Heroku, the popular cloud platform as a service company, today announced the public launch of its Europe region. Developers will now be able to deploy their services closer to their European customers, which should result in markedly reduced latency for them. The company says it has observed performance improvements of 100ms or more per request for European end users.
Heroku is built on top of Amazon’s EC2 platform, so while the company doesn’t explicitly note this in its announcement today, this means it is using Amazon’s data center in Ireland for this service. In the U.S., Heroku’s services are currently based in Amazon’s North Virginia (US-East-1) data center. Given this launch in Europe, it’s likely that Heroku is also looking into expanding its U.S. presence to more data centers across the country, too.
Developers, the company says, will also be able to easily deploy more than 60 add-ons from its marketplace in this new zone. Heroku will automatically deploy these in the same region the app is running in, too.
The company previously offered this service as a private beta for a small number of users, including Swedene’s TV4 and Betapond. “Deploying our app closer to our users in Heroku’s Europe region gave us a 150ms improvement in web performance. Based on this win for our users, we’re moving all of our apps to the Europe region,” TV4′s CTO Per Åström said in a canned statement today.
One issue for U.S. companies that want to bring cloud-based services to Europe is the fact that they have to comply with the EU’s privacy protection laws, which tend to be a bit more strict than similar laws in the U.S. The EU’s Directive on Data Protection prohibits the transfer of personal data to non-European Union countries that don’t meet its privacy protection standard. To ensure that this won’t hinder cloud-based services too much, however, Europe allows U.S. companies to be certified to ensure that their privacy policies are compliant with European regulations.
Heroku says it is “not yet a registered participant in the Safe Harbor program,” but the company has “laid the groundwork for becoming Safe Harbor certified and expect to have it soon.” Until then, developers have to assume that some of their data will be stored in – or pass through – Heroku’s U.S. data centers.
Godin launched Yoyodyne way back in 1995, a company which used contests, online games, and scavenger hunts to help market companies, with the likes of AOL (America Online), American Express, Microsoft, Sony Music and Sprint using its services. Yoyodyne was acquired by Yahoo in 1998.
But it was at Yoyodyne where Godin popularized the principle of so-called permission marketing, and went on to author many books on the subject.
In recent years, Godin has been focusing more on self-help style books, on how people can get ahead in the world and be the best they can. He has written and spoken widely about the future of learning in a networked world, and how the role of the teacher has to evolve in line with advances in technology. “There’s a very big difference between ‘access to information’, and ‘school’,” Godin has previously said. “They used to be the same thing. Information is there online, to any one of the billion people who has access to the Internet. So what that means, is if we give access to a 4-year-old, or an 8-year-old or a 12-year-old, they will get the information if they want it.”
Godin’s latest work is The Icarus Deception. One of its underlying concepts turns an age-old idiom on its head, in that it’s not better to be safe than sorry at all, in terms of work aspirations and life in general. It’s better to be sorry than safe, reckons Godin. It’s all about taking risks.
Icarus famously drowned after burning his wings when he flew too close to the sun, going against the advice of his father. But the Icarus metaphor has been lost along the way, says Godin.
“…I called it the Icarus Deception, [because] people think the story says don’t fly too close to the sun,” he says. “But that’s not what it used to say. 150 years ago, it used to say ‘don’t fly too low’. Because if you fly too low, the mist and the water will weigh you down, and you will perish.”
But how does a Greek fable apply to Godin’s new book? He explains.
“It’s about not settling – for 100 years we lived in an industrial economy, where people who ran the factories, made shoes and cars and life insurance policies, and amusement parks, they wanted us to fit in,” he says. They wanted us to be compliant, they wanted us to do what we were told, and that’s why they invented school. To teach us to sit still, and listen and regurgitate. But that industrial age is dying, right before our eyes.”
It’s worth noting here that Godin took to Kickstarter to stir-up interest in his latest book, as well as sell advance copies. He passed his $40,000 target in just a few hours, finally securing $287,342.
You can watch the full interview below, where we discuss risk-taking, treating work like art, and why Kickstarter isn’t the perfect funding machine. We also deep-dive into why traditional book publishing is dying, Squidoo, entrepreneurialism, startups…and where he gets his ideas from.
Here is the original post: Seth Godin on The Icarus Deception, risk-taking and why it’s better to be sorry than safe [Video]
Google has continued its focus on “public service” projects today by announcing a new AMBER alerts project in conjunction with The National Center For Missing And Exploited Children. This comes after the company set up a “Crisis Page” for those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Google is long-known for providing such services, and this new initiative is a fantastic addition.
What will happen is that when you’re using Google Search or Maps, you’ll see an AMBER Alert if one is in your area. AMBER Alerts let you know when a child has become missing and gives you all of the specific details so that you can keep an eye out, or if you’ve already seen something. Facebook already has a system like this, which is equally great.
Here’s what Google had to say about it:
If you’re using Google Search or Maps on desktop and mobile you’ll see an AMBER Alert if you search for related information in a particular location where a child has recently been abducted and an alert was issued. You’ll also see an alert if you conduct a targeted search for the situation. By increasing the availability of these alerts through our services, we hope that more people will assist in the search for children featured in AMBER Alerts and that the rates of safe recovery will rise.
AMBER Alerts will provide information about the abducted child and any other details about the case as they become available. Additional details could include the make and model of the vehicle he/she was abducted in or information about the alleged abductor.
