Saturday Nov 21, 2009

links for 2009-11-21: Using EC2 to bypass IT; Why not Affero GPL?; Wolfram Alpha

Thursday Oct 01, 2009

Amazon Public Data Sets

I follow the Amazon Web Services Blog and recently saw several announcements about new Public Data Sets being available.  What is a public data set you ask?  From the web-site:

Public Data Sets on AWS provides a centralized repository of public data sets that can be seamlessly integrated into AWS cloud-based applications. AWS is hosting the public data sets at no charge for the community, and like all AWS services, users pay only for the compute and storage they use for their own applications.

What is cool about this is that it greatly simplifies getting access to large sets of data that while public in the past, were difficult to work with as you had to download, install, load, and otherwise provide the infrastructure for and manage all the data yourself.

The one that caught my eye was the Daily Global Weather data set.  Now, I haven't used this yet and there are other great resources for local weather station data like the Weather Underground (where I upload my station data by the way), but this is a great way to gain access to a bunch of historical weather data.  Other data sets include census data, Wikipedia data, geographic data, and more.

One drawback for data sets that are continuing to be updated each day, like historical weather data, is that you aren't accessing a continually updated data store, rather you are creating your own EBS volume from a snapshot.  This means (if I understand all this correctly) that if you need the most recent data, the snapshot must be updated regularly and you would have to update your EBS volume from it manually.  Or perhaps there are tools to assist with that.

All in all, a useful service, and a great move by Amazon to drive more users to EC2. 

Monday Sep 21, 2009

links for 2009-9-22: Top-10 IT moments; Wireless boosters; Apple Lied?; AWS in Europe; Java not dead

Friday Aug 28, 2009

links for 2009-8-28: Flight Delay Predictions; Store wind power as compressed air; WPA cracked; iPhone App Store trevails

  • FlightCaster - AWS-Powered Flight Delay Prediction - Cool idea, I'll give it a shot on my next flight. Blurb in story about it running on AWS and being built on a budget less than $1M. I'm not sure I'd call less than 60 minutes only "slightly delayed" though! Also interesting the web-site is free, iPhone app is $4.99, but then BlackBerry app is $9.99.
  • PG&E to compress air to store wind power - Sounds more efficient for handling bursts than the other alternatives.
  • Researchers crack WPA Wi-Fi encryption in 60 seconds - All the more reason to use WPA2.
  • Not wanting to expose NSFW links, 1 in 4 Firefox 2 users avoid upgrading to FF3 - This is hilarious.  Folks, if you don't want a trail, don't visit the site!  But the new feature is nice.
  • Dear Apple: Where’s Facebook 3.0? - If getting Facebook 3.0 out sooner will result in selling more iPhones and iPod Touches, Apple cares.  If not, they don't care about how quickly or even if apps get approved.  There are over 50,000 apps now and that is what they market.  And there is an existing Facebook app there already.  What difference does it make to the general population and thus their market, the consumer, if a few don't make it or this new Facebook app takes a little while?  Have we not learned that yet?  Further, if Apple were to give preferential treatment to approving this app quicker, that would only serve to set precedent that if you announce submission to the world you get better treatment.  I wouldn't be surprised if they actually drag their feet on this one to set an example.

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