Amazon Web Service to Open New Region in Indonesia

Among many services provided by Amazon Web Service (AWS), I use its Amazon S3 more than any other services provided. Lucky that it has Singapore edge location for the service.

In the latest press release, AWS will open a new region in Indonesia. It’s a good news. The only thing AWS users need to do is just waiting for the service to be available, and it is expected to be available in late 2021 or early 2022

Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company (NASDAQ: AMZN), today announced it will open an infrastructure region in Indonesia by the end of 2021 / early 2022. The new AWS Asia Pacific (Jakarta) Region will consist of three Availability Zones at launch, and will be AWS’s ninth region in Asia Pacific, joining existing regions in Beijing, Mumbai, Ningxia, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, and an upcoming region in Hong Kong SAR. Currently, AWS provides 61 Availability Zones across 20 infrastructure regions worldwide, with another 12 Availability Zones across four AWS Regions in Bahrain, Hong Kong SAR, Italy, and South Africa expected to come online by the first half of 2020.

Amazon Press Release, April 3, 2019: AWS to Open New Region in Indonesia

Photon: WordPress.com's Content Delivery Network

Dealing with side loads for heavy-traffic website sometime can be painful. But, of course there are some common practice to deal with this kind of situation. For example, you can take advantage of cache system, offload to other service to reduce server load/bandwidth, or using CDN (Content Delivery Network).
For WordPress-powered sites, you can take advantage from its Jetpack. This free plugin offered lots of handy features to help you work with your WordPress installation. One of them is a featured called Photon.

Give your site a boost by loading images in posts from the WordPress.com content delivery network. We cache your images and serve them from our super-fast network, reducing the burden on your Web host with the click of a button.

That’s right. You should see some big hints there: content delivery network, cache, super-fast network. To activate this feature, just hit the “Activate” button, and you’re set. All your uploaded media files will be served using WordPress.com infrastructure. After having this feature activated, all image URLs in your posts will be modified. For example:

  • Original URL: http://domain.com/dotsios300.png
  • New URL: http://i2.wp.com/domain.com/dotsios300.png

If you are interested, here is an example of the image header served from WordPress.com network.

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Accept-Ranges: bytes
Cache-Control: public, max-age=63115200
Content-Type: image/png
Date: Sun, 06 Oct 2013 17:06:28 GMT
Expires: Wed, 07 Oct 2015 05:06:26 GMT
Last-Modified: Sun, 06 Oct 2013 17:05:27 GMT
Server: ECS (sin/47C6)
X-Bytes-Saved: 8597
X-Cache: HIT
X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff
X-nc: HIT iad 90
Content-Length: 46456

Dots


This game is called “Dots“. It’s very basic. No complicated how-to’s, tutorials, levels, or scores. I need to connect two or more dots (in same color). I can do it horizontally  or vertically. But not diagonally. And, that’s it. It’s about connecting.
This simple game is developed by Betaworks, available for free.
Anyway, according to the statistics, this simple game has been downloaded more than 1 million times in one week, and 25 million games has been played.

Amazon Glacier and S3

Amazon Glacier differs from S3 in two crucial ways:

First, S3 is optimized for rapid retrieval (generally tens to hundreds of milliseconds per request). Glacier is not (we didn’t call it Glacier for nothing). With Glacier, your retrieval requests are queued up and honored at a somewhat leisurely pace. Your archive will be available for downloading in 3 to 5 hours. Secondly, S3 allows you to assign the name of your choice to each object. In order to keep costs as low as possible, Glacier will assign a unique id to each of your archives at upload time.

 

Snapjoy: Backup and organize your photos


As a person who loves to photography, I think Snapjoy is an answer to some problems. What is Snapjoy? It’s a service that will help you organize your photos. The word ‘organize’ here is about putting photos you’ve uploaded to multiple services in one place, and organize them. Anyway, I like its name: ‘snap’ and ‘joy’.
There are a lot of tools and services that deals with photos. There are many ways to take photos (digital cameras and mobile devies), and to share photos (you can name services that put photos as their primary contents). But, there are problems:

  • It takes time to have them organised in one place. I like having my photos uploaded to Flickr. I like sharing photos using Instagram. Some of you might also live to have your photos stored to Google Picasa. Some photos go to one service, and the others go to another services. They’re all might be distributed.
  • Not all services are integrated one another. If I upload a my photo to Instagram, I can directly upload it to Flickr for example. But, I don’t this for some reasons.
  • Backup, and backup. Photos are memories. I want to keep it safe. Having them stored in a hardrive is great, but if you have lots of photos, it takes more effort to have them organised and backed up. Yes, there is a service like Backupify that will help you backup your photos from Flickr to storage service. It’s an option.

