic plans, mission and vision statements etc. so we can know exactly what they are doing. I can’t say the same for all charities that exist, so do your research.

The World Wildlife Foundation also has a very professional website with a multitude of information in the form of News articles and interesting facts. There are many cool photos of Nature and unfortunately of the misuse of it by humanity. Like the Oxfam site you can subscribe for a free monthly newsletter to see what new causes and case studies are on the agenda. Reading these can make you a little sad but there is usually at least an equal amount of positive stories about progress from the hard work done. I like reading these newsletters more than current affairs articles that usually have only a couple ‘happy’ stories that are often just silly and irrelevant (though I do think having a laugh after all the death and chaos is better than nothing).

So check out some of these sites, they may help to redeem your faith in humanity as well as remind you of the bigger picture that you are part of. In seeing the wider perspective you may just realize that you can make a difference.]]>

Cheap Web Hosting is No Bargain

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

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Ever heard the saying “Penny-wise and Dollar-foolish”?

Well bargain priced website hosting may just represent the
perfect example of watching a jar full of pennies while
bucket loads of dollars fly out the window!

When I launched my first website way back in the “dark ages”
of 1997 I paid almost $150 a month in hosting and data
transfer charges.

My web host watched how many files I uploaded like a hawk
and always seemed to send their hefty invoices earlier with
each passing month.

I’m obviously not the only one who felt that way, because
suddenly a whole industry of “bargain” web hosts sprang up
all over the web.

On the surface they all sound great, especially when you
think you can go from $150 a month down to $4.95 a month!

Five bucks a month sounds great, until you realize the
amount of data transfer (number of page views) and bandwidth
(the amount of data transfer your host allows in a 24 hour
period) you get for that low price severely limits your
ability to do business.

This realization - along with a panic attack and a quick
lesson in how data transfer and bandwidth get calculated -
usually comes at the least convenient time.

When you exceed your limits, a bargain host usually just
shuts you down with no warning.

Most webmasters realize they’ve made a mistake by choosing a
bargain host when their site suddenly gets shut down in the
middle of a big promotion because of a traffic spike.
Believe me, everything just stops!

Here are a few bargain hosts that provide good service, but
you really need to really check the fine print for how much
bandwidth they allow.

www.FeaturePrice.com

For $24.95 a month you get to host up to six independent
websites with a single account. You get unlimited data
storage, unlimited email and a variety of other higher end
services, but their bandwidth policy seems hard to
understand.

www.HostSave.com

Host Save is another low price hosting company that delivers
a wide range of services for only $6.95 per month. They
recently raised their allowable data transfer, but their
policy on how much bandwidth you can use at a given time
seems non-existent.

www.DotEasy.com

For $25 DotEasy offers a domain name purchase along with one
year’s hosting. Sounds incredible until you read the fine
print to discover they limit you to 1 Gigabyte of data
transfer a month. Not much data once you start getting
reasonable site traffic.

The moral here? Either be prepared to have your business
shut down mid-stream if you get successful, or pay a few
extra bucks each month to ensure you have enough bandwidth
and data transfer.

At a minimum, specifically ask and read the fine print about
the host’s bandwidth and data transfer policies before it’s
too late!]]>

Choosing A VOIP Provider

Monday, August 28th, 2006

If you just want to chat with friends and family over the Internet, a free service may be adequate. If you’re looking for a true alternative to normal phone service, however, consider a VOIP service with a paid package deal.

Package Choices

There are so many choices. To determine which is the best service for your money, you must decide which services you need, and whether you want to quit your existing telephone service completely.

Most VOIP providers offer package plans with free calls to a designated geographical area. Nearly all providers offer free call waiting, call display, and conference call services.

Even though the basic package for a similar fee is the same with most providers, there is a great rivalry between VOIP service providers, with each striving to offer services that set them apart from their competitors. To make the right choice, you’ll have to check several packages to find the best for your needs.

For example, if you make a lot of overseas calls, a package that includes international calls makes sense. Or if you receive most of your calls from a specific city, get a package that offers a specific phone number that allows people to call you at that local rate.

Service and reliability are other critical factors when selecting a VOIP provider. This information is available from reviews on the internet or by asking your friends which providers they use. One suggestion is to find a provider offering a money-back guarantee.

