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The "Catch" to Some of these Freebie Sites Remember that old saying, "There's no such thing as a free lunch?" Well, it's not true—there are plenty of freebies out there. However, there are some things you should know about if you are going to go after these freebies. The World Wide Web is awash with web sites that like to offer visitors with loads of tempting freebies. But although many of these are legitimate offers, there are some things you should know about these freebie sites. Here are some things to know about these freebie sites. Getting Things for Free—A Caveat Here is the basic caveat when it comes to these freebie offers—there is usually something you will have to endure in order to get your freebie. Although you may not have to make any sort of financial contribution or monetary expense, you will have to pay in some small non-monetary way. Here is a quick rundown of various kinds of 'catches' that you may come across as you seek out the best of the web's freebies. Watching Ads Before You Get to the Good Stuff One of the most common techniques that websites will use before you can get access to their freebies is to force you to watch ads. There are many different versions of this method. Many sites that promote freebies will support their site through advertisements. Most advertisements show up as pop-up or banner ads. Some websites also use video websites. With the ubiquity of high speed Internet, video ads have lately become the preferred method of advertisement on many websites. The less subtle of these ads are the pop-up and banner ads. Pop-up ads are often quite obtrusive and they can interrupt your enjoyment of the website. You might want to avoid ad-based freebie sites at work, as these can often interfere with your screen. Many popular freebie websites also offer ad-free versions of their content. This may be something to consider if you really find the website's content valuable. Be Wary of Automatic E-mail Sign-Ups Many freebie websites will sign you up automatically for their email newsletters. The worst-case scenario is when the website allows its partners to bombard you with email ads. What is the best way to avoid getting on an unwanted email list? Read the fine print, and whenever you get the option, uncheck the opt-in box at the very bottom of the page. Take Care of Your Privacy Many sites that offer freebies make money by selling the personal information that they gain from their web traffic. In order to avoid having your personal information being sold, you should avoid giving your personal information to websites that can't provide you with an upfront privacy policy. You should also look for the TRUSTe seal that ensures your personal information is kept secure and private. Also, never provide more information than you need to provide. Avoid Large Downloads Whenever Possible Another thing you should watch out for are large downloads. Although there are many legitimate large downloads out there, you should avoid sites that don't tell you exactly what you are downloading, how long the download will take, and how big the file size is. Watch Out for Disappearing Websites If there is one thing to know about freebie websites is that they are often 'here today, gone tomorrow' type enterprises. Many freebie websites simply don't survive for very long. You should think hard before committing to a website that offers free services that you will have to depend on. The last thing you want is to depend on a website's services, and then have those services disappear or suspended.

Web Hosting - Changing Web Hosts, Pitfalls and Planning At some point, nearly everyone finds it necessary to change web hosts. It may be just a migration to another server, or it may be changing web hosting companies entirely. Either way, the process is fraught with potential dangers. But there are ways to minimize the odds of problems and maximize your changes of a smooth migration. Plan, plan, plan. Make a very detailed list of everything that is on your current system. Review what is static and what changes frequently. Note any tailoring done to software and files. Be prepared to remake them if the systems aren't transferred properly or can't be restored. Keep careful track of all old and new names, IP addresses and other information needed to make the migration. Backup and Test Backup everything on your system yourself, whenever possible. Web hosting companies typically offer that as a service, but the staff and/or software are often less than par. Often backups appear to go well, but they're rarely tested by restoring to a spare server. When the time comes that they're needed, they sometimes don't work. Do a dry run, if you can. Restore the system to its new location and make any needed changes. If you have the host name and or IP address buried in files, make sure it gets changed. This is often true of databases. SQL Server on Windows, for example, picks up the host name during installation. Moving a single database, or even multiple ones, to a new server is straightforward using in-built utilities or commercial backup/restore software. But moving certain system-related information may require changing the host name stored inside the master database. Similar considerations apply to web servers and other components. Accept Some Downtime Be prepared for some downtime. Very few systems can be picked up, moved to another