Midway through Heroes: Season 3 I realized how quickly video streaming technology has evolved in the last few years. Think about the multitude of ways you can now get your fix.
Loren brought to my attention another category which I left off entirely, which is software/hardware combos for consuming the aforementioned services:
Just 15 years ago that list was a lot smaller: TV, video rental stores, VCR.
What’s your favorite viewing service?
Do you have an economy-grade website host? Me too. BlueHost is great for only $6.95 per month but its response times and transfer rates are terrible. Fear not — Amazon S3 to the rescue. For pennies a day you can supplement your cheap website host using Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3).
Amazon S3 is storage for the Internet. It is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers.
Amazon S3 provides a simple web services interface that can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web. It gives any developer access to the same highly scalable, reliable, fast, inexpensive data storage infrastructure that Amazon uses to run its own global network of web sites. The service aims to maximize benefits of scale and to pass those benefits on to developers.
It is simple. So simple.
- Sign up for an account.
- Download and install the awesome S3 Firefox Organizer (S3Fox) Firefox add-on.
- Upload the files you want to be served up like hotcakes.
Update the links in your HTML files to point to the new location.
Note that the example is intended to show the format of the URL and does not point to a valid resource.
How much does it cost?
Very little, unless your site becomes wildly popular. 1 million requests costs one dollar plus 17 cents per GB transfered. That’s right. 1,000,000 GET requests = $1.00 + $0.17/GB.
Let’s assume the average size of the elements being served from your Amazon S3 bucket is 10KB.
10KB = 0.01MB = 0.00001GB
1,000,000 requests x 0.00001GB = 10GB
10GB x $0.17/GB = $1.70
1,000,000 requests x $0.01/10,000 requests = $1.00
Total Download Cost: $2.70
Your cheap site can now support 1,000,000 requests per month for a whopping $9.65 ($6.95 for BlueHost and $2.70 for Amazon S3). And if your site gets Dugg or on the front page of Reddit, Amazon S3 will scale without sweating a drop.
Unfortunately, many websites that collect email addresses do so without your best wishes in mind. Case and point: I decided to help meetup.com this evening by clicking on one of their sponsored ads. Because of the way Google AdWords/AdSense works, the ad hoster may not get any revenue unless the user takes a certain action on the advertiser’s site. The call to action on the landing page consisted of a form with fields for name and email address which one would submit in order to receive a free ebook.
Anytime you have to fill out a form with your email to get something “free”, alarms should go off in your head. They do in mine! And in this instance I’m so thankful for a free little service called 10 Minute Mail. Take a look at the picture below and you’ll immediately see why.
In two minutes I received three emails. I could maybe see why I would get two emails: one as a welcome and another with my free ebook. But why the 3rd? And if they did things right, why the 2nd? Why not just make the “free” ebook link in the welcome email be the activation link? I don’t get it.
A beautiful thing happened only minutes later. My email address self-destructed. Ahhhh the bliss! Never again do I have to worry about receiving spam from that awful company. Thank you, 10 Minute Mail!
$utc_time = "2009-01-12 21:28:21"; // As pulled from the database
date_default_timezone_set("America/New_York"); // Set to Eastern time (automatically handles daylight savings time)
// Here's the secret: add a Z (for zulu) to the end of your UTC date/time string
$utc_time .= "Z";
// Now convert to the current timezone
$cur_date = strftime("%G-%m-%d %H:%M:%S", strtotime($utc_time)); // Format as YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS
The result: 2009-01-12 16:28:21
How do you handle this? Let me know in the comments.
Today is very special. After 150 hours of hard work and sleepless nights, I have released Stock Rider, a flash-based game where you ski real market data.
This is my first big Flash piece and I am so happy with the results. It uses Box2D for Flash as the physics engine, incorporates sounds, side-scrolling, high score submitting, pulling external data, and so much more. Please take a few minutes to check it out…it’s really quite fun. If you can’t get the hang of it, let me know in the comments and I’ll see if I can help you out.
A special thanks goes out to the following people: