Simon Willison’s Weblog

62 items tagged “amazon”


Cheap, Easy Audio Transcription with Mechanical Turk. Andy Baio’s in-depth tutorial on submitting HITs to Mechanical Turk. I hadn’t realised how straight forward and powerful the interface has become. # 25th September 2008, 6:37 pm

Google’s Usability Research on Federated Login. Fascinating—suggests an approach to federated auth based on the “Yes, I have a password” login flow. Feels convoluted to me but apparently it tests really well against a mainstream audience. The more research shared around this stuff the better. # 22nd September 2008, 8:56 pm

We’re Never Content. Amazon will be releasing a proper edge caching CDN on top of S3 “before the end of the year”. # 18th September 2008, 12:30 pm

Persistent Django on Amazon EC2 and EBS—the easy way. Useful tutorial on getting Django up and running on EC2 with EBS for a persistent PostgreSQL database. # 21st August 2008, 9:32 pm

Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS). EC2 just got a whole lot more useful—you can now create “block level storage volumes” (think virtual hard drives) and mount them to an EC2 instance for real persistent storage—but because they’re virtual you can clone them, snapshot them and benefit from automatic replication. # 21st August 2008, 10:15 am

Amazon S3 Availability Event: July 20, 2008. Don’t let the newspeak put you off; this is an honest and informative description of the bug that took down S3 last Sunday, although it does include the world’s longest way of saying “we turned it off and on again”. # 27th July 2008, 5:42 pm

Browser Uploads to S3 using HTML POST Forms. I didn’t know you could do this: create a regular HTML form that gives people permission to upload direct to your own S3 bucket, using a signed JSON policy statement in a hidden form field to prevent third parties from abusing your S3 account. # 27th June 2008, 12:11 pm

[Amazon’s] forthcoming persistent storage feature will give you the ability to create reliable, persistent storage volumes for use with EC2. Once created, these volumes will be part of your account and will have a lifetime independent of any particular EC2 instance.

Jeff Barr # 14th April 2008, 7:50 am

EC2: Introducing Elastic IP Addresses and Availability Zones. Big news from Amazon: EC2 can now provide static IP addresses which you can dynamically map to one of your instances, along with “availability zones” so you can specify that instances run in different data centres. Hosting an entire application on EC2 just got a whole lot more practical. # 27th March 2008, 10:33 am amazon oddities. Warning: reading the user reviews on these items has the potential to soak up hours. # 21st March 2008, 2:54 am


Eventually Consistent. Werner Vogels explains the trade-offs involved in building scalable, highly-available data stores such as Amazon’s SimpleDB. # 20th December 2007, 5:59 pm

Amazon SimpleDB overview. Attribute values are limited to 1,024 bytes; Amazon suggest that you store larger fields in S3 and use SimpleDB to query metadata about those objects. # 14th December 2007, 11:39 am

What You Need To Know About Amazon SimpleDB. Amazon have finally launched the database component of their web service suite. It fits a bunch of current trends: key/value pairs, schemaless, built on top of Erlang. “Eventual consistency” is an interesting characteristic. # 14th December 2007, 11:21 am

“The Definitive Guide to Django” is now shipping from Amazon. The book looks absolutely fantastic (bias disclosure: I contributed the newforms chapter)—huge congratulations to Adrian and Jacob. # 11th December 2007, 9:12 pm

ErlyWeb vs. Ruby on Rails EC2 Performance Showdown. ErlyWeb’s peak response rate beats Rails by 47x, albeit with a hugely simplified benchmark. More interesting than the results is the idea of using EC2 for benchmarking on identical simulated hardware. # 10th December 2007, 3:27 pm

Amazon Gets an SLA (But I Still Can’t Use It). “Ontario’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Acts (FIPPA) don’t allow me to store sensitive information (e.g., students’ work) in jurisdictions that permit secret warrants, like those mandated by the USA PATRIOT Act.” # 9th October 2007, 3 pm

Amazon S3 Service Level Agreement (via) Went in to effect on the 1st of October. Promises 99.9% uptime over a monthly billing cycle or you get “service credits” towards future S3 payments. # 9th October 2007, 12:52 am

Amazon makes you lie to log off (via) Amazingly, the only way to sign out of Amazon these days is to use the “If you’re not XXX, click here” link—the traditional “sign out” link has quietly vanished. # 2nd October 2007, 1:19 pm

DRM-free MP3 downloads from Amazon. The good: they have what looks like the entire Universal and EMI catalogues in DRM-free 256bit MP3s. The bad: you need a US billing address! So close... # 25th September 2007, 4:30 pm

Amazon guide to ripping your CDs. “Many of our customers have already figured out that one cheap way to get DRM-free MP3 files is to buy them on CD and rip them themselves.” # 21st September 2007, 11:20 pm

Amazon EC2 Basics For Python Programmers. Detailed introduction and tutorial from James Gardner. # 3rd September 2007, 6:20 pm

Processing Web Documents using Alexa Web Search, Amazon S3 and Amazon EC2. I’m not sure when it happened, but Alexa Web Search can be hooked in to EC2 now—presumably with free bandwidth between the two. # 1st July 2007, 7:19 pm

Mass Video Conversion Using AWS. How to use S3, SQS, EC2, ffmpeg and some Python to bulk convert videos with Amazon Web Services. # 3rd April 2007, 11:44 pm

Oxford Geek Night 2

If you missed the last Oxford Geek Night, you really owe it to yourself to make it to the next one. If you were there then you shouldn’t need any convincing.

[... 180 words]

Chris Shiflett: My Amazon Anniversary. Chris Shiflett discloses an unfixed CSRF vulnerability in Amazon’s 1-Click feature that lets an attacker add items to your shopping basket—after reporting the vulnerability to Amazon a year ago! # 16th March 2007, 10:16 am

boto. Python library for accessing Amazon’s S3, SQS and EC2 Web Services, with excellent documentation. # 11th February 2007, 12:17 am


Abusing Amazon images (via) Amazon have an amazingly flexible API for generating and modifying product images. # 14th December 2006, 7:38 pm

How I’m using Amazon S3 to serve media files. Adrian’s saving server overhead on ChicagoCrime by serving media from S3. # 7th April 2006, 6:51 pm