Having valuable contents backed up and distributed in multiple locations is a good scenario. But, having all of them organised is another thing to think about.

Snapjoy answers some of these problems. By having an account at Snapjoy — it’s free –, you will be able to import (well, I think it can be defined as “backup” too) all you photos from multiple services. Currently, you can import  your Instagram, Flickr, and Google Picasa photos. The process is easy. Connect your Snapjoy to those services, and hit the import button.
I tried to import my Instagram photos and it took less than 5 minutes to have around 500 Instagram photos transfered to Snapjoy. And, a new “Instagram” album is created automatically. All your photos will be stored by Snapjoy (and it utilises Amazon Simple Storage Service). So, you have the copy of all photos somewhere else.
The good thing is that Snapjoy will also help you organize them. I personally like the way Snapjoy display the photo archive. There are few things that can be done to have it better like keeping the photo information (It seems that photo tags are not imported).
After you have your photos managed by Snapjoy, you can enjoy some other features offered. I like the its “Remember When…”. Basically, it’s just shuffling photos in the collection. It might be easy to recognise photos taken last week, or last month. But, if you want to challenge your memory, try to recognise photo taken three or four years ago.
All imported photos are stored privately by default. You can later share them with friends. Interesting to see its upcoming social features.
It’s a free service now, and I think it will not be free forever. There are some technical costs that have to paid. But, as long as it offers people who love to keep their valuable memories something that they really need, I think people will be. Well, I don’t mind paying for a good service/product. I know that Snapjoy will improve its service. I personally would like to have these features:

  • Options to export all photos to other backup service. If it’s a paid feature, I don’t mind. So, Snapjoy will be the “bridge” between service. It’s already a bridge, but making connection to another service is also cool.
  • Keep the photo information during the import.
  • Keep the original photo size. I’m not sure which photos imported when it has multiple sizes. Having the original photos imported should be great.

Anyway, this service is not only about importing. You can also upload your photos directly there. You can upload from the web, or using and desktop uploader called “Shoebox“. My Flickr photo import is still processing. Let’s see the results later.

Google+ is now available for Google Apps Accounts

Finally, Google Apps users now can have the full access to Google+ service. Previously, if you’re using Google App for your domain, you need to migrate to other Google account to get the service. I did that already. But now, Google made it available for Google Apps user.
Quoting from Google Enterprise blog:

Starting now you can manually turn on Google+ for your organization. Once Google+ is turned on, your users will just need to sign up at google.com/+ to get started. For customers who use Google Apps for Business or the free version of Google Apps and who have chosen to automatically enable new services, Google+ will automatically become available to all of your users over the next several days.*
Google Apps users will have access to the same set of features that are available to every Google+ user, and more. In addition to sharing publicly or with your circles, you’ll also have the option to share with everyone in your organization, even if you haven’t added all of those people to a circle.

I don’t use Google+ on daily basis. And since I’m already linked my other Google account to Google+, I am not sure what I need to do with my current Google Apps account. Here are some screenshots about the registration/activation processes.
If you’re already logging in to your Google Apps account from your internet browser — opening an email for example — you can directly go to plus.google.com or google.com/+

Since Google+ needs Picasa Web Albums for photo sharing and Google Talk for chat, you need to link it to you existing Picasa Web Albums.

Display more than 30 sets per page on Flickr

If you actively upload your photos to Flickr, you probably find that having lots of sets is a good idea. How many sets you have on your Flickr photostream right now? I have more than 200 sets. By default, if you browse sets in a photostream profile, you will only have 30 sets per page.

Flickr does not offer an option to have more than 30 sets per page when displaying photo sets. Yes, there is a paging navigation. But, is it possible to have more than 30 sets per page? Let’s say 100 sets per page? It’s possible.
What you need to do is adding a query string in the URL. For example: My Flickr photo sets URL is http://flickr.com/photos/orangescale/sets/. It will give me a list of 30 sets per page. Now, put ?per_page=60 (you can modify the number if you want). So, it becomes like this: http://flickr.com/photos/orangescale/sets/?per_page=60. Now, there are 60 sets in a single page.

