Category Archives: AWS

Manage Multiple AWS Accounts Using Direnv

Mad Hacker SkillsI came across a simple yet elegant means of managing multiple Amazon Web Services credentials when using the AWS CLI. This way does not make you have to hack your .aws/config and is the simplest/cleanest way I have found.

First install direnv and make sure it is in your PATH.

Be sure to remember to add the hook to your shell of choice as they outline in their README.

Now that you have direnv setup we can configure it for each client.

I use a directory structure to keep each client in their own directory.

So for example in : .../clients/ACME/ I make a .envrc file and export my AWS keys in it:

export AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID=****
export AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY=***

Once you make your .envrc file run direnv allow to enable using the config. Then test your AWS CLI to insure working properly.

Then when you are doing work on that client’s account you simply have to cd into their respective directory.

Be sure to either encrypt the whole directory or at least chmod 600 the .envrc files to protect your keys.

 

Using ownCloud as a Home Based Personal Cloud

I use many devices in many places and find simple set-it-and-forget-it services like Dropbox make my life much easier. I always need access to many different files on a daily basis. Yet I like many others are not comfortable with some of the privacy policies or terms of service most 3rd party services force you to agree to. Plus there is the expense of many of these services. With broadband and DSL speeds offering such great speeds it seems a waste to have a computer at home with much of your music and videos along with important files much too big to be stored even on Dropbox.

Using ownCloud to be your Own Cloud

Most home routers and WFi routers have built in support for dynamic DNS. This allows you to have a subdomain (or top level domain) pointed at your home connection that used DHCP to give you an IP. This means your IP can change and the dynamic DNS service repoints your domain to the new IP. Thus, allowing you to access your home network from anywhere. What I will be describing is installing all needed packages and ownCloud on Debian based system, namely in this example Ubuntu Server Edition 12.04 LTS.

You can also use this example to setup ownCloud using the AWS Free Tier to create your own true cloud based Dropbox replacement for you and your entire family. Simple setup an AWS account and enable EC2, and S3 (optionally). Then fire up a micro instance of Ubuntu Server. Connect an additional  EBS volume for added storage. You can also use this same instance to run your own VPN/SSH tunneler, but that is for another post.

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Virtual Homelessness and Virtual Living Come of Age

I was reading an article on BBC about Kelly Sutton of CultofLess.com and it got me to thinking about the potential for a new sub-culture in the US and rest of the world. Basically it is a movement (if you can call it that yet) of mainly 20-somethings relinquishing the vast majority of their posessions and living with as little as possible as long as they have their laptops and other digital goodies. Depending on friends and family to provide a place to sleep in some instances. This may yet be another symptom of steps toward what many call Technological Singularity in the sense that a new subset of people following this digital living and minimalism of possessions are becoming more popular. Now there are Hacker Spaces, imagine a day soon where there will be “Hacker Flop Houses” or “Hacker Hostels”. Even work could be transformed for this subset of people in terms of things already occurring. With the ability to telecommute or work on Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs) that services like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, Crowd Flower, or others could allow people to live an almost digital hobo existence bedding down in hacker flop houses and moving on to another place whenever they choose. With no physical address these people could also become hired digital guns if they chose to follow a less reputable path. Using public Internet access to do their deeds and be gone to another town by the time anyone notices. Almost sounds like something from a William Gibson book but the groundwork for this sort of thing is already in place in many instances. Roving gangs of black hats working to do the deeds of the highest bidder. Sounds pretty scary to me. Although that is just an example of what might happen. Most people as in the original article I read are honest working people who are following a route less taken, which I can understand and support. It would also be a very effective way to save money if you lack the overhead of a place to live.

Update 09212010 – Found an interesting write up on what is now being referred to as Technomads on BoingBoing.