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Scripting News, the weblog started in 1997 that bootstrapped the blogging revolution.

Could S3 be an end-user product? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named accordion.gifI've not made much of a secret of the fact that I've been working on a new product, and am getting close to offering it as a public pre-alpha thing for Mac users only.

It's fairly Flickr-centric, sucking photos down from Flickr in a variety of ways and pushing up photos in others. Like Radio 8 and Google Reader, it has the ability to maintain an output feed of stuff you want to pass on to friends and associates.

As I was developing this I wished that Flickr had the ability to store simple text files, because I needed a place to put an RSS 2.0 feed with enclosures on behalf of each user. Of course I used Amazon S3, but I had to implement my own lightweight identity system so that Juan couldn't accidentally or intentionally replace Alice's feed. If only every user had a place where they could store stuff that's net accessible so that once and for all we could stop inventing new places.

I was inspired to write about this when I read an Uncov review of Pownce where they reminded me that they were reselling S3 storage at a big markup. What if the users had their own S3 storage that they paid for themselves?

Then it occurred to me to ask if people thought S3 could be an end-user thing. I'd like to find out, so if some non-technical users who have Amazon accounts would like to try setting up an S3 account, I'd be interested in hearing how it goes. Here's an idea of how you get started.

1. You must already have an Amazon account. Nothing special about it, if you buy shirts or books or stereo equipment from Amazon, you use the same account for S3 storage. Already that's pretty easy, millions of people have Amazon accounts, right?

A picture named signupforthiswebservice.gif2. Visit this page on Amazon, ignore all the stuff about objects and buckets. In the right margin is a big button that says "Sign up for this web service." Click the button. A very familiar page appears, asking you to sign into your Amazon account as if you were going to buy something (you are!).

3. From there, I'm not sure what you see, because I have already enabled my account. But the end result of signing up is that you get two strings with weird names: Your Access Key ID and Your Secret Access Key. Any software that would save a document in S3-space on your behalf would need these two strange strings. In return each document would have a URL just like any other document on the web. Nothing strange about that. ;->

4. You could also use the space to store stuff using an FTP-like app that runs in Firefox called S3 Organizer. It's about as hard to use as the Mac Finder or the Windows Explorer, i.e. it's no challenge for a moderately geeky user. The cool thing about it is that you're able to share anything you upload into S3 space with anyone else. You can even use BitTorrent to access any file to save you bandwidth bills and distribute the load round the net. It's all very easy to do, imho.

As a developer who has to pay for his users' storage needs I would very much like to see users learn how to use S3 to store their stuff, so I can focus on writing software and fixing bugs instead of paying to store your stuff. ;->

I'm with Rex Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Of course Apple is fascist scum for shutting down Think Secret.

Rex Hammock said the one thing that I as a Mac user have to say about the news.

"There's nothing positive about this settlement for my side."

Amen brother. I keep thinking "Someday Apple is going to regret that they took their customers so much for granted." But I know better. I used to say that, and then I switched to Windows in 1997 (that'll show em!) only to switch back in 2005. Every day I think of a new excuses to waste spend more money on Apple hardware. Apple doesn't pay for it, we do.

But we can hate them for what they did to Think Secret, as if they care, but we do anyway.


Last update: Thursday, December 20, 2007 at 11:46 AM Pacific.

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Dave Winer, 52, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.

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On This Day In: 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997.

December 2007
Nov   Jan

Lijit Search
Things to revisit:

1.Microsoft patent acid test.
2.What is a weblog?
3.Advertising R.I.P.
4.How to embrace & extend.
5.Bubble Burst 2.0.
6.This I Believe.
7.Most RSS readers are wrong.
8.Who is Phil Jones?
9.Send them away.
10.Negotiate with users.
11.Preserving ideas.
12.Empire of the Air.
13.NPR speech.
14.Russo & Hale.
15.Trouble at the Chronicle.
15.RSS 2.0.
16.Checkbox News.
17.Spreadsheet calls over the Internet.
18.Twitter as coral reef.
19.Mobs of the blogosphere.
20.Advice for Campaigns.
21.Social Cameras.
22.The Next Big Thing.
23.It's time to open up networking, again.
24.Am I competing?
25.Time to shake up conferences?
26.Bloggers working with journalists.

Teller: "To discover is not merely to encounter, but to comprehend and reveal, to apprehend something new and true and deliver it to the world."

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