This past weekend I finally tackled two projects that I had on my to do list for quite a while. Had I known how easy they would turn out to be I would have worked on them much sooner. The first was setting up the 212 area code number I had bought for Susan a while back. As a longtime New York resident she really didn’t like that we got a 646 number when we moved back from the suburbs. As it turns out you can buy unused 212 numbers. All I wanted to do then is to forward that number to our 646 number. So I ported the 212 number to Twilio, which was painless but takes a bit of time. Once that was done though, all I had to do was log into Twilio and use the forwarding Twimlet. Twilio provides these as a way to route and respond to calls without having to run your own server. In fact, I wound up chaining the forward Twimlet together with the voicemail Twimlet so we can get recorded and transcribed voicemails. From logging into Twilio to having it all up and running was a matter of minutes.
The second project was to find a cloud backup for all the stuff stored on our aging ReadyNAS drive array. I have a Dropbox account but this really isn’t a case of wanting to sync something. I don’t need a local copy of these really old files. Now I could have set up a folder in my dropbox and used selective sync, but it occurred to me that I could just use Amazon S3 directly. I found a nice little Mac OS utility called One Way that lets me right click on folders and upload them to S3. From there it was just a matter of a few minutes of logging into my AWS account, creating a bucket in S3 and starting to dump stuff into it.
In both of these cases I was using developer infrastructure to solve essentially a consumer problem: a routable phone number and cloud backup. In both cases it was super easy to do and took only minutes to set up. While this won’t become mass market consumer behavior it speaks to the power and ease-of-use of the respective platforms. Instead of developer infrastructure I am beginning to think of these as power user infrastructure. That may well wind up being a category to itself with services such as IFTTT. Would love to hear if anyone else has examples that might fit this category (btw, I also love how easy it is to host a static website on S3!).