AWS Road Trip

14 User Groups, 5500 Miles, One Evangelist

Day 2 - Philadelphia

The alarm clock on my Droid Bionic woke me up to the theme from Close Encounters at 4:30 AM. After taking care of some important emails, I dressed, packed up, checked out, and headed for my car.

I spent some time rearranging my AWS SWAG boxes to make room for my own stuff, and decided to take a picture, only to find that my camera’s battery was dead. Apparently, leaving it plugged in to my laptop overnight drained the battery instead of charging it.

I spent some more time making sure that my phone and Contour camera were placed to my liking, and then wasted some time trying to pair my phone with the car. It was 6:00 AM and time to go, so I switched on the Contour, said a prayer, and was on my way to Philadelphia.

I made just one wrong turn, accidentally exiting a highway after paying a toll. The streets in Boston are simply crazy. The roads head every which way, many highways have “aliases” to other highways, and caution is advised.

My trip was uneventful and I made great time, pulling into my Philadelphia hotel at 12:07 PM despite 3 quick stops to stretch my legs. The journey through New York and over the George Washington bridge was intense and I was happy to have detailed guidance from the copy of Waze running on my phone.

I have to say that Waze was indispensable for the first driving leg of my trip, and that I expect it to be similarly useful for the rest of them. Driving around Boston without the benefit of dynamic routing is probably impossible for an outsider. Once I left the city, I was able to benefit from the advance warning that Waze provides about traffic, vehicles stuck by the side of the road, and so forth.

The Philly Stop was awesome, with plenty of Q&A and lots of other audience participation from people who had used Spot Instances, RDS, EBS, and other AWS services. I was ably assisted by my colleagues Jonathan Desrocher and Ed Porter.

Before the event got underway, Brad Denenberg told me about Seed Philly, a new incubator that he founded and runs, which currently houses 20 startups. Brad convinced my colleagues to establish some regular AWS Office Hours at his space, which sounds like a really good idea.

One of the attendees told me that he learned AWS from my book, which was both gratifying and humbling. Another attendee practically begged me to do an update. I’ve been thinking about this as a fall project, so we’ll see.

Some of the best questions focused on RDS Support for Postgres, RDS support for SQL Server in Multi-AZ mode, and Regions in countries like Canada and Germany. There was a lot of interest in my use of S3 Website Hosting and one person asked me to write an article on it (great idea, and something I should do).

Here’s my MapBox for the day:

Next stop is Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh AWS Meetup.