Amazon Web Services Start-Up Tour in Toronto

Attended this event at the MaRS Discovery centre,  informative as always (I was at another AWS event last year that was smaller scale), which was hosted by Prashant Sridharan, Director, Amazon Web Services and Mike Culver, AWS Evangelist, with presentations from:

  • Carlos Barrettara, Co-Founder, Polar Mobile
  • Ilya Grigorik, Co-Founder, AideRSS
  • Chris Thiessen, Founder, Zoomii
  • Paul Bloore, CTO, Idee
  • Farhan Thawar, Chief Software Architect, I Love Rewards

While all the presentations were interesting and full of the usual architecture diagrams (slides on slideshare.net are forthcoming, apparently), my faves were from Chris Thiessen of Zoomii and Paul Bloore of Idee, just because their stuff was so cool.

Zoomii brings the feel of browsing a real bookstore to the web, and does a pretty good job of it. Even on slowish machines and/or slowish internet connections, the UI is pretty smooth. Also impressive about this presentation was that Thiessen, who also blogs, had rolled his own HTTP server and database (if I recall correctly), among a bunch of other things.

Paul Bloore of Idee showcased TinEye, an image search engine (currently in beta) that actually searches the pixels that comprise an image rather than (as Google does) the text around an image. The engine seems to be pretty robust, and did some impressive matching on images of low quality, and in significantly altered states. Bloore demoed one of the cooler features, which was an iPhone app that allows you to take pictures of things–in this case, a CD cover–submit it to TinEye for processing, and get a bunch of results related to the product which, in this case, was the option to buy the album from the iTunes store, though other typical results would include reviews.

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