place, then brought online with zero downtime. Doing so is possible, in fact it's common. But in such scenarios high-powered professionals use state-of-the-art tools to make the transition seamless. Most staff at web hosting companies don't have the skills or the resources to pull it off. Prepare for Name Changes One aspect of moving to a new host can bedevil the most skilled professionals: changing domain names and or domain name/IP address combinations. When you type a URL into your browser, or click on one, that name is used because it's easier for people to remember. www.yahoo.com is a lot easier to remember than 209.131.36.158. Yet the name and or name/IP address combination can (and does) change. Still, specialized servers called DNS (Domain Name System) servers have to keep track of them. And there are a lot of them. There may be only two (rarely) or there may be a dozen or more DNS servers between your visitors' browsers/computers and your web host. Every system along the chain has to keep track of who is who. When a name/IP address changes, that pair has to be communicated to everyone along the chain, and that takes time. In the meantime, it's possible for one visitor to find you at the new place, while another will be pointing to the old one. Some amount of downtime will usually occur while everything gets back in sync. The Little Gotchas But even apart from name and IP address changes, there are a hundred little things that can, and often do, go wrong. That's not a disaster. It's just the normal hurdles that arise when changing something as complicated as a web site and the associated systems that underlie it. Gather Tools and Support Having an FTP program that you're familiar with will help facilitate the change. That will allow you to quickly move files from one place to the next to do your part to get the system ready to go or make repairs. Making the effort to get to know, and become friendly with, support staff at the new site can be a huge benefit. They may be more willing to address your problem before the dozen others they have to deal with at any given moment. Ok. On your mark. Get ready. Go.

Free Fun Game Favorites on the Net The World Wide Web has become a repository of free entertainment. You can find everything from funny clips to interactive games. Where can you go for the best games on the Web? Here are some of the top sites for online gaming that is fast, free and fun. Ready to Play? Check Out These Great Websites Are you ready for the best in online gaming? There are many top gaming sites that can get you gaming and having a blast in no time. One of the top gaming sites is the MSN Gaming Zone. This site has over 100 free and fun games. They also offer free trials of the hottest games. This is where you can find some of the web's best gamers. Another popular site is Heat.net. You can bring the heat on this hot gaming website, featuring over 115 online multiplayer game downloads. This site is home to such popular games as Diablo and Warcraft II. In order to play most of the games on this website, you will need to download the software. Ready to get the hottest shortcuts? If so, you will want to head for GoCheat.com. Even the most honest soul needs to get their fill of cheat codes. As all true gamers know, cheat codes can provide you with a fun and easy way to maneuver around a game. You can save your game and jump ahead with the right cheat code. For those of you that don't care for complicated or violent games, head on over to Pogo.com to get your own dose of gaming fun. Pogo.com features classic board games and casino games, including bingo, poker and other classic games. Make Your Computer Your Own Movie Theater Do you have a couple of hours to kick back in front of the computer? Do you love movies and are interested in cutting edge film? If so, you will enjoy the entertainment that you can find on the World Wide Web. One of the most popular sites for short films is Atom Films. You can watch an original short (or long film) right on your computer. Atom Films is well known for showcasing innovative short films. Atom Films even featured the winner of the 2000 Academy Award for best live action short film. You can even find short works by famous stars, such as George Clooney and Jennifer Aniston. The Sync is another great site for video entertainment. The Sync offers more edgy film shorts than other online short video websites. Who Doesn't Enjoy a Good Puzzle? Work Out Your Brain at these Websites If crossword puzzles are your thing, you will surely appreciate, the selection of games put forth by yahoo games. This site contains a host of fun, classic puzzlers. Yahoo game gives you a shot at a daily puzzle. Another great place to check out if you are a puzzle fan is the Puzzle Depot. The Puzzle Depot has a neat pattern-matching tool that can help you in a crunch. Choose from a range of difficulty levels from your crossword puzzles. For a Bit of High Culture on the Web If you feel like treating yourself to a bit of high culture on the Web, take an art break with artmusuem.net. This neat website gives you a 3D experience tour of many of the finest museums in the world. This is much easier than buying a ticket and flying over to Paris. This website offers you the full experience of some of the world's greatest museums, including audio narrative, and a neat zoom-in function that gets you within a nose of some of the world's greatest masterpieces.