• Graeme Devine

AWS and NASA

The awesome thing about Amazon AWS is that you can have 4 or 40 computers online in minutes. It’s an incredible service. They have worked to make it easy to launch and setup and add to your DNS so it’s easy to get running.


That said, there are two modes. One, spot instances, on demand I need them now servers and long term contract instances. Spot instances are like booking your flight at the airport when the flight is full. Long term contract is booking a year in advance (obviously these metaphors are pre-covid). We have been using spot instances.


So today I started to build out a server for my garage so we can have that run 24/7 instead of spending $$$ on AWS. I’m lucky here in my house in California to have fiber and a gigabit up and down of bandwidth. Now it’s all a matter of the dynamic DNS and security. While I can plug that server into a separate outlet, I don’t really want it hanging out on the same network as my wifi for example.


The other thing about AWS is which OS you use. Windows licenses as we’ve discussed before cost more than Linux. Well, at home, they cost exactly the same. Eventually we need to use Linux and NVIDIA video cards since they support WebRTC encoding and decoding in hardware on Linux directly, but for now I can use Windows.


I used to work at Microsoft, so one of their awesome Alumni features is that I can still shop at the employee store and get employee prices on things like Windows and Windows Server. I actually thought every corporation would treat their ex-employees like this, but nope, this seems uniquely Microsoft. When I left Apple I asked about the Apple Alumni membership and got very blank stares. No one leaves Apple alive.


Apart from that, I had a quiet day, meetings more than coding. Bella is much better today and back to 100% so that’s been great. I spent most of the day watching the NASA live feed from Mars.


I’ve actually seen the Perseverance rover, I looked at in the assembly room (through a window, I couldn’t go in there). It was at JPL that I learnt about the most dangerous job associated with the rover. The rover gets assembled in California and then packaged up and sent to Florida via truck, the truck doesn’t stop except for gas and is accompanied by a federal police escort. We’ve all seen the terminator movies to know how these things can go wrong. Once in Florida, it’s unpacked and put onto the rocket, loaded, sent out to the launchpad and is set to launch. The rocket is fueled, and THEN, and THEN, a JPL engineer goes to the top of the spacecraft, on the launchpad and puts in a nuclear fuel rod.


I can’t imagine that view on top of the gantry, hundreds of feet up in the air, holding a nuclear fuel rod looking at a rocket full of rocket fuel. Incredible and awesome and now it’s on Mars.


Bowie sums up today best.


Sailors fighting in the dance hall

Oh, man, look at those cavemen go

It's the freakiest show

Take a look at the lawman

Beating up the wrong guy

Oh, man, wonder if he'll ever know

He's in the best selling show

Is there life on Mars?


Graeme.