August 2008

Newsletter #40

Dear AWS Developers,

AWS and our service teams are committed to continually improving the operational performance and functionality of our services to better serve you. This commitment is evident in several newly introduced features to Amazon Mechanical Turk, SimpleDB, FPS, and DevPay. Your feedback is very important to us as we grow this business. Please share your ideas and questions on the AWS Developer Forum and check our operational performance on our Service Health Dashboard.

Tracy Laxdal
Amazon Web Services

News & Announcements

To keep you up-to-date, here are the latest news items and announcements from AWS.

Call for Start-Up Customer Presentations

Some of you will remember our series of start-up events last year. We will be holding these again this year in the following cities: Seattle, San Francisco, Palo Alto, Boston, New York, Austin, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, Toronto, London, and Amsterdam. For each event, we are looking for exciting, local start-ups to share their experiences with AWS.

If you are interested in presenting, send us an email at
If you want to attend these events, click here to RSVP.

New Web-Based Tools for Mechanical Turk

AWS is pleased to announce a new set of web-based tools for Amazon Mechanical Turk that make it easier for developers and businesses to outsource work to an on-demand, scalable workforce. With these new tools you can create 1,000s or 100,000s of Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs) in a matter of minutes via Now you can choose from SDKs, Command Line Tools, or web-based tools to design, publish and manage HITs.

Amazon FPS: Aggregation API Pricing Change

The pricing scheme for Amazon Flexible Payments Service (FPS) Pre-Paid and Post-Paid transactions has been revamped. For your benefit, FPS will no longer charge a transaction fee when your customers debit their PrePaid balance. Also, FPS will no longer charge a fee at the time of PostPaid usage. These changes make the FPS aggregation feature a cost-effective alternative to building complex ledger functionality into your applications. A forum thread has been created to start a discussion and get your feedback on this change.

SimpleDB Releases Query Sort

Amazon SimpleDB has released a highly requested feature: Query Sort. Query Sort allows you to sort a Query result set on a single attribute, in ascending or descending order. This new feature extends SimpleDB’s existing Query functionality and provides even more flexibility for developers. Read more on SimpleDB.

Amazon DevPay Tiered Pricing

Attention Developers: Amazon DevPay has recently announced support for tiered pricing, which provides more flexibility in setting the price of your Amazon S3-based products and Amazon EC2 paid AMIs. Using tiered pricing, you can now specify tiers for any of the usage-based components of your product’s price. Learn how you can use DevPay.

Developer Resources

Here are a few highlights and new additions to our Developer Resource Center.

Hadoop and GrepTheWeb (PDF)

AWS Evangelist Jinesh Varia outlines the benefits of building architectures in the cloud, he documents Alexa’s GrepTheWeb Hadoop-run application, and discovers some AWS best practices. Download the PDF or view the two-part HTML version: Cloud Architectures and AWS Best Practices.

Software Load Balancing with Amazon EC2

Load balancing an application helps takes advantage of Amazon EC2’s elastic scaling. Learn how to deploy a load-balancing solution inside the Amazon EC2 environment using round robin DNS or HA Proxy.

Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Hardy Base Install with HA Proxy Pre-Installed

Based on Eric Hammonds Ubuntu 8.04 image, this AMI includes HA Proxy and Heartbeat to support the article, Software Load Balancing with Amazon EC2.

Featured Solutions

Check out what your peers have built with AWS. These solutions include interesting web applications built on top of AWS as well as tools that help you integrate with AWS.

LiveLeader runs entirely on Amazon S3, EC2, and SimpleDB to power their online sales and customer service chat tool.

Everystockphoto is a search engine for free photos. Currently, they are storing and serving 4 million photos in Amazon S3 and use Amazon EC2 for image processing, indexing, and increasingly for running and scaling our production architecture.

Squirrelcart offers a PHP Shopping Cart software that supports Amazon Payments by using FPS’s Simple Pay tools.

AWS On The Road

August will be a quiet month for our AWS evangelists as they prepare for the busy fall season. If you’d like our evangelists to come speak to your group, feel free to update the AWS Evangelist Wiki Calendar.

Register now for Web 2.0 NY, September 16-19, Javits Center, New York City
Enter discount code: webny08com and receive $100 off registration.

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