Tag Archives: S3

Tools I Use: S3 Browser

Disclaimer: NetSDK Software provided me with a free Professional License of S3 Browser as I am a freeware developer in exchange for an unbiased review. I was going to publish a review anyway but when I was given a Professional License, I modified it to include the additional unlocked features. However, my original thoughts and feelings about S3 Browser have not changed.

With the release of Custom Paper Deployment Tool last August, my server was flooded with users trying to download it. If you have used Custom Paper Deployment Tool at all, you know that it is a fairly hefty program with more than 500 MB of required files (This is due to the 32 PDF Notepads included within). My VPS (Virtual Private Server) with 384 MB of RAM and a 100 mbps network connection was unable to cope with the stress. I was forced to restart the server once per hour and the vast majority of users were unable to successfully download the program as the Apache Web Server would cut the connection when it got overwhelmed.

Needless to say, this was not a viable solution at all! As I was searching for something cost effective with the scalability needed to handle the load spikes when many people want to download Custom Paper Deployment Tool at once, I remembered that I had been playing with Amazon’s S3 (part of the AWS platform) and that it was designed to do exactly that! After verifying that S3 would allow me to utilize Microsoft’s ClickOnce deployment technology, I next needed a way to reliably move 500 MB of data to S3 and update it as necessary.

At first, I looked at S3Fox a FireFox extension I had used back when I still used FireFox. However, I was not thrilled with the idea of firing up FireFox (in addition to Google Chrome, my daily-use browser).

This led me to look for desktop clients for Amazon S3 and the two that I tried were CloudBerry Lab’s CloudBerry Explorer for Amazon S3 & NetSDK Software’s S3 Browser. After trying out both of them, I decided to use to S3 Browser primarily because I preferred it’s user interface and it felt more comfortable to use (at least to me). I disliked Cloudberry Explorer’s dual pane approach (local and remote storage) as it led to confusion during my informal testing. S3 Browser allows me to upload the files I need to quickly, efficiently and reliably.

The freeware version allows you to transfer 2 files simultaneously to Amazon S3 while the Professional version eliminates that restriction and allows you to transfer as many files simultaneously as your internet connection will support. S3 browser easily allows the creation of new buckets and completely and simply manages your entire Amazon S3 account.

S3 Browser has been the perfect solution I have been looking for. So far, I have published several updates of Custom Paper Deployment Tool to S3 after testing them locally and each time S3 Browser has quickly and efficiently uploaded the relevant files to Amazon.

I would most definitely recommend S3 Browser to anyone who needs to quickly move files to and from Amazon S3. I have attached a comparison table showing the differences between S3 Browser’s Free and Professional versions as provided by NetSDK Software.

Provided by NetSDK Software

Update to Problems with Downloading my Custom Paper Deployment Tool

I know there have been severe problems with DNS (provided for free by http://xname.org) as well as web server overloads so I have finally setup deployment using Amazon’s S3 service for reliability and stability. The link on the download page has been updated to reflect that change. If you have a working copy of the download, it is not required that you uninstall and reinstall using that link, but it is recommended so that you automatically get future updates.

I would also like to note that as of now: http://xname.org DNS is now back in sync with all three of their DNS servers so my domains are routing correctly now. The plan is to eventually setup cname records to push out a new update (or two) with a seamless transition for user back to the install.rohankapoor.com install domain while still hosting on Amazon’s S3 platform. This should be seamless with an estimated 3 updates to the Custom Paper Deployment Tool. If you have not downloaded the new version since I changed the url, it is recommended that you do so, so as to not miss the updates.

Problems Downloading Custom Paper Deployment Tool

Recently I’ve talked about a new tool I’ve released for Livescribe Smartpens, my Custom Paper Deployment Tool, which allows users (running Windows) to deploy any of my custom papers (and soon any other custom paper) to any Livescribe Smartpen now that the Development Program has officially ended and Livescribe will no longer support Custom Paper and third-party development.

I’ve noticed that many users are having problems connecting to the download page (http://install.rohankapoor.com) and have traced the problem with it. The DNS servers I use, run by http://xname.org are having a replication problem and the primary DNS server is serving the correct data while the secondary DNS server is serving incorrect data that is two months out of date. As far as I know, XName is aware of the problem and will hopefully have a fix soon. I’ve also noticed much higher load on my web-server as the download files are quite large and the demand is quite high.

The solution appears to be providing an alternate download location (which I will probably use Amazon’s S3 service for). Unfortunately, I am currently quite far from the my development computer and will be unable to modify the manifest file to change that location until I return. I can recommend trying to use Google’s DNS ( until I am able to resolve this as it is bringing more accurate results. I apologize for the delay.