Amazon CloudFront has an edge location in Singapore

Today, I got an email from Amazon informing about new location of Amazon CloudFront. Now, it has a new location in Singapore. Previously, Amazon only has its CloudFront server located in Tokyo and Hongkong. Here’s the news delivered in the email:

Starting immediately, Amazon CloudFront will begin using the Singapore edge location for requests for your content. There’s no need for you to change anything in order for this to happen — Amazon CloudFront will automatically route requests for your content to the Singapore location when it’s appropriate to do so. Prices for content delivered from the Singapore location are the same as prices for content delivered from Hong Kong; you can see these at http://aws.amazon.com/cloudfront.

Is it a good news? Of course! About the prices, content delivered from Singapore location has the same prices like from Hongkong: $0.190 per GB — first 10 TB / month data transfer out and $0.012 per 10,000 GET requests. Compared with Europe or US prices, it’s a little bit higher ($0.150 per GB – first 10TB / month data transfer out). But still, the price is still reasonable.

Automatic WordPress Backup (to Amazon S3)

Today, I tried another WordPress plugin called “Automatic WordPress Backup”. This plugin will help blog owners to create backup remotely to Amazon S3 service. Since I’m using it and pretty satisfied with the billing usage, I installed it at some WordPress-powered blogs I maintain.
I use one of the available buckets under my account. For this bucket, I set its ACL (Access Control List) to private, of course. After this plugin installed and activated, I only needed to put my Access Key ID and Secret Access Key.
I decided not to include all files for my backup. I only need the database and uploaded contents. After the settings were saved, I simply hit the backup button. The process depends on the disk and database usage. I found that it was pretty fast. One of my backup files was around 300 MB, and it only took less than 5 minutes to complete the process. Also, the backup file was compressed. This should be useful to cut the usage process as you only need to store a single file for each backup.
The backup files will be automatically delivered to my Amazon S3 bucket and when the process completed, I can see the backup history. To download the backup, I only need to click on the backup links.
The backup links are built using pre-signed URLs so that only the account holder (or someone who knows the URLs) can download them.

Amazon S3 Billing Statement Sample

In last September, I started to use Amazon S3 for some experimental purposes. And, it’s not that difficult — of course, I only use some basic action. CloudBerry Explorer and S3Fox are really helpful. Now, if you want to know the billing calculation — just in case you’re interested to try Amazon S3 (also with CloudFront), I have uploaded a sample billing statement from Amazon (click the thumbnail to enlarge).
For me, I think the price is still reasonable. Anyway, CloudFront service is optional. Of course, this billing statement is not only based on my blog usage. I have multiple sites and accounts there. Not all of my backup files are also available for public.

Using CloudBerry Explorer to Manage Amazon S3 Account

In my previous post, I mentioned an Amazon S3 tool called CloudBerry S3 Explorer. I also have S3Fox organizer addon installed. I use them both, and I feel that I’m more comfortable with CloudBerry Explorer.

CloudBerry Explorer makes managing files in Amazon S3 storage EASY. By providing a user interface to Amazon S3 accounts, files, and buckets, CloudBerry lets you manage your files on cloud just as you would on your own local computer. (source)

Now, I want to share how I use CloudBerry S3 Explorer to manage my Amazon S3 Account.
CloudBerry Explorer is availble as a freeware software. We can download it for free. It offers many features we need to manage Amazon S3 account, from a simple to complicated tasks. After I downloaded and installed it, I can start using it. First, I need to add my Amazon S3 account into the application. Go to File > Amazon S3 Accounts.

Getting Started with Amazon S3


After I signed up for Amazon S3 and CloudFront last week, I started to use it right away. Before that, I tried to get as many information as possible. It seemed easy. I had to deal with some new words like “bucket“, “Access Key ID“, and also “Secret Access Key“.
Amazon S3 — just like its name — is a storage service. What makes it different from “storage” in webhosting is that there is no FTP access. But, the mechanism of “moving your data to a storage server” is similar to FTP. In FTP, we will connect to your server using some basic information like hostname, username and password. In some cases, we will need an FTP port. And we can do it easily using FTP clients like Filezilla, CrossFTP,  WinSCP, etc.

Amazon S3 uses a little bit different process. Just imagine “Access Key ID” as “username”, and “Server Access Key” as the FTP password. Both information are generated by the system and they’re not easy to remember.

