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Scheduling Hassles Are Disappearing

Written by Brandi Bennett

Monday, October 6th, 2014

google now

Scheduling

Scheduling matters. It’s a concept that everyone is made aware of from an early age; first with working to make sure that you’re up and dressed and ready to go for school on time, and later as a busy entrepreneur, a seasoned CEO, or as a new start-up owner. It doesn’t matter what your position is in the world, from the time that you’re old enough to go to school, you have a basic concept of what a schedule is, and that you’re supposed to be on one.

As you get older, these schedules become more and more important. You’re no longer on your own time as you were when you were a child on those lazy days of summer; the doctor can only see you at a set time, you’ve got to be at work at a certain time, and you’ve got that conference call at a certain time. Everything is on someone’s schedule.

 

Partial Systems

Over time, you come to have a system; that system may be sticky notes all over the place, a calendar on the wall in the kitchen, or even a reminder programmed into your phone. Still, you’ve got to remember to add all those important tasks to that calendar, into your phone, or write them down. The human mind can only remember so many things. If there’s not a system in place, it becomes easy to forget (“failing to plan is planning to fail,” after all). Little things, it may be argued, are okay to forget: failing to pick up an item out of the twenty you need from the grocery store is one thing, but failing to meet your boss to talk about a raise is something else entirely.

 

Tools

With today’s digital world, there are a host of different programs available that work to ensure that you can keep track of the events that make up the fifteen minute blocks of time that your days have been regulated to; still, in order for these tools to work, they require you to remember to input that information into their program.

Every email client and every online email provider has a calendar equivalent that can be utilized, and there are hundreds more that come in the form of apps or programs that may be installed; and yet, none of these are intuitive enough to be able to take your life and act as a secretary, at least, not until now. For those of you who use Gmail, there is a new light on the horizon; if you use Google’s Calendar, Google Now will take the conversations you have in your email and infer calendar events, asking you automatically if you want these events added to your calendar. What’s more is that the program will likewise notify you, based on how you setup the notifications, in advance, thus ensuring that you don’t miss an event simply because you forgot. The program will take everything from confirmation emails regarding travel plans to your message to your next door neighbor asking if he wants to get together for a barbecue on Saturday night and prompt you to see if you want the event added.

Now, it won’t create the events automatically, and if you forget after the notification, it’s hardly the program’s fault, but the fact of the matter is that this is a far more intuitive method than others currently available. Combine this with Google’s ability to setup business email addresses for the company, and you have a way to work to ensure that your employees will be able to make all their meetings without issue. While it’s not the be all and end all for all people, it does offer an additional means of working to ensure that your business runs smoothly, regardless of what that business is.

Performance Testing: Latency, Load, Stress, or Soak?

Written by Natalie Lehrer

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

5 heavy load

How well does your web hosting perform? Are you sending web pages in a timely way to visitors to your site? Is your application correctly handling simultaneous requests? Do you actually know what can be measured – and which measures are relevant to your situation? Web hosting performance testing can give you valuable information that can let you keep visitors longer on your site, make sure you can accept the right number of simultaneous visitors, handle overload situations and detect possible design or programming deficiencies.

 

Latency or How Long It Takes to Get Back to a Visitor

Let’s start with the case of just one visitor (naturally, you’ll probably be aiming for rather more, but we’ll discuss this below.) Normally, you want the response time for that visitor to be as fast as possible. In other words, between the moment when the visitor clicks to send you a request and the moment the visitor sees your response, the least time possible should elapse. This ‘latency’ can however be determined by several different things, including the power of your web hosting platform, the size of your network connection and the power and network speed of your visitor’s computer. You can improve the first two, but the last two are out of your control (although keeping your web pages simple may help.)

 

Performance Under Load

Ideally, you should have an idea of how many visitors are likely to access your web hosting platform at the same time. If this is not feasible, then you should at least know how many average or typical users can actively work with your site simultaneously, and plan ahead for options to increase capacity if you need to. Different solutions, either free or paying, online or in-server, are available for conducting load tests with up to a few million simulated users or more. Whichever solution you choose, make sure your test is representative of both user numbers and types of activity, including number of pages called per hour, number of requests for database information, ‘think time’ and so on.

 

When It’s All Just Too Much

If your web site is significantly more popular than you imagined, your web hosting facility may not be able to cope with all the traffic. Then what happens? Does your site send out a polite apology about lower performance while stopping any new connections, or does it just crash without warning? Stress tests are designed to find out what (really) happens under conditions of excessively high loads. How much this affects you will depend on what kind of website you operate. A web site for a bird spotting association that simply crashes may just be an irritation. A web site selling hot new fashion articles that simply crashes could lose you important revenue and customer loyalty.

 

A More Technical Test

The soak test is done by starting your web site or application and leaving it to run (normally) for an extended period of time to see whether this produces any abnormal conditions either in the application or in the web hosting platform it runs on. One example would be memory leaks, a common enough problem when an application uses some main memory, but fails to return it for general use when it’s finished with it. Testing for these kinds of conditions typically requires technical expertise, for example by the person or team designing the application in the first place.

