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Communication Key to a Better Work Environment Everyone knows the story of A Christmas Carole. On Christmas Eve, poor Bob Cratchit, who is working late again, spends his day working up the courage to ask his boss, Mr. Scrooge, if he can have Christmas Day off from work to spend with his family. When he finally does get up the nerve to ask, Mr. Scrooge lets forth a tirade over lazy people using Christmas as an excuse to have a day a off from work. This fictional story unfortunately rings true for a lot of people who have to work up the courage to ask for things from their employers. An employee who has to feel about their employer the way Bob Cratchit felt about Mr. Scrooge is not a very happy and productive employee. To get the most of out of your workers, you have to create a much more hospitable working environment. To create a better working environment, keeping the lines of communication open is absolutely crucial. How does communication work in your office? Do you get the impression that everyone is walking around on eggshells around you? While this kind of fear from your employees may be good for your ego in some senses, it is really bad for your business. When your employees don?t feel like they can talk to you, you will lose control over what is going on with your business. You may be the boss, but your employees are the ones who are actually on the front lines. To know what is really going on out there, you need your employees to communicate honestly with you. If they feel that you are unapproachable, they will hide problems and concerns from you, and you won?t be able to act to fix them. You can?t expect to run your business with half of the information about what is actually going on, and so your business will suffer for your ?mean boss? routine. There are still other problems with creating an office environment in which your employees feel like you are unapproachable. In general, there will be a dark cloud over the office when you are around. The stress will keep employee morale low, and employees with low morale are employees with low productivity. Besides, who wants to work hard for someone they cannot approach or who doesn?t show they any respect? Shutting down those lines of communication will definitely affect your bottom line as employees ?phone it in? because they don?t feel invested in making your business a success. If you want a better working environment, you have to improve the lines of communication. If there has been a communication breakdown in the past, take the time to address it with your staff. If you staff is small, talk to them each one on one, letting them know that your door is always open and that you want more regular communication with them. If you have a larger staff, schedule a meeting to address the issue. Weekly office meetings are a great way to keep communication channels open and swap ideas in the office environment. If weekly meetings are not feasible, find some way of touching base with your staff on a regular basis, either through weekly emails or a weekly newsletter. Also, you should encourage your staff to communicate with each other. Sharing information among the staff is a great way to generate fresh ideas and fresh approaches to problems. If your office is suffering from a communication problem, make nipping it in the bud a priority. The pay off will be more productive workers and a whole lot less stress. Who knew work could actually be a pleasant place to be?

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.

How to Succeed as a Writer in the World of Freelancing (freelancing) Many may view freelancing as a writer as an acquired taste. There are many things about freelance writing that may be deemed as undesirable for many writers, including the common low pay and high demands. However, most writers would consider the freelance writing field, and many enjoy the freedom of freelancing. Being a freelance writer involves writing as well as the marketing of oneself and one?s work. For freelancers, it is important to give careful attention to the business details of the writing world, such as quarterly taxes, and staying ahead of the changing trends of publishing. Freelance writers also have the job of writing according to the editor or publisher?s rules while staying true to their own style. Being a freelance writer may seem ideal to some writers, but in the world of freelance there is stiff competition and most writers receive a hundred rejections before receiving one letter accepting their work. Many freelancers don?t consider being a freelance writer as an easy job, but there are some steps that can help turn any person succeed as a freelance writer. First, it is important that the freelance writer is honest about the quality of their writing and the depth of their writing skills, as well as their knowledge of freelancing. Editors will not spend time with submissions that have many grammatical or spelling mistakes, so it is important to know your own limits, learn your weakness, and use your strengths when writing on a freelance basis. There are many freelance writers who consider themselves professionals, but who don?t have the proper training or degree in any field of writing. So, the next step to being a successful freelance writer is to take a writing course or attend a workshop. Learning techniques from an instructor can be very helpful to a freelance career, and may inspire some writers to move higher on the career ladder. Writers may benefit from receiving comments on the quality of their work from instructors and peers, and may benefit from the pressure of writing well on deadlines. Freelancing requires a certain amount of promotion of oneself, and writers must learn how to write query letters to editors well. For freelance writers, a query letter briefly proposes their idea for an article, gives their qualifications as a writer, and makes the editor believe that the idea is better than every other idea out there. Next, the freelance writer should use web sites for writers to improve their writing skills and to find freelance job opportunities. Many writing web sites have features that are very helpful to writers, and some even offer advice and lessons on how to become a freelance writer and how to maintain a freelancing career. Freelance writers may find it difficult to begin their career, but a simple starting point is the local newspaper or local magazines. It is usually best for a writer to contact the local paper or magazine and ask to submit an article ?on spec,? which means the editor may choose not to pay for the article but will be willing to read it. Typically this method works as a good introduction into the freelance process and world, and helps the writer learn the proper techniques for presenting work. Freelance writers should also work on many small points to improve their career, such as professional presentation. It is advisable for a writer to create a portfolio of clips that prove that they have experience as a writer. This may be difficult for inexperienced writers, but they can begin to build their portfolio by volunteering to write for community publications. Online communities also offer writers the opportunity to write and create material for their portfolio. Freelancing may not be desirable for all writers, but for many it is passion, and some believe the writing world cannot survive without freelancers.

