Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Math, Amazon, and Android

Last week was a good one for math and dabbling. Here's a quick review of what happened.

Khan Academy Magellan Badge Victory
Acquiring the 80th star completed the Magellan badge mission. Calling it satisfying would be an understatement. With that, it is time to stop collecting stars and just maintain the ones I have. Regular visits to the site to refresh here and there is sufficient for that.

Deeper into Amazon AWS Territory
The Amazon AWS cloud has interested me since working with it for the Uncle Squirrely project. A recent conversation with a friend drew me into S3 storage and Elastic Cloud virtual servers. It was time to go a step beyond web apis.

S3 is a handy way to backup and share files. It gives you permission controls that let you render certain files publicly available or not. Drop Box uses S3 to provide regular end-users with a simple interface. It's great for online storage which can be pretty handy.

With the Elastic Cloud Computing platform, Amazon offers up an easy way to roll your own virtual Linux or Windows 2008 server. There were a few small snags during my setup and connect attempts to Linux instances. After a short learning curve, it really was simple to start, stop, and kill servers as well as ssh into them.

The pay-as-you-go setup is perfect for me. An afternoon of playing around with a server and then killing it at the end costs 50 cents. However, for 24 x 7 production servers in the cloud, it gets pricey. In such case, a service like Rackspace would likely make more sense.

Android Adventures
Getting started with mobile development with Google Android proved to be pretty painless. Good documentation and tutorials made it easy to setup Eclipse, the SDK, and an emulator. It's been predicted by a couple of tech pundits that mobile was going to be big in 2011. The downside for me is finidng the tie-in to my main project. The upside is there's probably no better platform to go to if I were to go back into Java game programming.

All said it was a good week for intensive math goal pushing as well as with cloud and mobile dabbling. The next week shifts attention back more towards taking care of Blender Python Tutorials. The site is doing fairly well but it would be way better. So off to that then.

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