WordPress, Amazon S3 and CloudFront


In the last two days, I was working on an experiment to use Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) and Amazon CloudFront together with WordPress. It’s not primary for my blog, but for my friend. There are many tutorials and good recommendation on this. Since my friend using WordPress as the publishing platform, and it is easy to integrate with S3 and CloudFront, I gave it a try. But, what is Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)?

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. (from Amazon S3 website)

Actually, using Amazon S3 might be just fine. Since I want to make experiment, I decided to subscribe to Amazon CloudFront, too.

Amazon CloudFront delivers your content using a global network of edge locations. Requests for your objects are automatically routed to the nearest edge location, so content is delivered with the best possible performance. Amazon CloudFront works seamlessly with Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) which durably stores the original, definitive versions of your files. Like other Amazon Web Services, there are no contracts or monthly commitments for using Amazon CloudFront — you pay only for as much or as little content as you actually deliver through the service. (from Amazon CloudFront website)

This is my first attempt using those two service. The subscription is easy. Create an account at Amazon, fill in the billing information, and start subscribing. That’s all. After few attempts, I finally have it working. I hope it’s working without any issues. Anyway, for WordPress integration, I use Amazon S3 for WordPress plugin. Let’s wait until the end of the month to get the billing statement.

Few things you need to know about Yahoo! Photos closing


You probably had heard that Yahoo! will close its Yahoo! Photos service on Thursday, September 20, 2007 at 9 p.m. PDT. I have a Yahoo! account but I do not use their Yahoo! Photo service. I use Flickr instead. Here are few notes you’re probably need to know:

  • Yahoo! will focus on Flickr. Yes, Yahoo! acquired Flickr two years ago. So, rather than having two photo sharing services, Yahoo! will only run one, that is Flickr. I believe it was not an easy decision. Once again, Yahoo! Photos service will be closed on September 20, 2007 at 9 p.m. PDT.
  • Before the service completely closed you have some options to keep your photos. You can choose from some other photo sharing services. They are: Flickr, Kodak Gallery, Shutterfly, Snapfish, and Photobucket.
  • You can also download all you photos (before you move your photos to other photo sharing services, or before Yahoo! Photos service completely closed).
  • You can buy an archive CD. This service is provided by Englaze Archive. You will be charged $6.95 for every 700 MB of photos (if you’re Yahoo! Photos users). This service only available for users who signup for New Yahoo! Photos service. It was introduced in August 2006. (Read Englaze FAQ)
  • If you have moved to other services, you can not access your Yahoo! Photos account anymore. You should choose the best option.
  • You need to wait until your photos transfered to new service you choose. It depends on how many users uses the other services. If your photos have been transfered, you will get notification emails. If you’re in the waiting list, just wait. Flickr probably the fastest service in the transition (yeah, Flickr is owned by Yahoo!).
  • During the transition, you will not be able to access your Yahoo! Photos account. If you have problems during the transition, the problem will be addressed to the target services, so you need to contact them directly.
  • If you give different photo permission (private, public, friends), all your photos will be flagged to “private”. So, you need to change the photo permission by yourself.
  • All other information e.g. Album Information, Photo Information, Photo Detail: EXIF data (camera type, resolution, size, etc.), and tags will be transfered. If your photos have comments, friends’ list, and smart albums; all these information will not be transfered.
  • Since you will be using other service, you need to follow its aggreements (storage and upload policies).
    • If you’re using Flickr’s free account, you can upload 100MB worth of photos each calendar month. And, photostream views limited to the 200 most recent images. If you have more than 200 photos, all of them will be stored. But, only 200 recent photos will be visible. (more info)
    • Kodak EasyShare Gallery provides free unlimited online photo storage to you for 12 months from the date you first upload an image to your account. (more info)
    • Snapfish offers free, unlimited storage of your online photos, whether they come from film you develop with us or from digital photos that you upload to your account. There is no limit to the number of rolls you can send in, nor is there a limit to the number of digital photos you can upload. You can have an unlimited number of albums and photos in your account. (more info)
    • Shutterfly offers free, unlimited storage. You can store as many pictures as you wish, with no fee to upload or store your pictures.
    • If you want to use Photobucket, you can read all Yahoo! Photo Migration FAQ.

Once again, I believe that this decision is not easy to make. For Yahoo! Photos users, it might be one thing they do not want to happen. Yahoo! runs the service, and it’s their decision. Like or not, we have to choose.
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