Find out how much bandwidth is required for a particular VOIP service. If the information is not available from the company’s web site, send an e-mail to verify that your broadband connection is suitable for their VOIP service. Usually 128 kbps on the upload side is sufficient.

Problems

Emergency calls are 1 of the technical drawbacks with VOIP, because it’s hard to determine your physical location on VOIP calls. 911 calls may not be routed to the correct call center, and if they are, operators can’t establish your location if you are unable to communicate. The Federal Communications Commission, in the United States, is demanding that VOIP service providers find a solution.

Providing phone service during a power outage is another technical problem. Since VOIP requires electrical current to operate modems, in a power outage the VOIP phone line goes dead. One solution is to use a computer with a battery backup. Another is an electrical generator to provides emergency household electricity.

Finally, you may want to retain your existing phone service after signing up for VOIP. Not all providers offer this service, so if it’s important, verify that ability in advance.]]>

Choosing a Web host

Sunday, August 27th, 2006

Paid hosting has several important advantages over free hosting. Firstly you will receive more useful features with paid hosting. Technical support will be much better with help available when you need it. Generally speaking Paid hosts will have much faster connections to the internet so your site will appear quicker. Most importantly with paid hosting you won’t have to display a banner on each page advertising the Hosting Company and advertising to the world that you are on a free host. With excellent hosting packages starting from $6.99 per month there is no reason why you shouldn’t go with a paid host.

The second simple rule concerns what operating system to choose. You will find hosts offering you Windows Hosting or Linux Hosting, it is tempting to choose windows as it’s a name everyone knows and many people mistakenly believe that because their PC runs windows they need a Windows Host but in this case they’d be wrong. Whichever hosting package you choose you will receive a control panel through which you administer your site these are graphical environments through which you can control many aspects of your website from configuring your web mail and installing forum software to creating a database. Take a lead from the marble halls of business most major companies host their websites on Linux Servers. Linux Servers generally runs faster and are more secure than a windows server. This is partly due to how the operating systems are built. Windows try to include every possible function in the base package whilst Linux allows the host company to add the functions they need.

The final thing to consider when choosing a host is the list of features they offer. If you don’t know much about html you can look for a host that supplies you with free website building software and some of the better ones will even supply free Domain names. You should look at a number of different companies and compare what they offer as standard with their hosting plans. Technical aspects to consider are; the amount of disk space available to you and how much monthly bandwidth you have to use. Look at how many email accounts you can have the more the better. Customer support features should not be overlooked check to see what their response time is and if it’s anymore than an hour look elsewhere, also consider if they offer a money back guarantee.

Look to see what additional services they include in the package for example do they offer daily backups? Make sure that they offer support for PHP as this is quickly becoming the programming language of choice with web programmers.

To conclude when choosing a website Host look for a paid host with Linux hosting and then compare the packages on offer from a variety of companies.]]>

Cittio System and Network Monitoring

Saturday, August 26th, 2006

Recent Company News
» Blue Shield
» Cittio Inc.
» Hummer Winblad Venture Partners
Latest News
» EBay expanding to rest of e-commerce world
» Wells gets Federal Reserve OK on Texas purchase
» Cardima wins brief breather from creditor
» Stockholders approve Symantec-Veritas merger
» Lawmakers reach Bay Bridge deal
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» Companies in the News
» People in the News

“Too many people thought we were a pharmaceutical company,” Lerner said.

Lerner is taking the lessons he learned in real estate to build Cittio.

The company negotiated an attractive short-term lease with the landlord of the building housing the company’s south of Market headquarters. Lerner is supervising a construction team to renovate the building in exchange for a cut in the rent.

It’s a far cry from his entrepreneurial days of the late 1990s when he worked at a web-hosting company that had raised $50 million in venture financing. Today, he talks about that venture’s free-spending ways with a level of disbelief.

“You cannot believe how quickly payroll drains millions of dollars,” Lerner said, noting that everyone at Cittio is focused on building or selling the company’s software. There are no receptionists to answer phones, and everything from payroll to public relations is outsourced.

Cittio runs a tight ship, even compared with other entrepreneurs who disavow their once spendthrift ways.