Here’s an example of what you’ll see from the new initiative:
The fact that this is so integrated into Google users’ daily experience is only going to help the association find these missing kids. I would actually love to see more done on the project, basically something that sends your phone alerts or texts as well. Heck, I’d even like to see these alerts in my Google+ stream. Shoot, I wouldn’t mind if these alerts showed up on Google TV, if I had one.
Google said it is also working on bringing the service to Europe and Canada, as well as scaling to more countries. When technology is used for good, everyone in the world wins.
“Palmer was hanged outside Stafford Prison on 14th June 1856, watched by an enormous crowd of some 30,000 people. As he stepped onto the rather rickety gallows he turned to his gaoler and said “Are you sure it’s safe?” — via
Manhattan, a place I’ve always considered a spiritual home and sometimes an actual one, actually turned into a real-life version of all those post-apocalyptic movies about Manhattan on Monday evening as Superstorm Sandy hit landfall. We all learned that what the disaster movies miss in their bathos is something elemental to human behavior in these sorts of situations: Gallows humor.
Those of us with access to the Internet watched enthralled as the center of world commerce, New York City, was swallowed by flooding that eventually left 43 people dead and millions of dollars of property damaged. Because of all of the aforementioned disaster movies, the scenes broadcast were eerily familiar. Fake photos of the carnage abounded, trumped only by the more horrific, and real photos of the carnage. And jokes, lots of jokes.
The evolution of the Instagram feed for #Sandy over the past couple of days has been fascinating: What started out on Sunday night as a steady stream of 10 jokey images per second referencing Spongebob Squarepants or “Ice Age” or “Grease” or people otherwise laughing in the face of the storm’s imminent danger, slowly turned into a steady stream of 10 images per second referencing real survival strategies (stockpiles of non-perishables and water) as the storm approached.
By the time Sandy hit Manhattan, the feed was 10 images per second, late last night, of insane flooding and the facades falling of buildings and cars floating by in water. Interspersed by jokes.
And the same on Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr: The @ElBloombito Twitter account was on a roll this a.m., as the real El Bloombito gave parts of his recovery speech in Spanish. His sign language translator Lydia Callis became Internet famous, with people building numerous Tumblrs and fan pages in her honor.
Nowhere in “28 Days Later” do you see people Gangnam-styling in the background of news reports of oncoming floods, or a guy running around in a horse head mask defying Mother Nature, Instagramming his costume and alerting the Internet about his plan beforehand. (Horse Head Guy will you marry me?) But that’s what happened in the social media storm and resulting Internet campfire that surrounded Hurricane Sandy: Countless quips about Sandy-themed Halloween costumes and the #Frankenstorm interspersed with sincere entreaties to “Stay safe” or “disaster updates” from friends.
Sure gallows humor is nothing new: People have always made jokes like this when faced with their own mortality, from murderer William Palmer above to the literary playwright Oscar Wilde remarking “Either that wallpaper goes, or I do” on his deathbed. Humans like to feel in control of their fate, even in cases where they are not so at all, and making light of a bad situation or threat at least conceptually takes away some of its power.
Up until now, though, offline media has had a hard time spotlighting this behavior, because it’s not cheery and mainstream and not easily advertised against. On the Internet, which revels in niches, gallows humor can take center stage. The Internet amplifies these jokes to the point where people, like this prankster college student or Horse Head Guy, actually try to aim for meme status.
This morning, we woke up and the first thing many of us did was think “Is New York going to be okay?” And as we turned to Instagram (and Twitter and Facebook) to find out, the apocalyptic pics of last night turned into pics of rainbows over Redpoint, Brooklyn. Or Governor Christie joking about rescheduling Halloween. And we then knew it was over, at least the worst part.
Follow this link: Gallows Humor
The move was reported by Reuters and others a few weeks ago, but Yandex had declined to confirm that it was working on its own browser up until today.
It comes a few months after we reported that Yandex had been ousted from the default search option spot in the latest version of Mozilla’s Firefox browser, in favor of Google. Obviously, Google Chrome also searches Google by default.
Yandex also offers a customized Firefox browser to its users, a product it recently said it would keep offering. That remains to be seen, now that the company has decided to debut its own, branded Internet browser.
Coincidentally, Mail.ru (that other Russian Internet giant) just did exactly the same thing, launching the ‘social’ Amigo browser last week.
Yandex’s browser, which is simply dubbed Yandex Browser, uses the WebKit engine, which of course also powers the Apple Safari and Google Chrome browsers. Furthermore, Yandex says its new browser is based on the open-source Chromium code. And it doesn’t end there:
The Yandex browser platform has through a technological partnership with a key long term partner been expanded to incorporate Opera Software’s Turbo technology, which allows to boost the browser’s page loading capacity even with a slow connection. The Turbo mode will be included in the next browser release.
The browser supports Windows and Mac OS, and it’s safe to assume it will soon be extended to mobile platforms as well.
The company says its cloud-based “safe browsing technology”, together with Kaspersky Lab’s security solution, will safeguard users by warning them about potentially malicious websites.
Strangely, the Yandex browser isn’t available for download just yet, despite the announcement. It will be available in about 5 hours from now at the time of publication (at 17:00 Moscow time to be more precise).
A browser and a search engine are not the only weapons Yandex employs in the battle against Google and others, we should note.