Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I got an "A" at Appalachian State University

Last week, I had the privilege of driving up to Appalachian State University to announce the winner of the national Juicy Ideas Competition.  We really had a fun time with this and made it a good surprise for the winning team.  DigitalChalk sponsored the contest along with AdvantageWest and Google.  This is how it happened...  Pam Lewis, Dale Carroll and Scott Hamilton from AdvantageWest and myself, representing DigitalChalk, met with Chancellor Ken Peacock of ASU before the students arrived at the Chancellors office.  The students were told that they were being presented with their regional winning prizes, a sweatshirt and video camera from Google because they won the Western North Carolina region.  When the students arrived at Chancellor Peacocks office, the prizes where handed out and pictures were taken.  After about 15 minutes, the Chancellor was told that he had a phone call and everyone was asked to move to the board room across the hall.  In the board room, I had a video chat, using Google video chat, started with Mary Radomile, a program manager at Google.  She was able to address the students and congratulate them on their success at the regional level.  Then, she proceeded to tell them that they had also won the national competition.  It was great!  I will be accompanying the students on a trip to Google headquarters in Feburary and will be discussing the details for the competition next year.  We hope to make it bigger and better.  Congratulations to Ryan Klinger, Andrew Drake, Spencer Price, and Justin Henry the Juicy Ideas Competition national champions.  You can read this press release on the competition.

Oh yea, how I got an "A"...  When we were posing for pictures, I had worn my black shirt for the occasion, but I didn't have any gold on.  Chancellor Peacock gave me the Appalachian State University pin right off of his coat.  I wore it with pride.  Thank you Chancellor Peacock!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Amazon SimpleDB for FREE

Have you wanted to dive in and try some parts of the cloud, but you just were not willing to pony up any cash? Amazon is giving you that chance with their latest announcement for web services. Yesterday they opened up SimpleDB into a public beta. SimpleDB allows you to store, retrieve and query data similar to a database. The difference is scalability. SimpleDB is great for storing simple data relationships that you need to be able scale and have the ability to handle large volumes. As of yesterday, Amazon is offering 25 machine hours, 1 GB of data transfer and 1 GB of data storage for free for at least the first six months. That is more than enough runway to test out an application or to help anyone prove out a concept. It should let the average user execute over 2 million requests against SimpleDB without paying a dime. We are currently using SimpleDB for some of our prepping and internal work at DigitalChalk and it has been working very well. Here is your chance... jump on in and let me know if you need any help learning to swim.