cost explorer

Cost Explorer – Find Your AWS Budget

The complexities of an enterprise AWS configuration can be staggering.  In fact, the ability to determine your required budget can be a blocking factor in moving to AWS.  Thus, Amazon has provided the Cost Explorer tool to help us figure out what our environment is likely to cost. Getting Started With Cost Explorer The first thing you need to do is enable Cost Explorer.  This is done by logging into your AWS dashboard and then clicking on the billing menu item.... Read more

build your portfolio

Building Your Portfolio and Presenting it to Prospects

Once a customer has been won, there are always others to impress.  The good news is that it gets easier to win the contracts past the first.  However, a smart approach includes building your portfolio to use past success to attract future clients. Building Your Portfolio Requires More Than Pictures A good IT portfolio starts with some screenshots and captures.  However, that should be just the beginning.  Your customers desire more than just a beautiful application.  They are looking for a solution to... Read more

winning your first it project

Winning Your First IT Consulting Project

The hardest part of IT consulting arguably is landing that first customer and project.  This is obviously one of the important steps in a successful career. Unfortunately, it often is where dreams of consulting die.  The world has gotten smaller and it is easier to connect with potential customers.  However, this makes competition more likely as well.  Over the years I have found a number of attributes of strong contenders.  Here are some things you can do without have a... Read more

Chalkboard of words like training and development

Incorporating User Experience Into Your Solution From The Start

In this third episode of the Creating a Software Solution series we look at the user experience.  The key to a software solution is solving a problem that needs to be addressed.  However, a solution that is not usable will likely fail.  That leads us to a focus on the user experience from the beginning of the project.  We will discuss building a foundation for the solution that will make the customers happy. There are Many Considerations for User Experience One... Read more


Amazon App Stream – Run Your Applications Anywhere

In the list of AWS resources,  I think AppStream (2.0) is one of the most powerful and innovative. What is AppStream? This service is another bundle of features that add up to a solution to a common problem.  The problem is providing access to a Windows application across the Internet.  There are a lot of legacy applications built for companies that require access from more than a desktop.  Remote workers are becoming more common, and that means that we need to... Read more


Amazon Chime – Keep In Touch

The Chime application from Amazon has a very limited free tier option (limited to two people) but does have a thirty-day trial.  Better yet, the trial does not require a credit card and simply drops to the free tier after thirty days have passed. Conference Application You may have lived in a hole or work in a low tech business.  In either case, you might not know what Go To Meeting is.  This is a tool for creating virtual meetings.  A... Read more


Amazon Athena – Spreadsheet to Database Conversion

The tour of Amazon AWS services moves to Athena this week.  This service is a utility on top of S3 that allows you do queries of data files stored there.  Thus, it is a great tool for digging into your log, spreadsheet, or other data without the need of a DBA. An Athena Overview This tool is as easy to use as it is powerful.  All one has to do is upload a file to S3, link to it in Athena,... Read more


Amazon WorkSpaces – The True Road Warrior Solution

The next stop on our AWS tour is Amazon Workspaces.  This service allows you to launch a virtual desktop you can access anywhere quickly.  Thus, no more lugging around a laptop.  Now you can connect to your desktop from anywhere.  Even better, you can get to work with only an Internet connection. Virtual Windows Workspaces There are some options available via Amazon workspaces.  However, the Microsoft Windows options have the largest appeal.  They offer an opportunity to bring your license... Read more

simple notification service

Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS)

There is a broad range of services included in Amazon’s AWS.  The offerings include an easy way to subscribe to and send, notifications in a variety of methods.  This product is called the Simple Notification Service (SNS for short) and we will look into it for this stop on the tour. An Overview of Simple Notification Service Amazon provides a nice summary and overview of SNS as they do with all services.  If that seems too lengthy then the summary can be... Read more