CS:GO Is a Great E-Sport, But Youtube & Exclusive Right is Hurting It

Leave a comment
English / Writing

I’m never really a dedicated sports fan. I followed football (that’s soccer to you in North America) to some extent. Been a fan of Newcastle United since I was a little kid, mainly because my aunt bought me their jersey with Shearer’s name on the back. Newcastle this season is down in Championship after being relegated last season, and there’s no championship football airing on my local television, so no football this season for me, pretty much. But I do follow MotoGP and Formula 1 pretty religiously.

But to be honest, most sports I watch, I watch because they are a great source of white noise while you’re working on your thing. The excitement generated from thousands of people cheering their favorite team is simply the best way to get you hyped up and start working, in my opinion. And so for years now I usually play some VODs of football games in the background while I’m doing anything productive.

But since July last year, I’ve become pretty much addicted to a new form of sport. E-sports. Counter Strike: Global Offensive to be more specific.

It all started by accident. I was trying to see if there’s a streamer playing Fallout 4 on Twitch, because I’ve just started picking it up again after leaving it due to being busy with other things. And I noticed in the top stream list there’s a stream with more than 500 thousand viewers. The game is Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and the title is ESL Cologne 2016.

I didn’t know it at that time but it turns out I’ve stumbled upon a pretty special thing. Throughout the year, there’s a bunch of professional CS:GO tournaments with lots of prize money involved, but Cologne is one of the major tournament in CS:GO. It’s Major because it’s an officially sanctioned competition sponsored by the creator of the game itself, Valve, and that, of course, carries a special sense of importance to the competition, and more than one million dollar prize money.

Before you ask, yes I’ve stumbled upon some streams with a similar amount of viewers in the past, but they’re mostly DOTA2 or LOL competitions. I’m not really a fan of watching MOBAs, because they require a deeper sense of understanding than watching a first person shooter game like Counter Strike.

And counter strike is a game I’m pretty familiar with. I played some 1.6 in the past, when I was still in Junior High School, and have great memories of playing it. CS:GO is two versions younger than 1.6, and I’ve never played it before, so I want to find out how the current game plays.

Well anyway, let’s just say that I got hooked. I stayed up all night watching the stream, and even better, there’s a pretty good underdog storyline developing in the competition. Team Liquid, a North American team not expected to go deep in the tournament, got out of the group stage, and the quarter, and the semi, and to the final.

You see, North America is apparently not considered as good as the European Union scene in CS:GO. And there’s quite a bit of rivalry developed by fans from both regions, especially North American fans who became ecstatic seeing Liquid going deep in the major. And as you can expect, the crowd noise when Liquid plays are tremendous. Constant scream of “Let’s Go Liquid” can be heard non-stop when they play.

Unfortunately, Liquid lost in the final to arguably the best CS:GO team in the world at that time, SK Gaming. Although that’s a rather underwhelming end to a pretty amazing underdog story, the whole thing has turned me into a pretty big fan of CS:GO as an E-sport and E-sports in general.

To me, E-sports is a really interesting and an undeniable force that’s just gonna grow in the future, especially because the number of viewers involved is very young, and increasing very fast. Just in January, for example, another CS:GO Major, this time in Atlanta, broke Twitch records for having more than one million concurrent viewers at a single time. And that’s not even counting a bunch of other streams showing the same game but casted in a different language. And, even better, the final of that major is also aired on national television, in North America. Although to me the participation of conventional media in E-sports is neither relevant nor important. If it’s gonna grow, it’s gonna grow from new media like online streaming, not television. But the affirmation of E-sports as an entertainment worthy of being aired on national television is certainly interesting.

And recently, Youtube has forged a partnership with two very big event organizers in Faceit and ESL, by having an exclusive rights to air their two main streams on Youtube instead of Twitch.

And here is where I see the one problem coming in E-sports.

As the viewership comes in, the investment money comes in, and the conflict of interest started to become a real big factor. Having exclusive rights deal with any streaming platform this early in the game is hurting E-sports, in my opinion. It should be as open as possible, available to as many viewers as possible. Youtube as a live streaming platform itself is not terrible, but personally, it’s not as good as of yet compared to Twitch.

The problem is in the culture. People come to Youtube to watch someone’s recorded video for 3-5 minutes or follow a let’s play of something for more than 10 minutes due to the personality involved. Twitch already has live streaming culture build up to the point where the chat, to someone new, might look like an endless spam, but to someone who spends even 3 days watching a live stream of a major like me when ESL Cologne 2016 is on, helps build up hype for the game.

