Moved to Amazon EC2

Oliver Brown
— This upcoming video may not be available to view yet.

I’ve just moved the blog over to Amazon EC2 and so far everything seems to be going well. I’d been considering the move for a while and a new feature (well I’m not sure how new it is but I only just noticed it) is a new smaller instance type. The virtual servers Amazon offer used to come in three sizes, small medium and large starting at $0.10*. Pretty quickly they added some bigger sizes (going all the way up to $2.00 per hour for quadruple extra large) as well as some more specialized types like GPU clusters. But it still meant the minimum price per month for a server always on was about $74/month which is expensive for simple web hosting. Now however, their new micro instances are available at a pretty cool $0.02/hour (about $15 a month). For the performance you’re likely to get it’s still probably not the most cost effective solution for plain web hosting, but for having complete access to a server with high availability (and the extra features hosting on Amazon’s infrastructure provides like being able to clone a whole server with one click) it’s pretty good. One final note is to remember that these numbers are not the final costs you’ll have to pay. You still pay for storage and data transfer which in my case look like they’ll be about an extra 10% extra. * Since then the price of the small instance has come down to $0.085/hour or about $63/month.

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Amazon Mechanical Turk

Oliver Brown
— This upcoming video may not be available to view yet.

It’s so crazy it just might work.

I heard about AMT a while ago and thought it looked cool. But not much was happening with it.

Well now it’s beginning to take off more and it might be usable in my language app.

It’s essentially a work marketplace wrapped in a web service API. Your application creates a job request (called a Human Intelligence Task) which someone then completes with the result being sent back to your application. So far it’s commonly used for processing lots of small tasks (for example there’s one about verifying info about some restaurants that only pays $0.03 but there are over two thousand individual tasks available), but it can be used for anything.

The relevance is that it might be possible to get people to record audio for the language app through it. Amazon Mechanical Turk.