Thursday, February 28, 2008

Friday, February 15, 2008

Amazon S3 outage

Recently I had moved all my resources over to Amazon's S3. This morning, I woke up to a system wide outage that has beeing going on since at least 6:30am EST.

I was able to change all the asset code back to locally hosted by changing the "config.action_controller.asset_host" configuration setting and now all is working just fine.

Last year I lost a few Amazon EC2 instances and vowed to always have a backup plan that involved my colocated rack we could drive to. Although I have seen outages there, they have never lasted more than an hour. They also involved something that I could control and make reduntant going forward. With S3, there is not much you can except wait or have a backup plan.

Backup plans are fine for things like hosted assets but would be much harder where you have integrated customer data. Imagine if all your hosted attachments were in S3, there would be no way around an outage unless you mirrored the attachments in real time locally. That would involve paying twice for bandwidth and thus obviate all the savings with the S3 system.

I predict this will be big news and make a lot of people who relied n S3 think some serious thoughts about how they will structure their data going forward.

update 11am: There is talk the issue is resolved but it seems slow and it looks like there still might be some issues. To play it safe, I will keep the backup plan in place for another day to see what happens.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Pubget now available to Harvard/Partners

The fastest way to search science! If you are at Harvard or one of its affiliated hospitals, you can sign up now at

Shopping List

Make sure any whole-wheat products you buy are labeled 100% whole wheat.
Brown rice
Steel-cut oatmeal
Whole-grain or oat breakfast cereal (Cheerios, Kashi cereals, Grape Nuts)
Whole-grain pizza dough/crust
Whole-wheat or whole-grain bread
Whole-wheat pasta
Whole-wheat pitas or tortillas

Canned/Jarred Items
Black beans
Sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil)
Tomato sauce (no added sugars)
Tomatoes: whole, crushed, or diced
Unsweetened fruit
Vegetable or chicken stock/broth (low-salt)
White beans

Dried Fruits and Nuts
Nuts should be raw, rather than roasted or salted.

Dried cranberries and apricots
Pistachios, chopped
Walnuts and hazelnuts

Condiments and Spices
Balsamic vinegar
Canola oil, regular and spray-on
Chocolate, dark (not milk) with at least 70% cocoa
Cinnamon and nutmeg
Extra-virgin olive oil
Low-sodium soy sauce
Real maple syrup
Red pepper flakes
Turmeric or curry powder
Wine vinegar

Refrigerated Items
Feta cheese, low-fat
Milk, skim or low-fat soy
Orange or grapefruit juice (100%) with pulp
Part-skim mozzarella cheese
Yogurt with active cultures (probiotic), low-fat
Sour cream, low-fat

Chicken breast halves, skinless and boneless
Chicken thighs, skinless
Deli meat, sliced and skinless (not processed cold cuts)
Salmon fillets, skinless
Whole fish or fillets: trout, tilapia, snapper, or sea bass

Frozen Food
Blueberries and raspberries, frozen and unsweetened
Fruit sorbet
Vanilla frozen yogurt, nonfat or low-fat

Health Foods
Chia seed
Soy protein powder

Fruits and Vegetables
Stock up on plenty of fresh fruits and veggies from each color group, but don’t buy more than you’ll be able to eat in a week. Fruits and vegetables lose their nutrient goodness when they sit around.

Blueberries, blackberries, plums, eggplant

Carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, mangoes, pineapple

Tomatoes, cherries, cranberries, red peppers, red apples

Avocados, broccoli, spinach, kiwifruit, lemons, limes

Garlic, onions, bananas, mushrooms