Self-Publishing and Other Options Online (how to get a book published online) There?s no question about it. There is more room for more types of writing on the internet. Many people know that getting a book published for the book store shelves is next to impossible. The competition is overwhelming. Most successful writers have already achieved fame and so are able to write book after book. The unknown, though still talented writers are shut out. Publishing books is expensive and time consuming. There are only so many readers in the world. To keep the ratios between writers and readers comfortable, less than one percent of would be writers actually get published. That is all changing now. The internet is big enough for everyone it seems. It offers many more, less expensive publishing opportunities. It also gives exposure to aspiring writers allowing them more chances to impress the hard copy publishers. So, the opportunities are there. Do you want to know how to get a book published online? Is Self-Publishing Cheating? Self-publishing is certainly not cheating. Depending on what your goals are of course, it may or may not be a direction you would like to take. In the hard copy world, self-publishing is cost prohibitive. Actually getting a book into print costs more money than a typically poor beginning writer can muster. That is the great thing about the internet. It?s free. You can either start up a free website of your own and post your novel, or pay a small monthly sum and attempt to sell your writing online. By paying for a website you will be allowed to sell a product from that site. If you can write well enough to catch someone?s attention, they may be willing to pay for a download of your book. That is how to get a book published online. Just do it yourself. You circumvent the normal book publishing costs and still get some exposure. You just may luck out and get the attention of someone who thinks you could make money off of your writing. If you?d really like to hurry up the process to getting your books in print, there is another route to go. Pay to Be Published Everything is cheaper when done ?en masse?. There are book publishers that reduce the cost of publishing by running the presses all of the time. If you?d like to know about another way of how to get a book published online, this is it. With publishing companies though, you don?t have to dream about getting your book on the shelves. The online self-publishing companies require a fee ? which will be much less than if you were to try to print yourself. They use your money to get your writing into print. You have the option of publishing your own book, or for a much smaller investment, to be included in an anthology. You won?t get as much exposure as from a big name publishing company, but it will be significant nonetheless. E-Book Publishers A third road to travel if you?re wondering how to get a book published online is that of e-books. They are another form of writing that can get you the practice and exposure that you need. Instead of writing on a topic of your choice though, e-book assignments are centered on topics that a typical person will search for online. They are normally informative and how-to books. They are usually short and to the point. E-book publishers are willing to pay experienced and capable writers to create book length, researched writing. How about adding that to your resume? Publishing a book online is easier than publishing in the world of hard copy. The end result is not as glorified, but it is a step towards success in the published realm. The more experience you can get writing, the better writer you will be. As the internet becomes more depended upon, you may find yourself on the frontline of the publishing movement.