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

Waiting for my Website Stencil Kit from UI Stencils

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Last December 2014, I decided to buy Website Stencil Kit directly from UI Stencils website. Actually, I wanted to buy the other stencil kits, but since this is my first-time experience buying from this site, I purchased an item only. This is not my first international order since I have been ordering items from outside the country (Indonesia) few times. I had no issues purchasing books from Amazon, Smashing Magazine, and also some other goods from online stores. So, this is a valid reason to buy some stuff online.

I understand that it takes time. I had my Smashing Magazine’s The Mobile Book after waiting (and made another confirmation) for about 6 months. Amazon usually took 3-4 weeks.

I had my order confirmation from UI Stencils on December 26, 2015. Yes, I was aware that it might take a little bit longer since it was during Christmas and New Year holidays. The total transaction was $35.50 ($6.50 for shipping). A week after that, I got another email confirmation informing that my order have been shipped.

It’s been almost 6 weeks and I haven’t received my order. Well, I think I just need to wait a little bit longer.

Update: I reached UI Stensil Twitter account (@UIStencils)  about the situation and got a quick response via email.  Thank you! I was informed that it might take upto 6 weeks to arrive. And, they asked me to inform if I do not receive my order until the end of this February. Since they’re responsive, I think I can wait until first week or second of March.

Update March 20, 2015: Finally, I have just received my order. So, it took around 10 weeks to arrive.

FiftyThree's Pencil is available globally

When I found an app called Paper by FiftyThree (iTunes link), I just needed few seconds to have it installed on my iPad. I’m not good at drawing or sketching, but after trying some other drawing apps, Paper is still the best in my taste. And, they launched Pencil. It has been months since the product was launched. It got my attention but just put it in my wishlist. It’s a bit expensive for me, but I think it’s still affordable. But, the most important part is about the way how I could get one. It was not available for shipping to my country, Indonesia.
But, not until today. Today, FiftyThree announced that Pencil (both the Graphite and Walnut) is available for customers in more than 65 countries, including Indonesia via Amazon.
Pencil at Amazon
Before it was not available for global shipping, I was thinking of getting one from a friend of mine who lives in the US or Canada. Yes, it will probably take longer (and more expensive). Having it delivered by Amazon is another good thing for some reasons. First, I have purchased some items from Amazon and got no issues. Now, I want one.

Amazon Dash by AmazonFresh

Amazon Dash
Amazon Dash is a shopping accessory to add groceries and household goods. It makes the shopping experience more pleasant. Just scan the barcodes or using voice. Dash connects to over Wifi so that all orders can be viewed instantly from AmazonFresh. At the moment, AmazonFresh is only available in Southern California, San Francisco and Seattle.

37signals' REMOTE is now available

When I found out that REMOTE was available for pre-order, it didn’t take minutes for me to make a pre-order from Amazon. I have read Getting Real, and it’s inspiring. Or, you probably have read REWORK.
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And, yesterday I got an email informing that the book is available. Here is how the book is described:

As an employer, restricting your hiring to a small geographic region means you’re not getting the best people you can. As an employee, restricting your job search to companies within a reasonable commute means you’re not working for the best company you can. REMOTE, the new book by 37signals, shows both employers and employees how they can work together, remotely, from any desk, in any space, in any place, anytime, anywhere.

To find out more about this book, or read some sample chapters, go to REWORK’s website. Also, I received a notification from Amazon.com about my pre-order status. I made the pre-order on August 10, 2013 for $13.80. Yeah, more than two months ago. It’s estimated that I will have this book — together with another item from Amazon.com — in the mid of November.
Actually, I also want to have the ebook version from Apple’s iBooks Store. But, it seems that it’s not yet available for the Indonesian Store. You can buy from iBook Store for $12.99.