“Whenever we spend money, it goes into the price of the product, so a business is really spending a customer’s money,” Lerner said. “We bought every single piece of equipment used. Our desks are a wood door over two saw horses.”

And Lerner isn’t kicking back now that he’s received a vote of confidence — and a big check — from Hummer Winblad.

“The pressure has doubled. It was much easier when it was just my money, and I didn’t have to answer to anyone,” Lerner said. “A lot of people view venture funding as the endpoint. But it’s just the beginning.”]]>

Comprehensive Meaning Of Segmentation By Clustering

Friday, August 25th, 2006

Although, superficially these different methods may seem some how complicated for any reader, in this article I will demonstrate the meaning of clustering in segmentation.

One natural view of segmentation is that we are attempting to determine which components of data set naturally belong together. This is a problem known as clustering.
We can cluster in two ways:

-Partitioning: here we have a large data set, and curve it up according to notion of the association between items inside the set. We would like to decompose it into pieces that are good according to our model. For example we can decompose an image into regions that have coherent color and texture.

-Grouping: in this part we have distinct data items, and we would like to collect sets of data items that make sense together.

The key here is to determine what representation is suitable for the problem at hand, we need to know by what criteria a segmentation method should decide which pixels belong together and which do not.

Once we decide which cluster method suitable for our application, segmentation by clustering could be very useful for some applications that may use clustering, as well as summarizing video, or finding machine parts, finding people in mage, finding buildings in satellite images: these done by looking for collections of edge points that can be assembled in line segment and then assembling line into polygons.

It is hard to see that there could be a comprehensive theory of segmentation, not least what is interesting and what is not depends on the application, there is no comprehensive theory of segmentation at time of writing.

Since clustering is defined above, in addition clustering is a process whereby a data set is replaced by cluster, it is natural to think of segmentation as clustering, another meaning: pixels may belong together because they have the same color, the same texture, they are nearby, and so on. Some of clustering methods as well as: clustering by K-means, segmentation by graph theoretic clustering.]]>

Concept of computer generated images and their application

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

Filmproduktion") has been made faster and more efficient in the postproduction phase, offering an unprecedented level of freedom and quality.

The success of 3D computer animation and CGI in general started in the early 90s, when software bundles and processing power got more affordable even for smaller companies, and since then it turned into an accepted art form by itself. Over the years the technology evolved further and further, lowering the barrier between art and technology, and even allowing these two extremes to blend seamlessly.

Creation of 3D graphics

The creation of CGI and computer animation requires the use of specialized software products. Several bundles have established on the market, and it is mainly a question of personal preference which one to pick. After all the biggest factor in creating convincing digital worlds is the artist himself, whereas the software is merely the tool to transfer his creativity onto the screen.

As graphics software became more user-friendly and intuitive, the process of creating CGI started to resemble its real-world counterparts, like painting, sculpting, photography and filmmaking. The area of computer animation for example requires the same steps of "real world" filmmaking, with the addition of modeling sets, props and characters first. Bringing a mass of "digital clay" into shape to form a convincing character (or any other object or location to be shown, for that matter) is the initial step. Then cameras, lights and other entities are arranged in the virtual space, and animated if necessary. Computer animation might be called the digital successor to the classic Harryhausen-type stop-motion animation, although many other ways of animating virtual objects and characters (like physical simulation or motion-capturing techniques) have evolved over the years. The last step is called "rendering" and describes the process of collecting all information of the scene and light setup to process and output the final image through the lens of a virtual camera, either in the form of still frames, or a series of frames which create the illusion of movement.

Television, film production and commercials

Computer animation and three-dimensional visualization ("Visualisierung") is widely used in television, commercials and film production. The "small screen" has proven to be the perfect field for experimenting with newly developed technology and concepts, and many artists working in the area of television and commercials have made their way to the movie business. With software bundles getting cheaper and more accessible, independent artists and filmmakers seized the opportunity to create their own films and short films, a development, which gave the visual quality of films an enormous boost in the mid 90s. In the area of film production computer animation slowly started replacing hand-made models and puppets, and even the genre of animated films has gotten a digital counterpart.

The area of commercials has grown into other branches like industrial documentations ("Industriefilm") and corporate video ("Imagefilm"), and besides entertainment computer animation is also used in the fields of education, interactive media ("3D Online") and military application.