And the viewership for ESL Pro League is hurting because of this deal with Youtube. Last year, I see at least 50 thousand concurrent viewers watching the stream on Twitch, but this year, they’d be lucky if they see 20 thousand. And Youtube’s rate of improvement is very slow compared to Twitch, which will hurt them even more.

I don’t know if this Youtube thing will hurt or help in the long run, but I hope that any controlling interest in CS:GO or e-sports competition can be wise and quickly adapt to this conflicting interest and see exclusive rights as they actually are: a short-term gain for a long term loss. To me, developing more viewership is more important than revenue at this point, and if the problem is in investment, I’m not sure if attracting investors is really a problem, especially with Faceit & ESL being first in the game. But if they maintain this policy of having exclusive rights with one party that results in decreasing viewership, then attracting investors will definitely be in issue.

More Cloud.net Locations Review & Deeper Look At Their Platform

Leave a comment
English / Writing

After i’ve posted my experience with Cloud.net two weeks ago, Terry Myers, a rep from Cloud.net contacted me to see if i’d be interested in trying out some more of their locations. I instantly said yes, of course, since who can reject such sweet, sweet chance of spinning up some free VMs from multiple providers in different locations for free.

So this is a disclaimer. I’ve got $50 credits from Cloud.net to test out their products, and that’s it. Those credits can’t be converted into money, and all of the things that i’ll be writing in this review is purely my own experience and opinion, without anybody from Cloud.net having a pre-published approval.

Here We Go, Then

I got the credits. I decided to spin up some of their more exotic locations. As i’m located in Asia, i decided to deploy a server in Hongkong, since that’s the only asia location they have up on their marketplace.

And this turned out to be a really bad experience. From the start, i knew there’s something wrong with the server. It’s very slow in responding to SSH command, and after struggling to do a basic OS update before i do any testing, i decided to just get a basic bench.sh benchmark and what do you know:

System Info
-----------
Processor   : QEMU Virtual CPU version (cpu64-rhel6)
CPU Cores   : 1
Frequency   : 1999.999 MHz
Memory      : 486 MB
Swap        :  MB
Uptime      : 23 min,

Disk Speed
----------
I/O (1st run)   : 3 MB/s
I/O (2nd run)   : 6 MB/s
I/O (3rd run)   : 4 MB/s
Average I/O : 4.33333 MB/s

That I/O might explain a few things. But then it got worse, about a few minutes later after i’ve finished updating the VM and reboot, it won’t come back up again.

So i raised a ticket, and at first Terry replies to say that they’re looking into it, might just be a firewall issue. But after a few minutes and some interactions later, a staff replied to the tickets saying that it’s a network-wide issue, and as a result of this, the provider (they call them “zone”) will be hidden from Cloud.net. I haven’t seen them since.

Okay. To be completely honest, although the support is great, that whole experience wasn’t exactly pleasant, and to me illustrates typical friction points when dealing with a “marketplace” (some people might call middleman), as opposed to a provider who manage their own equipment directly. Lack of control by the platform owners, and fragmentation. On fragmentation especially, i have a slight issue with how Cloud.net tries to reduce this friction point, mainly by using a measurement figures called Cloud Index.

Cloud Index

Like Google’s Android platform, Cloud.net, or their parent company Onapp, probably just sets up a specific rules & requirements for provider who wants to join. From there, the providers will get listed on  their marketplace, and Cloud.net will monitor their performance. The metrics that they use to monitor the provider, also known as “zones”, is called ‘Cloud Index’.

Now, cloud index, as a term of measurement, is an invention of Cloud.net. And unfortunately, their marketplace doesn’t really explain in full details of what that term means. To find out, one have to click on their “FAQ“, and then you’ll find the explanation of what it means, in their own words:

We have three individual parameters (index scores) for calculating the total Cloud Index score:

CPU Performance via Unixbench
Disk Performance via IOPS
Average Bandwidth/Throughput Performance via CDN tests on various global edge servers.
We take the raw numbers and put them in to our system. For each individual parameter (CPU/Disk/Bandwidth), we assign a score between 1 – 100. The following formula is used for each parameter:

Providers are scored as follows: (Provider Raw Score / Max Raw Score) * 100

In my own personal opinion, this is a recipe for user’s confusion. As an internal metrics used by Cloud.net to measure the performance of each providers in their platform, it’s completely fine. But as a public measurement units for users looking to find a quick way to compare providers, it’s very opaque.

