back to article Free cloud server self-destructs in 35 minutes

Creating a cloud server takes just a few minutes and cost peanuts, but a chap in the USA has decided it takes too long and created a site that spawns a free Amazon Web Services EC2 micro-instance in seconds and then offers you the chance to open a terminal window to drive it. The servers are called into existence by …


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  1. Don Jefe


    Is El Reg going to adopt MiB? Come on...

    1. Brian Scott

      Re: MiB?

      But not GiB.

      They've only partly gone over to the dark side.

    2. Daniel B.

      Re: MiB?

      Looks like it was a typo, they turned it back into MB.

      Good thing, I suspect the -bibyte stuff is being pushed by HDD manufacturers as that way they can keep on lying about HDD capacities. Sadly, OS X now uses funnybyte units, so I have to resort to df -h to know the true capacity of filesystems these days...

      1. Dom 3

        Re: MiB?

        Oh FFS. Mega is 10^6, always has been. If you have a 32 bit wide channel running at 10MHz, how many MB/sec does it shift? Correct, 40.

        1. Daniel B.

          Re: MiB?

          Oh no, please no purism on the prefixes. Even my college math teacher has conceded that computer stuff will always be base-1024 because that's how computers count. Base-10 (and base 1000) are useful to us fleshy humans as it is what we're used to; base-1024 is useful for computery stuff as it is what computers are used to. 2^10, 2^20, 2^30 ... it is even metric even if it isn't base 10.

          The ugly fallout on the KiB, MiB, GiB stuff is that now OSX is saddled with the base-1000 units and thus is lying to me whenever I ask how big a file is. At least the underlying OS does still count real bytes, albeit with the -iB suffix.

    3. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: MiB?

      Men in Black?


      1. Don Jefe

        Re: MiB?

        It is the 'correct' way to denote capacity, per the IEC, but academic papers and standards descriptions are the only places you'll see it (someone said Ubuntu uses it as well). They're been wanting to get away from MB for a couple of decades, but using MiB in vernacular articles only creates confusion. Changing the common units/names of things is difficult.

  2. Martin 71 Silver badge

    Surely there can only be 26MiB

    Ay to Zed...

  3. Simon Sharwood, Reg APAC Editor (Written by Reg staff)

    Move along, nothing to see here except typos.

    I'm blaming the back-to-back VMUG and AOSUG meetings last night. And my fat fingers.

    1. SuperTim

      Men in Black, Girls in Black...etc.

      His own site uses such silly measurements

      "Ubuntu 13.04, 64-bit, 614 MiB of RAM, 8 GiB storage. It’s an ec2 micro instance."

      Don't beat yourself up about the error, you were reporting facts!

  4. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

    A Gift to Phishers

    Many fake bank websites are only up for a short time. They grab the login credentials of the early victims, and move on before the site is reported and investigated. This seems to allow them to skip the step of breaking into a vulnerable machine to set up the fake site, as long as they take steps to make their connection untraceable.

  5. PJ 3

    Could be useful

    Sometimes I just want to crank up a server, install the latest cooly cooly server app, root around to check it out and move on .. If I think I need it for a day, I'll pay the 6 bucks .. If it truly spins up these instances quickly, it will be kind of nice. If the spin up time is a come on and it is really doggy, it's a gonna suck. Today, none of the brokers improve spin up time - none - and a couple are flippin abysmal .....

  6. Robert E A Harvey

    Good luck to him

    It's not a bad idea. It gives people the chance to try something out quickly. The $6 is cheaper than paying an engineer to do something from scratch. If he is up-front about the costs, and the timeout on the free one, well good luck to him.

    And if people are stupid enough to pay him his rates on a long term basis, well good luck to him. Stupid deserves to bleed, it's how we keep the market fit.

  7. William Boyle

    There are always vampires!

    I manage several AWS accounts, with systems that range from micro to "Oh My GOD!". Anyone who subscribes to this sort of "service" (read, pay me to do something you can do for free, or near to it), deserves what they DON'T get... :rolleyes:

    So, I pay $0.02 (2 cents) per hour for a micro instance. Need it for a day? That is less than 1/2 US dollar! This guy is charging you HOW MUCH?! Even if you figure in the time to "get up to speed" in configuring a Linux server - let's say you need a week to get it to where you need - that is STILL only 1/2 of what this bone-head is charging you!

    In the immortal words - caveat emptor!

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: There are always vampires!

      Some people might say that a week's worth of their time is worth a little bit more than $6.

  8. Suricou Raven


    I see one very likely use.

    1. SaveMefromeejits

      Re: Spam.

      By default SMTP ports are blocked on EC2, they are opened by request, so it wouldn't work for spam - but thank you for playing!

      1. gem

        Re: Spam.

        Not all spam is over port 25 these days. I get a ton of comment spammers to my websites from AWS instances.

  9. TeeCee Gold badge

    Here's a thought.

    A botnet with a C&C server that changes every half hour and where each one evaporates after use to prevent subsequent seizure / analysis.

  10. jake Silver badge

    A symptom of a problem.

    That problem being "I want it now! ... But I'm not willing to learn how it works."

  11. John Klos

    Play a really big Game of Life

    It'd be interesting to set up a VM which, in 35 minutes, does some useful stuff but also automatically signs up for another free VM or two depending on some arbitrary rules, launches it / them, then transfers the current VM's content to the new VM(s).

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Play a really big Game of Life

      Oooo a self sustaining instance, now that's an interesting idea... best be careful it doesn't become self aware... or we'll all be fucked.

  12. Zmodem

    see how many empty folders with random charector names 8gb can have

  13. Ace Rimmer


    Fire up an instance, mine a couple of coins, fire up an instance, mine a couple of coins....

  14. Cliff

    turnkey appliances?

    I rather like turnkey Linux appliances, this could be a good way to spin up an appliance, test it out, and decide if it's worth the hassle of doing it manually.

  15. Professor Falken
    Thumb Up


    With a chef/puppet server and a couple of scripts, I'm fairly sure you could automate this to call in to your LBaaS provider and constanly build/configure/destroy a load of front-ends for a web farm...

    1. IHateWearingATie
      Thumb Up

      Re: Automation...

      It's like a Chaos Monkey on steroids....

  16. Azzy

    What to do with an instant server?

    Well, first you set up an instant server to run some scripts that sign up for more instant servers and load them all up with another script.

    These child "instant servers" call home to the main one, and once there are enough children, they all initiate a DDOS attack against

    That sounds fun doesn't it?

    What's sort of ridiculous is that you can already get a limited time EC2 micro instance for free, and then pay to get it for longer. Only you get it free for a year, instead of 35 minutes, and after that you pay 2 cents an hour for it, instead of 25.

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