The Kindle arrives in Switzerland and Calibre is for free

Yes, I have been waiting for this a long time and finally it arrived. The Kindle from Amazon. My first impression was more then bad. No Wireless (I mean the Kindle can not connect to my Wireless Network in my office or in my home). I was thinking WTF. Books seem as expensive as if you buy them directly from Amazon. The Browser has been disabled for all Non-US Customers. Again WTF. Why does Amazon not put a Wireless card into the Kindle so I can at least surf and receive Email while I am on my own broadband Network. That I do not understand.


I discovered Calibre and that just about makes the Kindle a good buy. Without this piece of Software the Kindle would be as Scam. A big Scam. The iPhone would be much better still for reading articles (and for surfing). But once you get a hand on Calibre and you have your copy of Der Spiegel, Wall Street Journal and The Economist on your Kindle, what else do you need? Well it would be nice if the Kindle would integrate with the Google Reader. That would be very nice. But obviously that is not yet possible for a Swiss customer. Leider. But Calibre is just one great piece of Software if you are a Kindle owner and use Linux and Mac. Although it will also run on Windows.

Remark: The Software Amazon is about to release will only run on Windows ;( again. WTF. But Calibre it shall be!

Oh!: And thanks for the USD 20 refund, Amazon. That was fair!

Testing EC2 from Amazon by Building a Custom Image (AMI)

1. Ok, so I decided to try out EC2. The first thing – obviously – what you want to do is, build your own custom image. First Bummer: Amazon will not allow you to build and compile your own kernel! You will have to use an Amazon-Kernel found here. At the moment I am compiling Gentoo (amd64) according to this HowTo.

While my Gentoo compiles, some of the points I do not like about Amazons Communications:

  • What is the underlying hardware they are using?
  • What CPU’s do you get for your money, what is their speed? I tried to find out myself by doing “cat /proc/cpuinfo”
  • What kind of disks are the different instances running on? Are they SATA, SCSI, IDE, etc?

I really would love to see more transparency in above points by Amazon.

2. Somehow I also have the feeling that the “value for money” you get from Amazon EC2 for using their CPU’s is expensive (like buying a car vs leasing a car; leasing a car is always more expensive). The reason why I have this feeling is because I compared the prices for buying a server equivalent of the m1.xlarge instance. The price for such a server would roughly be USD 3000.-. Now traffic is cheap at EC2 but CPU’s are not. EC2 will give you comparingly “slow” CPU for your money if you compare to buying a new server. “cat /proc/cpuinfo” for the m1.xlarge instance shows me “Dual Core AMD Opteron(tm) Processor 270” processor.

3. Doing a “emerge -e world” – on a “m1.large” instance – and at the same time untaring the linux- makes the “untaring” take forever (more then 50 Minutes). Just for unpacking 53 MB. Is it possible that XEN still has some problems juggling the resources of an instance? I get the feeling that my instance only gets the CPU “to do one task at the same time”.

4. Ok, so now I started surfing the web about more detailed Feedback (also negative) on EC2 an I found the following to links:

and I must say that I am stopping my experiment right here. And yes, this is _totally_true_: “And I get a bit irritated when I come across sentences like Jinesh’s at RailsConf: “infinity auto-scalable on-demand computing resource”” – but just go an check it out for yourself! EC2 of Amazon is definitely still BETA.