Borrow a Computer From Amazon


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If you're a software developer, you may have a need for testing on hardware or an operating system that you don't own. If such a need is provided by Amazon's EC2 (elastic cloud), it's free to sign up and relatively painless to set up your account, primarily the AWS access key and secret. The script I wrote to launch a Linux or a Windows system also currently requires a keypair to be setup, with the private key saved into testing.pem in your home directory, but that is something that could be done at runtime and placed into a temporary file. You also need to set up your $HOME/.netrc file with this information (see script for details) and you might need a line added to your /etc/services file:

rdp	3389/tcp	# remote desktop protocol

You run the script with arg 'windows' to boot up a Windows instance and connect to it using rdesktop (which must be installed), or with arg 'linux' (or no arg) to create a Linux instance and connect to it with ssh. Note that due to Amazon's EC2Config program, the Windows desktop will shut itself down after a few minutes; so wait until it reappears before you try doing anything time-intensive. Also remember to change your "Internet Settings" via the "Custom settings" button to enable downloads; unless you enjoy being angry and frustrated. I'd also like to be able to open up IE to all websites by default, but haven't figured that one out yet.

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last updated 2012-03-30 21:50:08. served from tektonic