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Web Hosting - The Internet and How It Works
In one sense, detailing the statement in the title would require at least a book. In another sense, it can't be fully explained at all, since there's no central authority that designs or implements the highly distributed entity called The Internet.
But the basics can certainly be outlined, simply and briefly. And it's in the interest of any novice web site owner to have some idea of how their tree fits into that gigantic forest, full of complex paths, that is called the Internet.
The analogy to a forest is not far off. Every computer is a single plant, sometimes a little bush sometimes a mighty tree. A percentage, to be sure, are weeds we could do without. In networking terminology, the individual plants are called 'nodes' and each one has a domain name and IP address. Connecting those nodes are paths.
The Internet, taken in total, is just the collection of all those plants and the pieces that allow for their interconnections - all the nodes and the paths between them.
Servers and clients (desktop computers, laptops, PDAs, cell phones and more) make up the most visible parts of the Internet. They store information and programs that make the data accessible. But behind the scenes there are vitally important components - both hardware and software - that make the entire mesh possible and useful.
Though there's no single central authority, database, or computer that creates the World Wide Web, it's nonetheless true that not all computers are equal. There is a hierarchy. That hierarchy starts with a tree with many branches: the domain system.
Designators like .com, .net, .org, and so forth are familiar to everyone now. Those basic names are stored inside a relatively small number of specialized systems maintained by a few non-profit organizations. They form something called the TLD, the Top Level Domains. From there, company networks and others form what are called the Second Level Domains, such as Microsoft.com.
That's further sub-divided into www.Microsoft.com which is, technically, a sub-domain but is sometimes mis-named 'a host' or a domain. A host is the name for one specific computer. That host name may or may not be, for example, 'www' and usually isn't. The domain is the name without the 'www' in front. Finally, at the bottom of the pyramid, are the individual hosts (usually servers) that provide actual information and the means to share it.
Those hosts (along with other hardware and software that enable communication, such as routers) form a network. The set of all those networks taken together is the physical aspect of the Internet.
There are less obvious aspects, too, that are essential. When you click on a URL (Uniform Resource Locator, such as http://www.microsoft.com) on a web page, your browser sends a request through the Internet to connect and get data. That request, and the data that is returned from the request, is divided up into packets (chunks of data wrapped in routing and control information).
That's one of the reasons you will often see your web page getting painted on the screen one section at a time. When the packets take too long to get where they're supposed to go, that's a 'timeout'. Suppose you request a set of names that are stored in a database. Those names, let's suppose get stored in order. But the packets they get shoved into for delivery can arrive at your computer in any order. They're then reassembled and displayed.
All those packets can be directed to the proper place because they're associated with a specified IP address, a numeric identifier that designates a host (a computer that 'hosts' data). But those numbers are hard to remember and work with, so names are layered on top, the so-called domain names we started out discussing.
Imagine the postal system (the Internet). Each home (domain name) has an address (IP address). Those who live in them (programs) send and receive letters (packets). The letters contain news (database data, email messages, images) that's of interest to the residents.
The Internet is very much the same.
A Writer?s Best Friend: The Job of an Editor (editing) Are you irritated by typos and spelling errors in professional documents? Are you able to help your friends make their writing error free? You may be a good candidate for editing. The world is incredibly dependent on writers and the craft of writing. It is how people communicate with each other most often. As the internet writing forms do not require people to hold to correct grammar, spelling or professional style, most writers are losing their capabilities to complete a professional document or book without help. Writers have always needed the help of editors. Even when there was strict attention to correct writing, editors could come and catch missed errors as well as mistakes in content. Editors are still needed today. Read on to find out more about what can be involved in a life of editing. Who are the Editors? Editors are those people with the ability to read a document and guide a writer to make it the best piece of writing that it can be. Editors work in newspapers, and magazines. They also work for publishing companies and in student resource centers. Editors generally have some education that leads them to the ability to help writers. They probably have a degree in language as well as training with style manuals. What is the Job? An editing job involves taking a piece of writing and conforming it to some particular set of standards. Style manuals are often the standard used. Different publications will choose a style and then ask the editors to make all of the writing that comes out to be consistent to that style. Editing is not only concerned with objective corrections like spelling and grammar though. An editor must also read for clarity, consistency and voice. If a writer claims one thing in one point of their piece and seems to contradict that point in another part, it is the editor?s job to catch the mistake and work with the writer to fix the inconsistency. If the writer is speaking authoritatively in the beginning of a piece and then becomes apologetic later, it is the editor?s job to make the tone match. Editors help with sentence construction, word choice and content order. How to Find Editing Jobs If any of the above job description sounds interesting and even exciting to you, you just may have found your ideal job calling. Before you start looking for editing jobs, you should test your skills. There are editing tests online. Feel free to use a style manual as well as your intuition as you correct the sentences and word choice in the different test questions. If you do not pass the test, you should probably spend a little more time reading a style manual and a basic grammar guide. Once you can ace an editing test, it?s time to look for a job. Be sure to include any experience you may have had. Include any editing of any kind you have ever done. Peer editing in school is appropriate experience to mention. Also be sure to list any style you are able to edit to. Examples are AP, Chicago, MLA, and so on. If you get an interview, be prepared to take another editing test, with the help of your manual. The test will likely be timed. Editing is a rewarding career. It involves helping writers to do their very best writing geared to their particular audience. While it can be stressful because of deadlines and workload, at the end of the day you will know that you have made the world of the written word a little cleaner and much more effective. Editors are an essential part of making the written word what it is today.