 

Finally, Who is the Judge of ‘Good Performance’?

Performance, ultimately, is all about making sure customers or end-users are satisfied with what they experience. Your web hosting platform may be supercharged in processor power and memory, yet they may still complain. Or it may be far more modest and still reply adequately to user expectations. Falling traffic and user comments on your blog (or similar) may indicate a problem, but prevention is always better than cure. There’s only one way to find out what users really want, and that’s to ask them. Armed with this information, you can then do the right performance tests and confirm or tweak afterwards, as appropriate.

 

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Author Bio:
Natalie Lehrer is a senior contributor for CloudWedge. In her spare time, Natalie enjoys exploring all things cloud and is a music enthusiast. Follow Natalie’s daily posts on Google Plus, Twitter @Cloudwedge, or on Facebook.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/video4net/4102797678/in/photolist-7fxUP1-csmoYf-7C3yps-9RCj9C-ahC6R9-zhLTR-65ho4J-65hog3-65d6Gc-65d7Ex-65d7ug-65d7i6-9ME8p3-aWJPyZ-65jBWR-7C3ypb-7C3yoN-7BYKHv-7C3yoY-4Whues-9oXHMe-4So2a5-wEq41-6F8avn-xvcic-dzZjrH-4So2pQ-9kzTZu-ayfSbd-zhMYn-ahCo27-8KtMnD-5NFE6D-9ME8pd-8kQ3b-4So2Zo-4SiPLi-8p1sAC-hYuBDZ-9ME8p9-9ME8ph-deYPPh-ahzkA6-zhMYj-xvcia-enp8Um-ahC7HY-ahCnjS-ahzA8t-ahCns5

Your Business To The Power Of Google

Written by Michael Dickens II

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Google Apps Work HostGator

What do you do when one of the world’s most innovative companies of all time reaches out to you and your business and says, “We want to help?” Here’s a hint: take their hand and say “thank you” without any hesitation. Some things just make sense… and sometimes saying “no” makes no sense at all.

Cue, the mighty Google. What can be said about the company whose name has not only become synonymous with Internet searches but has actually become a verb; an honor reserved for only the most creative and unique individuals and entities in existence. Google has long been a standout for more than what they bring to the table; who they invite to the table with them is of equal importance. And, this time, they are inviting you.

Google Apps is a suite of tools, most of which you’re likely already familiar with (Gmail, anyone?) that are designed to streamline your business. HostGator now uses Google Apps internally for our email, document sharing, video conferencing, calendars, and so forth. Google Apps has literally changed the way we function, day to day.

Here is a brief snapshot of the things Google wants to do for you, aside from provide you with an excellent suite of fully useable tools:

  • Help ensure your business is HIPPA, PCI, SOX compliant
  • Provide you with their SLA for your internal AND external mail
  • Reduce your required IT costs
  • Improve your communications with conference functions
  • Establish a secure backbone for your internal and external interfacing
  • Maximize your project management efficiency with synced calendars
  • Bolster your branding and SEO efforts
  • Facilitate editing in multiple document formats without purchase of a license

 

This is a very big deal. In short, these benefits are amazing. Whether for your independent consultancy, your medium sized growing business or if your company has recently gone public, Google Apps for your business is possibly the best and arguably the most important move you can make. The biggest benefit of all? Making your life more simple. Now HostGator can help as well. Not only are we customers of Google ourselves, but we’ve now partnered with Google to offer Google Apps for business directly to you.

To learn more about our Google Apps offerings, including full details and how to order, please see our related KnowledgeBase article: http://support.hostgator.com/articles/articles/hosting-guide/lets-get-started/google-apps.

The Shell Shock Vulnerability

Written by Sean Valant

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

The bad guys are unfortunately at it again. Today the Internet lit up with news of a new vulnerability, officially named “CVE-2014-6271,” but more widely-known as “Shell Shock,” a reference to the environment exploited, known as a shell.. The shell in question is called BASH, itself an acronym for Bourne Again SHell. Nearly all Linux servers in the world have BASH installed; it is the most common shell in use today. A shell itself is what is used to interact with the operating system via command line.

Before we proceed, you should know that all HostGator servers have been patched as of this writing. We identified the issue very early-on and developed the necessary solution for our environment. We are, of course, continuing to monitor the situation and will react appropriately should the need arise.

As with any security or vulnerability risk, it is important to reiterate the importance of practicing good security to the extent of your ability as an end user. Always use secure passwords (you know the drill: upper- and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters), always keep any third-party scripts (such as WordPress, Joomla, etc.) up-to-date, and always uses the latest version of any software that you utilize… because the truth is that often software is updated strictly for security patch purposes.

Should the need arise, we will update this blog post accordingly. Otherwise, stay safe out there on the Interwebs!

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