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Welcome to, the personal homepage of Brandon Purcell. I started building many, many years ago to share information I ran across everyday in my role as a Support Engineer and Consultant for Macromedia/Adobe. As a support engineer and consultant I always had a lot to blog about but as I moved into managment roles at Adobe my technical content dwindled.

I currently work as the Director of Technology for Universal Mind. My primary responsiblity is managing the SpatialKey project and it has been an amazing experience. I have been spending a lot of time working with Amazon Ec2 and will share my experiences through the blog in the future. I truly believe that Cloud Computing is the IT platform of the future and we have built the SpatialKey architecture on top of Ec2.

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March 25, 2009

We recently moved our website for SpatialKey onto Amazon Ec2 which has worked great but there has been one items that has bugged me. If I needed to make a few small changes to the site I was using vi to make the inline edits. For larger changes I have scripts to scp the files up to the instance but the workflow for changes has become a pain.

I stumbled upon a great tool called ExpanDrive that allows me to use use sftp, basically ssh to manage my files remotely but leverage my Mac tools to do the editing. ExpanDrive provides a 30 day free trial but it is worth the price. The package runs $39.95. You can find answers to nearly all of your support questions on Right after installing I ran into an issue and found the answer right away.

If you are using Ec2 then you will probably experience this issue as well. Since Ec2 doesn't use a username/password combo but instead uses a cert/keypair for authentication. You need to use ssh-add to add the keypair then you can use it in ExpanDrive.

To do this open up a terminal session and run the following command - "ssh-add /Users/myusername/myec2keys/id_my_keypair"

Next I set up ExpanDrive with an empty password and it logged right in and mounted the drive on my Mac. I could then open up any of my Mac editing tools to edit on the server.


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