EC2 may not be the best option for your web startup.

I’m currently involved in a few projects which offer web based services to the many on the street, and I’m always interested in finding more efficient and cost effective methods of powering these sites, so recently I’ve been looking at Amazons EC2. I fully understand the advantage of EC2 for short run computing tasks where processing power may only be needed for a few days or weeks, but I was looking to see if EC2 is an effective platform for a web service which is going to be running 24x7x365, and in my opinion the answer is quite simply No.

PlayTV on the PS3 finally looking like it's going to ship

(Note : If you’re just looking for a place to pre-order PlayTV for the PS3 in the UK you can get it from Amazon UK) Like many people I don’t live my life around the TV I record shows to watch when I have some free time, so it was with great interest I saw Sony’s announcement over a year ago that it would ship a device which would allow the PlayStation 3 to act as a Freeview recorder, and now that it’s finally looking like it’s going to be available soon, it still looks a good proposition.

Account information for 1 million people, only 35 quid on eBay

Before you ask, no, I’m not selling the information, just picking up on a piece in the Mail on Sunday which reports that bank data (including signatures and mothers maiden names) has been discovered on a hard drive sold on eBay for 35 quid. There is absolutely no excuse for this kind of thing, you can get free high-quality disk erasing software that is easy to use and takes less than a day to erase a disk to a standard considered suitable for military data.

The mysterious Dell mini-notebook

Those people who have shown interest in Dells mini-notebook project thats been labelled the Dell E, (or Dell Inspiron 910, or Mini Inspiron, or a host of others) should probably be looking at the Dell Latitute E4200, because it’s remarkably close to the rumoured mini-notebook, and has a decent screen, keyboard, and up-to 16 hours of battery life. The big similarities between the E4200 and the rumoured 910 are; Weight : Around the 1kg mark for both.

If you're involved in a court case at least prepare....

[Note: I’m not a qualified legal professional, these are the observations of a layman and should not be considered legal advice] One of the reasons there has been a break in posts in my blog is that I’ve recently been involved in a court case which I’ve spent a fair amount of time preparing for. I’m not going to go into the specific details, but I was the claimant, a judge has recently ruled in my favour, and the defendant has been astoundingly naive in their belief of the law, which made me wonder how many other people need to take court cases more seriously and could benefit from the following tips;

The UK needs a recession

Saying a country needs a recession may seem like a strange idea, but the more people I talk to the more I come to the conclusion that a recession will do the UK a big favour. Over the past year I’ve bought a new car, new house, and had all the associated purchases surrounding both, and from my experience a vast majority of companies seem to believe that customer service is about telling the customer how the company controls things and not about listening and reacting to individual customers needs.

Leveraging the work of others

Recently one of the darlings of Web 2.0 called Twitter has been suffering from growing pains which many attribute to issues coping with it’s own popularity. The guys at Twitter have been open and up-front about their problems, and one thing has come to light, they’ve failed to make full use of one of the greatest resources available in software development; Open Source Software. Twitter isn’t alone, many other startups are only making use of OSS at the most basic levels by using Linux, the apache web server, PostgreSQL or MySQL, and a language with a free implementation (such as PHP or Java), without looking further to utilising technologies such as Hibernate, ActiveMQ, and YUI.

Want to buck the economic downturn?, Simple; Offer good customer service.

It’s now widely accepted that the economy is undergoing a serious contraction, and so consumers are about to far more picky about what they buy and who they buy it from, so if you’re running a business and you don’t believe the customer is king then you’re most likely to end up seeing your business shrink faster than the economy as a whole. I’ve had numerous experiences over the past few months of companies that seem to think they’re doing the customer a favour by taking their money and providing a service, which is a very dangerous thing to do.

The "joys" of a new home

This is just a warning to anyone out there thinking of purchasing a newly built house; Get a full structural survey!!!! My wife and I recently moved into our new house which was built by Crest Nicholson, to start with Crest finished the house over three months later than originally stated, and after a few weeks in the property we have discovered a hole in the concrete kitchen floor, had to have several leaks in the plumbing fixed, we currently have a section of plasterboard missing where the tradespeople put screws through the central heating pipes (three confirmed places, one further suspected hit is to be checked shortly), and we have a surveyors report saying that the paint on the exposed parts of the roof is flaking and will, most likely, cause the wood to rot within the next five years.

Additional bandwidth on Threes cellular broadband contract

If, like me, you are on Threes cellular broadband package and you have a monthly allowance which you sometimes use up, you will have found that the only thing three will offer you is increasing your tariff and your allowance, which will only take effect after your next billing date. There is an alternative though, you can buy a simple pay as you go SIM, use it in your Three broadband modem, and pay 10, 15, or 25 pounds for a 1, 3, or 7 Gigabyte allowance.