Posts tagged with “awesome”

Wed 14 Dec

The world gets cloudier: AWS goes to Sao Pablo

Amazon launched the Sao Paulo region today for their AWS cloud services. I'm glad to see cloud providers branching out to new markets beyond the US and Europe. Apparently, both South American companies and international companies looking to serve the South American market have been clamoring for such a move from Amazon.

While this will be great for the tech scene there, I'm interested to know how this new infrastructure will benefit the broader community of South American Internet users, and in particular how this will impact the cost of international bandwidth in South America. Historically, international bandwidth costs have been a key limitation for the proliferation of affordable Internet access throughout the developing world. This makes sense: running international fiber is expensive, and it often requires a consortium of telco's working together to make it happen (e.g., EASSy). The major cloud providers, on the other hand, have plenty of capital to finance submarine cable construction. Heck, they could build their own cable infrastructure if they wanted to: I'm sure Google and Amazon have the expertise to manage it well, too. In any case, I'm hopeful that we'll see similar cloud infrastructure built in other traditionally underserved areas, such as Africa and South Asia, in the near future.

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Fri 18 Nov

Pirate Party wins 8% of vote in Berlin elections

I remember when the first Pirate Party was created in 2006 (back in the days when I still read 2600 and went to high school). I'm thrilled to see that in the ensuing years the party has taken hold in multiple countries and has expanded its agenda to become more than a single-issue party. To paraphrase a point made by Evgeny Morozov at a talk I was at yesterday, the best outcome for a movement started on the Internet is the formation of a party that can engage with the political system in a meaningful way to create change.

Sun 18 Oct

Fun with webcams

Back in middle school (or was it early high school?), I read an issue of 2600 that had a letter describing a technique to view a bunch of publicly accessible webcams worldwide. It turns out that this particular brand of webcam had a web-based viewer, and moreover that this web-based viewer had a unique URL string. All you had to do to get a list of these cameras was to do a Google search for "inurl:$THAT_UNIQUE_URL_STRING" and you'd get a bunch of results, all with cameras you could view and some that could even be controlled. Most turned out to be in Japan for some reason, and it was really cool to be able to watch busy city streets and trains from half a world away.

Fast forward a few years. I was recently using a webcam at my university that overlooks a construction site next to the CS building. One of my friends showed it to me over the summer, and it's been pretty fun to use it to watch the construction progress (as well as watch the workers eating lunch, driving trucks, etc). It hit me that this brand of webcam probably had the same "vulnerability" of a unique URL string that could be found on Google. Sure enough, it did:

There seems to be a bit more geographic diversity in camera placement for this particular breed. I have found several in Japan, but others that are definitely closer to home (based on timezone). Here are a few interesting ones:

If you find any more interesting ones, leave a note in comments!

Sat 22 Aug

So long JPL

In a few hours I'm boarding my plane back to Chapel Hill after a truly wonderful summer working at JPL. While I'll be posting more information about what I did later after my reports are cleared for release, here are some brief highlights:

  • Worked in the coolest software development house ever, OPS Lab people know their shit
  • Wrote a sizable piece of software that I'm proud of
  • Looked at pictures from Spirit and Opportunity on a regular basis
  • Saw the first mock-up of TRI-ATHLETE, a gargantuan robot for the moon
  • Saw MSL being built
  • Saw the efforts to Free Spirit
  • Talked to a scientist who builds balloons for planetary exploration
  • Spent hours geeking out about space, robots, and computers
  • Worked with and got to know really great people throughout JPL
  • Fulfilled my childhood dream of working for NASA (thanks Dr. Pausch, and family and friends that supported this decision)

And that doesn't even begin to cover the great experience I had outside of work at Caltech, in the LA bike scene, and around the region. I thought I would be itching to leave LA as soon as I got here, but surprisingly enough I've come to really appreciate it. I'm sad to be leaving, in fact. LA does live down to a lot of the negative stereotypes about it I've heard, but there are good people here. Wish I had more time to interact with them.

But, all that said, there is a season for everything, and this season is winding down to a close. I am fortunate to have had a summer like this, and now it's time to head back to Chapel Hill for one last lap. I'm really looking forward to making it the most intense lap ever. Hopefully there will plenty of pictures, projects, and progress to report on.

And finally, Ramadan Kareem to all.

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Mon 20 Oct

Phish More?!?!

Phish is coming back in 2009!

The first three shows are already sold out, but they're supposed to announce more in early 2009. I hope they come to the Triangle at some point...

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