Ordered: Smashing Magazine's The Mobile Book (Printed and Digital Edition)

… but,  still haven’t got the printed edition with me (after for about 5 months).
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When I heard that Smashing Magazine’s The Mobile Book was ready for pre-order, I decided to pre-order it. It was back in October 2012. I paid $42.31 ($5 shipping handling included) using Paypal to get this good deal:

  • The Mobile Book (Printed Book)
  • The Mobile Book | Digital Edition (eBook)
  • Mobile Design Bundle (4 eBooks)

A good deal, wasn’t it?
That was not the first time I bought something from outside the country. Previously, I bought Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs from Amazon and had it delivered without issues. Yes, it took for about three weeks using the standard delivery method. I had no problem with it. I could wait. In short, I convinced myself to buy The Mobile Book since I had a good experience ordering books from outside Indonesia.
In December 2012, The Mobile Book was launched. Got an email notification also. Nice! So, I waited. I could not wait to have it delivered. Well, not only because that was the biggest amount I spent for a single book purchase, but since I could not wait to read it.
I waited.
The book would be shipped from Berlin, Germany. And, it was estimated to arrive in Indonesia in 9-15 days. Well, I didn’t expect much to be on-time. Even an additional 7 days was still acceptable.
I waited… and waited.
On January 18, 2013 I contacted them asking for the delivery status. I got a quick respond from them.

Dear Thomas,
Thank you for pre-ordering our new Mobile Book! We are very sorry that your Mobile Book has not arrived yet.
The Mobile Book was release on 12th December 2012 and the shipment of the pre-ordered books started on 14th December.
Since the delivery of your book is indeed overdue, we will investigate what happened to your shipment and get back to you as soon as possible.
Of course we will make sure that you receive your purchased book.

It seemed that I only need to wait. No problem. At least I got a respond from them. On the next day, I got another email regarding the shipment status with the subject: “Your shipment #100028609 for order #100063512”.
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Until today (May 24, 2013), I haven’t got it delivered in my hand. I write this because I just remember about this book order. I am not blaming anybody here. I just want so share a little bit of my experience. I do love Smashing Magazine. It’s a useful resources, great site. I think I’m just unlucky this time. Few hours ago, I sent another email to them. If I still can’t have it delivered, I will stop asking. I promise.
And, I promise myself to think twice before making another order — not only at Smashing Magazine, but at any other stores. Probably, the digital version is a better choice. But… sometime I want to have a real book.
Update May 25, 2013: I got an email from Smashing Magazine Support confirming the shipping address for the delivery. They will try to send it again. Hope to have it delivered.
Update: I had my book delivered.

Readmill: Another reading experience

One of the reasons I bought an iPad this year was that about books. I have to admit that my reading habit has changed in the last few months. I read more books and magazines on my iPad. But, it does not mean that I don’t read real books. It’s easy to mentioned two last books I bought: Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs and Listomania.
But, I bought more digital books. I subscribed to National Geographics Magazine for iPad, and purchased some other books directly from iBook Store. I have some editions from A Book Apart and Smashing Magazines, too. My reading experience has been shifted.
Readmill
Recently, I moved some of my books to Readmill. iBooks and Readmill share the similar reading experience. But, after using it for few days, I think I’m falling in love with Readmill. I like the idea that it’s not only about reading. I like its social features, and I love the way the site is designed.

Readmill is a curious community of readers, highlighting and sharing the books they love.
We believe reading should be an open and easily shareable experience. We built Readmill to help fix the somewhat broken world of ebooks, and create the best reading experience imaginable. (source)

In short, it happens like this:

  • Buy some books, and you usually you will get them in some formats like PDF or ePub.
  • You can easily open them using iBook app (on your iOS devices). If you’re using Readmill, you upload them to your Readmill’s Library.
  • Start reading.

While you’re reading, you can take notes, highlights. Readmill has a nice approach about the reading behaviours. Readers can interact each others by sharing highlights. Try to visit a book profile called “Designing for Emotion” by Aaron Walter.

But, what about the reading experience itself? On my iPad, I have a pleasant reading experience. Readmill app offers a simple and key features readers really need: adding highlights, bookmarks, etc. And, not to forget its social features, they’re just great.

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.

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.