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AWS Announces the General Availability of Amazon EBS io2 Block Express Volumes – InfoQ.com

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Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes are a key Elastic Compute (EC2) component with several HDD and SSD volumes, each designed for a particular use case. And recently, AWS announced the general availability of its cloud-based storage area network (SAN) offering, Amazon EBS io2 Block Express volumes – providing 4x higher throughput, IOPS, and capacity than io2 volumes.

Last year at re:Invent 2020, the company previewed Amazon EBS io2 Block Express volumes as a SAN offering. It is designed according to AWS to meet the requirements of the largest, most I/O-intensive, mission-critical deployments of Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, SAP HANA, and SAS Analytics on AWS. The volumes are now generally available first with Amazon EC2 R5b instances powered by the AWS Nitro System, which delivers the highest EBS-optimized performance. Support for other instances besides R5b is coming soon. In addition, with the GA release, the io2 Block Express volumes now also support io2 features such as Multi-Attach and Elastic Volumes.

Channy Yun, a principal developer advocate for AWS, explains in an AWS News blog post on the GA release:

The new Block Express architecture delivers the highest levels of performance with sub-millisecond latency by communicating with an AWS Nitro System-based instance using the Scalable Reliable Datagrams (SRD) protocol, which is implemented in the Nitro Card dedicated for EBS I/O function on the host hardware of the instance. Block Express also offers modular software and hardware building blocks that can be assembled in many ways, giving you the flexibility to design and deliver improved performance and new features at a faster rate.

Users can create io2 Block Express volumes in the Amazon EC2 console, AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI), or an SDK with the Amazon EC2 API when creating R5b instances. Next, after selecting the EC2 R5b instance type, on the Add Storage page, under Volume Type, users can choose Provisioned IOPS SSD (io2) – and the new volumes will be created in the Block Express format.


Source: https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/amazon-ebs-io2-block-express-volumes-with-amazon-ec2-r5b-instances-are-now-generally-available/

Amazon EBS io2 Block Express volumes can be an alternative to enterprises for their on-premise solution. In an AWS press release on the GA release, the company states:

io2 Block Express volumes reinvent block storage and give customers the performance they expect from a SAN, but with the elasticity of AWS, unlimited scale, and flexibility of pay-as-you-go pricing—at as low as half the cost of a typical SAN. io2 Block Express volumes are designed for applications that benefit from high-volume IOPS, high throughput, high durability, high storage capacity, and low latency.

tweet by Igor Nemy, technologist at labSpaceSys, says:

Public clouds are getting closer and closer to be identified as large mainframes. SAN volume with 256k IOps, 4GB/s throughput, and 99.999% of durability. I won’t be surprised if this is powered by bespoke ARM-based Nitro (!side-) project.

Currently, io2 Block Express volumes are available in all regions where R5b is available – which include US East (Ohio), US East (N. Virginia), US West (Oregon), Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), and Europe (Frankfurt). In addition, the company announced that support for more regions is coming soon. 

Note that AWS bills the io2- and io2 Express volumes the same way and recommends using tags to identify costs associated with io2 Block Express volumes. Pricing details of io2 volumes are available on the Amazon EBS pricing page.

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Amazon just leaked a brand-new Kindle Paperwhite – XDA Developers

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Amazon Canada has just leaked a brand new Kindle Paperwhite alongside an additional “Signature Edition”, thanks to a now-removed comparison table. The comparison table showed the differences between the last generation of Kindle Paperwhite and the new generation. While the regular Kindle Paperwhite sporting a 6.8-inch E-ink display. The Signature Edition also comes with wireless charging, more storage, and backlights which adjust based on the current light levels of the environment it’s being used in.

Kindle Paperwhite new comparsion

GoodEReader (via The Verge) spotted the addition to Amazon Canada, and we get an idea of what to expect thanks to the comparison table that’s published. Both Kindles are IPX8 water-resistant, and both have an adjustable warm light. The regular Kindle Paperwhite has 8GB of storage, whereas the Signature Edition has 32GB of storage. Both support Wi-Fi, and both have 17 LEDs on the front (up from just four on the regular Kindle). There are obviously a lot of details left out too, such as what type of charging port it uses. Kindles have been using micro USB for years upon years, and even the flagship Kindle Oasis still uses a micro USB port.

It’s unclear when Amazon will announce both of these new e-readers, though it’s likely to be soon given that it’s clear the site was being prepared for its launch. The last Kindle Paperwhite came out in November 2018, so we may not be too far off a launch. The Kindle Paperwhite appears to cost $149.99, and the Signature Edition appears to cost $209.99.

Last week saw the arrival of a complete Kindle UI revamp that will roll out over the next few weeks. It brings a brand-new design to the home screen and library UI, and also adds a new navigation bar. Presumably, both new models will have the latest Kindle firmware preloaded on release.

Featured image: Amazon Kindle (10th Generation)

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Forgot to Pre-Order Your iPhone 13 or 13 Pro? Apple Store Pickup Remains an Option for Launch Day – MacRumors

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iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro pre-orders began last Friday at 5:00 a.m. Pacific Time, and soon after, shipping estimates for select models began slipping to late September or early October for some models.


If you weren’t prepared to get up at an early hour or you haven’t got round to pre-ordering for another reason, there’s still a chance to get an ‌iPhone 13‌ mini, ‌iPhone 13‌, ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌, or ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ Max in your hands when they launch on Friday.

In the United States and other countries that have Apple retail stores, such as Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, many ‌iPhone 13‌ models are still available for in-store pickup on Friday, September 24.

