Blog: Amazon

The Camelizer is a nice browser plugin (for Safari, Firefox, Chrome) that allows you to view historical price information for just about any item on Amazon. Also, you can set your desired price so you get an email whenever the price drops to or below your desired price. It's a great way to ensure you get the best deal on what you want. You can download the browser plugin from:


Over the years, many people have asked me about backup for home machines.  Burning files to DVDs and carry them to a different location is problematic.  It's a lot of trouble to make frequent offsite backups.  I recently did some research and decided on using a program called Duplicati for backup and Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) for storage.  I think having the backup program and the storage separate is the best solution.  I can even back up to multiple providers in case one of them just goes away without warning.

Duplicati is free and open source and runs on Windows, Linux and MacOS.  It has a nice GUI interface plus a rich command line.  Duplicati has built-in AES-256 encryption, which means you hold the key and your backups are encrypted before leaving your network.  It creates normal zip files and then encrypts them with AES Crypt, so even if Duplicati breaks, you can still download, decrypt, and unzip your backups using other standard tools. [more]

Duplicati will back up to many different cloud providers (Amazon S3, Rackspace, Google Docs, SkyDrive, Tahoe-LAFS, WEBDAV, FTP, SSH) as well as file based locations.

I chose Amazon S3 for storage because of the history of reliability of Amazon.  The cost if not much either.  You get 5 GB free, and then it’s 12.5¢/GB/month after that.  So you can store 50GB for less than $6/month.  It is even cheaper if you choose the Reduced Redundancy Storage (RRS).

Get Duplicati here

Sign up for Amazon S3 storage here


A while ago, I was flying back into Lubbock after a weeklong trip and realized, when I got onto the plane headed for Dallas, that I had left my Kindle in a seat back pocket of the previous plane. After getting over that initial shock, I started looking for what I needed to do. I called Amazon Kindle support and they kindly deactivated my Kindle (so that others couldn’t make purchases using my credit card) and even put a flag on the account so that the device was unable to be used by anyone else. I then called the airline’s lost and found service and filed a claim for my missing Kindle. They told me it would be a couple of weeks before I probably heard anything so I figured that was all I could do. [more]

Fast forward to last week and I had purchased a new Kindle Fire to replace the one I had left behind (and to play with the new Fire) when I get a phone call from Josh H. with Amazon Kindle Lost & Found. Apparently, someone had found my Kindle and sent it back to Amazon. He called me up and verified my shipping address and email address and informed me that they would be shipping my Kindle back to me, free of charge, via UPS ground. A few minutes later, I get the tracking number and everything is good in the world again.

Moral of the story is: Amazon Customer Support is really quite astounding in how they take care of their customers. If you have a legitimate problem, they seem to go out of their way at times to take care of you.