Amazon’s Start-Up Event Tour 2008: San Francisco

Amazon held another event focused on educating start-ups and existing tech companies about their web services offerings and how to integrate them into they current (or new) businesses. I attended a similar event previously at Mezzanine in SF, but this time around we’re in the Sir Francis Drake Hotel (near Union Square).

So far I would estimate around 90 – 95% males, and perhaps even a higher than SF-usual ratio of about 90% Mac laptops in use. (more…)

Redundancy, Performance and Geo-Optimization with S3 and CDNs

Disclaimer: This is a theory, I haven’t tried this out (anyone at EdgeCast want to confirm/give me a free account to try it out? ๐Ÿ™‚ )

I was looking at ways to store large volumes of user-uploaded resources (images) in a web environment tonight and had a bit of an epiphany. I had defaulted to Amazon’s S3 web service as the storage platform, since I’ve worked with it before and love the idea of an “unlimited”, fully-redundant storage device. The main problem with S3 however, is that it’s got less than stellar performance as far as latency and geographically-optimized delivery. That, and the bandwidth is relatively expensive.

So — what happens if you combine S3 with a Content Delivery Network of some sort? (more…)

MyBabyOurBaby is officially live!

As you may know, I’ve been working on a project for a while now, which has finally gone live, with open registrations. That project is My Baby Our Baby.

The idea of the site is to give parents and families a secure place online where they can compile a journal of memories for their children. We’re focusing primarily on photos right now, but hope to include video and audio as we progress. Here’s a couple of the things that I think make MyBaby unique or worth a look:

  • Unlimited uploads (backed by Amazon S3)
  • You choose to have your book open to the public (for reading), or completely invite-only.
  • Once they join your book via invitation, other people can add their own photos and stories to your book as well
  • We have some really beautiful book themes (and more coming) care of Ray Hernandez/Stoodio
  • We’ve created a forum on the site as well to allow people to interact across books (anyone who’s a member can post) and ask each other questions etc.
  • You can try it out for free!

Right now, people get 3 weeks to try it out for free, after that, if they like it, it’s $8 a month to continue using the service. This covers you for as much as you (and all the members of your book) want to upload. You can pay for more than a month at a time and get a discount as well. We’re trying out a slightly different method of payment where subscriptions aren’t actually available in a traditional set-your-details-and-forget way. What we’re doing is allowing anyone who’s a member of the book to contribute by paying for as much (or as little) as they like. We’re hoping that rather than the parent having to pay every month, other people in the family will chip in and cover the cost of keeping the book running if they see value in it.

Ray and I are really excited now that it’s live, and very nervous to see where it goes. We’ve spent a lot of time working on this and refining things, so it’s great to finally have some other people using it.

Now for the real work — keeping it up and running and constantly improving it for our new users!