Even if a particular iPhone model isn’t estimated to be delivered on launch day, it’s still possible to reserve some versions for in-store pickup.

iphone 13 pickup1

iphone 13 pickup1
An ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ in Silver with 128GB of storage, for example, is currently estimated to ship in 4-5 weeks on Apple’s online store. However, the device is available for pickup on September 24 at multiple retail stores in several countries.

Once you proceed to the checkout and click the blue “Checkout” button, select “I’ll pick it up,” then choose a store location, pickup date, and an available 15-minute check-in window from the options.

If you will be picking up the ‌iPhone‌ personally, enter your phone number. If someone else will be arranging the pickup, enter his or her contact information. The person making the pickup must be carrying a valid photo ID.

Then, proceed with the checkout process as usual. Once payment has been made, wait until you receive a pickup notification email or text message by September 24 before picking up the ‌iPhone‌. If you don’t receive one, call the store.

iphone 13 pickup2

iphone 13 pickup2
Since the ‌iPhone‌ is paid for ahead of time, the store will hold the device in its back room until you arrive. Your order will be held for 14 days.

Of course, another option is to simply wait until Friday and walk into an Apple store, preferably right when they open. You may have to wait in line, but the queues have typically been shorter in recent years. Note that temperature checks and face masks may be required.

You can use the pickup tool on Apple’s website on launch day to check if stores in your local area have stock, or call the store directly.

All in all, there are still a few days to ensure you get your new ‌iPhone‌ on launch day, even if you missed the pre-order rush. Just make sure to select which color, storage, and carrier combinations are still available for pick-up by September 24.

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iOS 15 now available with new FaceTime features and Focus notifications – MobileSyrup

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iOS 15 is here, so saddle up your iPhone and start downloading the latest update to try out all of the new features. This year’s update is overall pretty bland, especially compared to the new hotness that is Material You over on Android, but it’s a worthwhile update nonetheless.

Below I highlight a few of my favourite new features and what I like about them based on a few weeks I’ve spent with the latest iOS 15 beta, but before that, let’s go over how to install the update. As with all iOS updates, simply navigate to your Settings app, open the ‘General’ section and select ‘Software update.’

The update is compatible with smartphones as old as the iPhone 6s and the iPhone SE.

What is this new Focus mode?

The most noticeable iOS 15 update is the new look for notifications. This time around, the app icon with each notification is larger to make it easier to see at-a-glance which app is begging for your attention.

Beyond that subtle visual flourish, there’s a new ‘Focus’ button within Settings and Control Center (the menu that allows you to change screen brightness and play/pause music playback). When you open this, it shows you a few new notification filters that can block preset apps during specific times. You need to set this up on your own, but once activated, it can be useful for blocking social notifications during work hours and work notifications during social hours.

FaceTime invites Windows and Android to the party

FaceTime Gridview

Perhaps the part of iOS 15 that will be used the most is a new FaceTime feature that allows users to set up chatrooms that you can invite people to with a link. This is just like how Zoom, Google Meet and Teams all work, putting FaceTime on slightly more level footing with those competitors. It also allows FaceTime users to invite Android and Windows users for the first time.

To be clear, non-Apple users can only be invited to a FaceTime chat; they can’t start one.

On top of all this, Apple has also added some new layouts to Facetime to make it easier to see everyone in a chat at once.

The new iMessage updates take a bit to get used to

One of the more subtle updates that’s come with iOS 15 is a new form of iMessage. For the most part, the app looks the same, but now, when you send or receive multiple photos, they get stacked in the chat instead of all displayed at once.

This looks nicer, but you can easily mistake it for just a single photo if you just glance at it.

One of the more exciting updates that seems cool but might not catch on is the new ‘Shared with you’ sections within Safari and Photos. In each of these sections, you can see links or pictures that people have sent you via iMessage, so you can quickly open them or check them out later.

Copy text from anywhere

One of the sleeper updates added in iOS 15 is the ability to copy text from pretty much anything.

Within the Photos app, you can click on a little icon in the bottom right of each picture to copy text from within the photo. If you’re in Safari, you can tap and hold onto text in images and, in pretty much every case, the phone will be able to copy it accurately.

You can also highlight phone numbers to instantly call them or addresses to get directions in Maps.

Spotlight search is the real way to get around your iPhone in 2021

If you’re not already utilizing the power of Spotlight Search on iPhone, you should really start with iOS 15.

When you pull down on the home screen in the new update, you can search for pretty much anything now. This includes the web, your photos, contacts and messages, among many other sources. You can even now use it from the iOS lock screen.

Auto translate

The iOS translate app can automatically detect when a person is speaking and will begin translation immediately. Since you can also select text in images and other things in iOS 15, you can also translate them quite easily.

This isn’t the new Safari iWanted

The new design is on the left and the old is on the right.

When Apple first revealed iOS 15 and its other software updates earlier this summer, it planned to revamp the look of Safari on all of them. While I was really excited about these visual changes, the world, apparently, was not.

The first version of iOS 15 safari was a simple bubble that floated at the bottom of the screen. If you tapped on the bubble, you could search using Google. There was also a three-dot menu and a button to see all your open tabs. Swiping across the bubble also allowed users to jump through all their open tabs quickly. This functionality, thankfully, is still in iOS 15.

The search bubble didn’t last, and instead, Apple replaced it with a much more accessible and technical-looking bottom navbar. While this version might not look as nice, it’s likely going to be a lot easier for people to adapt to.

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