Tag Archives: Amazon

How A Simple Command Typo Took Down Amazon S3 and Big Chunk of the Internet

The major internet outage across the United States earlier this week was not due to any virus or malware or state-sponsored cyber attack, rather it was the result of a simple TYPO.

Amazon on Thursday admitted that an incorrectly typed command during a routine debugging of the company’s billing system caused the 5-hour-long outage of some Amazon Web Services (AWS) servers on Tuesday.


Police Ask for Amazon Echo Data to Help Solve a Murder Case

Hey, Alexa! Who did this murder?

Arkansas police are seeking help from e-commerce giant Amazon for data that may have been recorded on its Echo device belonging to a suspect in a murder case, bringing the conflict into the realm of the Internet of Things.

Amazon Echo is a voice-activated smart home speaker capable of controlling several smart devices by integrating it with a variety of home

Hello, Alexa. Amazon Makes Bold Move Into IoT

Amazon is among the technology companies trying to seize the IoT space, and voice activation technology is a key part of the puzzle – as is artificial intelligence.

With its newly enhanced product, Amazon Echo (with Alexa), the company may do the trick, based on rave reviews amidst its recent (July 14) roll-out, which included going beyond beta phase and adding services. The device is now available to anyone, not just Amazon Prime members, who were the first to give it a try.

Basically, Echo is designed around the user’s voice, and is a hands-free speaker system that connects you to the outside world. It gradually adapts to the user’s voice and inflection.

It has seven microphones and the device connects to Alexa, a cloud-based voice service, to provide information, answer questions, play music, read the news, check sports scores or the weather, and more. So think of it as a smartphone service without the smartphone and you begin to get the picture…

Echo plays music from Amazon Music, Prime Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and other systems. If you want to wake up in the morning to Eye of the Tiger, just say “Alexa” and ask.

But there is more. For example, it’s compatible with Philips Hue connected-devices so that you can control lights and switches with your voice. As industry analyst Tim Bajarin wrote in his review on PC Magazine: “You can expect Amazon to get light switches, door locks, appliances, and more connected to the Echo so it becomes the central control point for an eventual home information and automation system.

Amazon is throwing serious money behind its voice recognition plans in hopes to become a key player. It has put $100 million dollars into The Alexa Fund to “fuel voice technology innovation.” So, the race is on.

It’s fascinating to me how IoT, voice commands, technology, convenience, and modern ideas are all converging. It’s an exciting time to be in tech, to be sure.

Finally, on a side note: I find intriguing that Alexa is again molded in a woman’s voice, soothing like Siri. Is this because all the programmers (or marketers) are trying to reach the key decision makers in the smart home – or were so frightened by HAL in Stanley Kubrick’s Space Odyssey and his representation of an AI-based future? But I’ll save that as a topic for another day…

Amazon Transparency Report Shows Few Requests For User Data

Amazon has released its first transparency report, and for a company as large as Amazon, there is surprisingly little in the way of detail or explanation in the report. The company reported that it received 813 subpoenas, 25 search warrants, and 0-249 national security requests. Of the 813 subpoenas Amazon received in the first five […]

Three reasons to be excited about: drones

Much like selfies, drones have a love/hate status with the public. On one hand, they are fun and useful tool for hobbyists and scientists but their popularity has been hampered by privacy and security concerns.

Several large scale public events such as the Super Bowl have announced they are “No Drone Zones” and the reasons are certainly understandable. The highly affordable nature of drones and their ability to carry a payload (either a camera or something more nefarious) can be a major security concern for officials.

While authorities and companies grapple with the complexities of bringing drone services to the market and how to legislate them, it leaves us some time to contemplate the exciting ways that drones could be used in the future.



Just this week a Canadian broke the Guinness World Record for the longest hover-board flight standing on a large drone.


World Record Hover Board Attempt

While this is still some way away from being a viable transport alternative, the proof of concept shows that humans, as much as anything else, can be viable cargo for drones.

As we continue to look for viable and more environmentally friendly personalized transport, drones could well hint at a solution.



One of the most inspiring use for drones that I’ve seen in recent months is the Air Shepherd project in Africa where rangers are using drones to help combat poaching of big game animals such as rhinos and elephants.

Faced with a limited budget and vast swathes of land to protect, drones have become a vital tool to help conservationists patrol boundaries, track animals and crack down on illegal hunting and poaching even at night.


Air Shepherd Project



Companies like Amazon have brought drone delivery into the public conscience and it’s easy to see why they are keen to get the service off the ground. Using drones to deliver goods and services to clients brings a whole raft of new opportunities for businesses and a new world of convenience for purchasers.


Amazon Prime Air

The idea that within moments of placing an order online, whether for a tin of paint or for a pizza, a drone will be sent directly to your exact location carrying your order is nothing short of incredible.

The days of having to stay home to take a delivery look numbered and very soon anything we could need will be just a click away from flying directly to us.


What are the uses for drones that most excite you? Let me know on Twitter or on Facebook.


Title image courtest of The Volt Report