Three years ago, I wrote a tutorial called EC2 for Poets that made it relatively easy for a technically proficient user to set up a Windows server in Amazon EC2. A few hundred people tried it, and were able to get servers running. They could install apps, and run web apps that they then could access from home or on the road. Having your own server "up there" can be pretty cool, makes a lot of things possible that otherwise would be hard.
For example you can run a personal river of news. That's what I do on one of my EC2 instances. Not only for myself but for a few friends at universities and publications. I'm now working on one for a friend who teaches at Harvard. And there's a biologist at Columbia who's using Radio2 to keep a linkblog running. This stuff really works, and is not so hard to set up. And once it's set up, it pretty much runs itself.
1. EC2 for Poets.
Just to be sure everything is working, I set up a River2 installation on a micro EC2 instance, and it really went smoothly.