Sunday, May 23, 2010

I'm Done Recycling...

... at cafe's at least; sorry. I thought this get here, but after years of recycling I'm fed up. At home I can control the separation between compost, mixed materials, and trash/landfill. But... cafe's had made it impossible to recycle or compost anymore. Some provide compostable straws/lids/cups/napkins, but some don't; telling the difference between the two is all but impossible. The end result... I don't spend the extra 30 seconds it takes to figure it all out.

To further complicate things, everyone has their own cute recycle station with paragraphs describing what to put in which of the, at least three, bins. Guess what, I just hunt for the trash/landfill bin so I don't have to hurt my little brain by figuring out what is in my hand, and which bin it should go in.

I started recycling and composting long before it became popular/trendy, and have voted for every legislative measure to promote recycling over the past couple of decades I've been able to vote over. However, I hate to say it, the regulations around what can go where have turned me off. Humans are generally lazy and dumb. American's (of which I am one) like to throw unbelievable amounts of things away. Combine the two with today's recycling measures and I predict we're taking a step backward.

Once fairly clean recycle streams are now polluted with materials that don't mix and the energy it takes to clean the stream counters the benefits of recycling at all. Here's a decent writeup on the stream problem, and plenty have been written about Boulder County as well.

We need to mandate the production of compostable materials (cups, straws, bowls, forks, spoons, knives, etc) so, as consumers, we don't have to think about what we're about to "throw away." This should all be easy.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Take 2: Amazon S3 file deletion FAIL

The S3 bucket key deletion saga continues. I had two Ec2 XL instances running 24/7 for about a month, running ~150 parallelized DELETE requests on s3 bucket keys (each machine), and dented my S3 usage by only 10%. I spent ~$1,500 (money went to Amazon obviously) on those dedicated XL instances in the process, while only reducing my S3 bill by ~10%, and that doesn't include the operational/engineering overhead to manage the deletion software/machines.

I'm left with only one option to wipe out the data on S3 that I don't need anymore; closing my Amazon account, and opening a new one. While I have high hopes that I'll be able to use the same keys/tokens/secrets in the new account, I'm doubtful. Thus, I'll incur several thousand more dollars re-wiring Gnip's vast network of machines, and RightScale, to work w/ the new account.

Lesson here is that you have to be very conscious when dealing with very large data sets on Amazon's S3.