For example, here’s what it looks like in practice:

Out of three locations, you have two that doesn’t have any cloud index. One doesn’t even have uptime average listed for some reason. For a completely new user to the platform, without looking at what “cloud index” means, you have to make a decision basically based on nothing, unless you want to do further research or test one by one. This arbitrary “cloud index” number, for these new users literally means nothing since it doesn’t translate to any typical real world measurements for servers, such as specifications, performance, price, or real testimonials from users in that zone.

Saying that, I can see what they’re trying to achieve here. They predict the confusion that might arise from having so many providers listed in the same locations, and they try to simplify the decision making process to one single number. But in order for that number to be meaningful, it has to be explained comprehensively in a single page filled with measurement formulas. Unless the target market is CIOs who loves having to go through hoops to make a single decision, it’s not gonna work. Average users will most probably just go for the cheapest providers, since they don’t really know what they’re actually losing, especially if both the cheapest and more expensive options have similar uptime, of which the figures are the biggest UI element being displayed.

Lack of control , and some other Weird Quirks

The other odd fragmentation issue that i experience from trying out multiple providers on Cloud.net is big differences of OS templates offered by each providers. Some for example, only offers Debian 8 variety, some have Debian 7 too. One locations for some reason did not offer Ubuntu LTS, but regular release of Ubuntu. Some offer Cloudlinux, some don’t. If cloud.net, or Onapp have direct control of the providers, i’m pretty sure they’re gonna streamline all of this and make OS templates similar in every single locations. But they didn’t seem to have control over this issue.

This further highlights the need for more explanations in their marketplace page, especially because templates being offered can actually be a meaningful differentiation and value proposition by each providers, and further incentivize their active participations in the platform by competing with one another.

Another criticism and suggestions i have about their platform user experience is it’s not really that snappy. Rebooting, shutting down and starting up doesn’t feel instant. There’s also no snapshot capability yet. You have to take backup manually, and the backup can’t be easily migrated to another zone. But they’re working on this, according to Terry.

Benchmarks

All of that out of the way, it’s benchmark time. Since i’ve tried so many locations in a very short period of time, this benchmark doesn’t in any way try to illustrate the reliability of provider’s offerings. In total, this benchmark will cover 9 providers.:

Provider NameLocationRAMDisk CapacityBandwidthPrice/Month
QuadranetDallas, US1GB40GB1TB$7.6
ToggleboxDallas, US512MB20GB500GB$3.80
ClouviderLondon, UK768MB20GB500GB$7.60
JoltNottingham, UK512MB20GB500GB$3.80
QwebBlasserdam, NL512MB20GB500GB$3.80
CL8Limassol, CY512MB20GB50GB$3.80
AdvantagePalmerston North, NZ512MB20GB500GB$13.70
VultrParis, FR768MB15GB1TB$5
BuyVMNew York, US1GB20GBUnlimited$3.50

BuyVM’s New York KVM Slice (1GB Ram) and Vultr Dallas (768MB Ram) will be used as comparison. Click on the provider’s name to get the full bench.sh result.

I’ve selected some figures from the benchmark result of each of them to compare in a chart. Here they are:

Overall, performance-wise, Cloud.net’s offerings are really good. But really, these providers are pretty known good quality, so it’s not really a worry in the first place. To me, at this point, the advantage of using Cloud.net instead of buying directly, is price. If you buy directly from Jolt, for example, their ‘Cloud VPS’ line starts at 9.95 pounds per month, while if you’re buying from Cloud.net, you can get them starting at $3.80, with more bandwidth allocation. Some of these providers, like Softlayer, for example, don’t even offer public cloud service directly. One special note i got though, is for provider in exotic location like CL8 in Cyprus. 50GB bandwidth, really?

In short, there is a place for Cloud.net in the market. People might hate middlemen, but if the middlemen can act as a good buffer for average end users to get access to these big enterpris-level providers, they definitely have values. The issue that remains is will Cloud.net able to truly improve their user experience, level of support and integration between providers. Because Linode, DO and Vultr, already have a bunch of locations under their belt, and if Cloud.net is unable to control, monitor and support customers in each different zones, their value proposition will just gone out the window. I have good hopes, though, that they can improve.
Thank you for Cloud.net for giving me the chance to try out their platform further.

Ryzen Is Here

Leave a comment
English / Writing

From GamersNexus:

To get the immediate question out of the way: The processors will be made available on March 2 (shelf availability) at the following prices:

AMD Ryzen R7 1700: $330
AMD Ryzen R7 1700X: $400
AMD Ryzen R7 1800X: $500

Seeing as how rumoured benchmark suggests some of these processors are twice faster than the equivalent Intel model, it’s a holy crap moment for AMD. I’m not gonna hold my breath but it’s gonna be an exciting time if the Athlon 64 success period for AMD is repeated again. But please, this time AMD needs to make some great server processors too. I can’t wait for $10 VPS with Ryzen 8 cores CPU that outperforms Xeon E5. 🙂

Also, everybody’s talking about disrupting the CPU industry but Jim Keller seem to be the only one that can and has actually done it.

