Alexa, When's the Bus?

I got an Amazon Echo for my birthday (from my husband, who took romantic to a new level when he liked my present so much he bought me an Amazon dot a week later so he could use the echo elsewhere in the house!), which is a new gadget for us. Of course I started asking her questions that she couldn't answer ... and you can write your own "skills" so of course I sat down to browse the documentation and ended up creating a working skill for her :) It was a fun process but there were lots of unfamiliar parts to it so I thought I'd blog what I did in case anyone else wants to try out creating skills as well, and in case I ever want to remember some of the stuff I know now! Continue reading

Quickly add Amazon Cloudfront as a CDN

Right now I'm working on an application which is experiencing lots of interest - and therefore lots of load! We needed to look at ways of trying to bring down the pressure on the servers, and decided to use a CDN (Content Delivery Network) for our image files. It was surprisingly painless to implement once I got into it so here it is in case it's helpful. Continue reading

Using s3cmd To Manage Files on Amazon S3

Recently I moved some podcasts on to Amazon Simple Storage Service, or S3, which I know is great and easy to use, and I've used it with some wrappers, but never directly until now. It turns out, unsurprisingly, that S3 is great and easy to use :) I used s3cmd from s3tools - a collection of python scripts that made this really really easy. Even better, I'm an Ubuntu user so s3cmd is already packaged for me and I simply installed with:

sudo aptitude install s3cmd

Once installed, I found s3cmd --help was surprisingly helpful. To start with you need to set up an access key on AWS (Amazon Web Services) using your amazon user credentials, then supply this to s3cmd by using s3cmd --configure and following the prompts.

Continue reading