Scientific visualization

Computer animation produced to present meteorological data, medical imaging, industriefilm, architecture and technology.

Product design and engineering

Designers and engineers use special CAD (computer aided design) software for designing, developing and manufacturing consumer and industrial products. Product visualization extensively uses modern graphics technology and with the help of computers, designs can be rotated, cut and manipulated even before getting manufactured. This greatly helps engineers visualize the product that they are designing.
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Cool New Search Engine On The Block

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

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If you log on to PayPerClickSearchEngines.com you’ll find they list over 600 different pay-per-click search engines operating online.

In fact, some online sources report that over 1,000 “search engines” of various size and popularity operate in the U.S. alone.

With so much competition among sites to capture the search traffic that Google.com and Yahoo.com seem to dominate like 800 lb. Gorillas, why would one new search engine rate even a second glance?

The answer: Amazon, the Web’s mega bookstore, launched a new search engine with a very user-friendly interface and some of the fastest, most relevant searches online… along with a **twist** that will help EVERY person who wants to sell ebooks for profit, publish articles to get traffic, or create special reports that go viral.

Here’s the story…

Amazon recently launched www.A9.com — a search engine that creates more of a “portal” experience than the traditional search engine where you input your search terms, click a button, and pray something relevant to your search appears in the results.

When you first log on to A9.com, it looks like a traditional search engine, but once you start searching, you’ll find an organized and extremely helpful set of search tools right at your fingertips.

A9.com organizes its search criteria by category on the right side of the page.

Input a search term such as “mortgage loan” or “George Washington” and you’ll start to see why I like this search engine so much.

When you first input your search term, the website displays the “web” search results to show you various websites A9.com deems relevant to your search.

Click the “books” button on the right and get a list of the most relevant books available on Amazon.com.

Follow virtually any of those book links to the Amazon website and you can literally browse through the table of contents, first chapter, and even the index of most books.

Click on the “Movies” button and get a list of any relevant movies with your search terms included.

One of the helpful things you’ll notice as you start searching different types of media is that you can show or hide various search results on the same page.

So if you only want to search books and movies, you can hide the Web and reference results.

Depending on the type of information you need to research, you can also use the “Reference” results to get dictionary, encyclopedia, and history information on the search terms you entered.

Needless to say, when I did a search for “George Washington,” this reference section overflowed with relevant links and information.

However, I was surprised at just how much reference material was available for search terms like “mortgage,” including information from Investopedia.com on alternative search terms to help me narrow my search for more relevant information.

Probably the biggest reason I like A9.com so much is that it helps to wade through the ever rising tide of information that threatens to drown us all online.

Depending on what you need to find, you can quickly get suggestions, reference material, physical books, and even information on available film and video without leaving the A9.com website.

Now, here’s specifically how A9.com can help anyone who wants to publish their own ebooks, articles, or special reports.

#1 - Insert your main search term at A9.com and look at 2 things: total web results (higher number the better) and the books and movies tabs.

If you see a lot of web results and tons of books and movies on the subject, you have a VERY good (and fast) indication that the topic you’re considering is “hot” enough to warrant more investigation for creating your own ebook, special report, or other info-product.

#2 - Follow the look links to specific listings on Amazon. Some of those books will allow you to go through the table of contents, first chapter, and index right there on your screen.

Use this opportunity to:
A. Make notes on the most important points on your topic (from the table of contents) and expand your list of potential points to cover.

B. Get a feel for the general topic and the typical way authors are currently approaching it (first chapter).

** By the way, the table of contents and / or first chapter will usually give you at least one great idea for an article you could create (or pay someone to create) and use to generate traffic to your website.

C. Look for additional keywords you could use for your pay-per-click campaigns as well as your headlines, bullets, and other classified ads (in the index).

#3 - Use the “Reference” tab on A9.com to access the dictionary, thesaurus, and other tools to find MORE keywords you can use to advertise on pay-per-click search engines… specific “niche” keywords many of your competitors probably aren’t using.

Though nothing on A9.com is actually new, it does present a much faster and easier way to search the web, compare reults, gather marketing intelligence, and wade through available data to help you with your own ebooks, special reports, article writing, and other marketing activities.]]>

Cracking Encryption using Word Patterns

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006



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