It Doesn’t Look Too Good for Ahok, Unfortunately

Leave a comment
English / Writing

Gubernatorial election in Jakarta has finished. Well, the first round of it, at least. And the result doesn’t look too good for Ahok.

The gap between candidate number 2 (Ahok-Djarot) and candidate number 3 (Anies-Sandi) is far too close for comfort, and although in their public statement the Ahok-Djarot team sounds ecstatic with the result, i don’t think they’re truly being honest about it. Not for a candidate that used to have almost 70% approval ratings and insanely active grassroot campaigning team (Teman Ahok). I’m not sure if Ahok now regrets the decision to go with political party instead of making a history and going independent.

Now, following the rules of our election commission, a second round of gubernatorial election will be held with candidate number 2 and 3 trying to win over the rest of the votes from candidate number 1. One interesting thing to note here, candidate number 1 actually got a lot more votes than i personally predicted.

Lurk More, Fa**ots

Leave a comment
English / Writing

Building a community is hard. Online, even harder.

This is what I’ve noticed from recently participating in some online community building. It’s not a big project, just a small online forums for a very specific niche.

And one of the things that surprise me is how important ‘seeding’ the community is.

For example, from talking to several other forum founders, we found that at the beginning, they use bots, to increase the community engagement rate.

Yes, bots. Some fake accounts created for the sole purpose of creating and replying to some threads.

See, the funny thing about human is, we all like to participate in a community but we rarely wants to be the first to do so. By using bots, forum founder can ensure that there’s a constant flow of new threads and discussion happening.

Plus, people who just landed in the forum from Google or some other external source, will see a thriving community with active posters, sometimes very, very helpful, that it makes you wonder how did they have all this free time to spend on online forums.

Little did they know, they are replying and discussing topics with robots, not real people.

Another benefit of using bots to ‘seed’ the community, is that you can actually design the culture of the community.

By culture, I mean people have the tendency to follow certain patterns of interaction based on the types of interaction that they’ve already seen. So if you see an old forum, usually they have this pattern of speaking, that characterized the community. The types of posts, the types of response, are uniquely theirs. And this ‘culture’ does not born overnight. It develops slowly over years of interactions between members.

And this leads to the title of this post.

I used to be quite active on 4Chan. I saw them as a unique community. In fact, all the chans are pretty unique, in that they’re constantly the source of new content, especially offbeat content like a meme, and yet, the creators of those content never got the attribution that they seemingly deserved. Why? Well, on 4Chan, everybody’s anonymous.

So oddly enough, 4Chan in my eyes, with all its broken ways, can be said as a perfect community. It’s a community that’s always giving something without hoping for tangible rewards (they want some laughter, maybe). And the community has cultures that are so uniquely theirs, that an outsider will get spotted pretty quickly. This outsider then will get egged on and this term usually will come up:

Lurk More, Faggots

That is, in a way, a form of community-run-moderation. And it’s very effective. You can cull the bad from the good (well, the good according to 4chan), without having to resource to banning, because if you’re out of the 4chan line for even a bit, you’re gonna get policed. Unless you’re a pretty dedicated troll, you’re gonna hit the x button and get out. I wonder how many moderators 4chan actually has, and the ratio of moderators to users. Because from an outsider’s perspective, these unique characteristics of 4Chan should decrease the moderation cost quite a bit.

So, how should a community enforce a lurk more policy? Unfortunately, you can’t. Not in this day & age, unless you want your forum to be branded hostile to new members. But still, that’s a pretty interesting way to look at community moderation.

The PC Is Coming Back, Thanks to Youtube and PC Gaming.

Leave a comment
English / Writing

This argument is controversial because the sales data of the PC is mixed, to say the least. Worldwide, it’s decreasing. But in the US, it’s slowly coming back[1][2], especially the retail PC market. Apart from the sales figures which I personally think show more about the state of consumer tech hardware industry and the economy, I am slowly seeing more and more about the conventional PC being discussed and talked about.

Personally, I believe we’re in a period of PC renaissance, especially in the western hemisphere, and amongst the younger demographics. A renaissance that in my personal opinion is fueled by the fire of two things: Youtube, and PC Gaming.

Thanks to youtube channels like LinusTechTips, JayzTwoCents and the likes, for example, I’ve seen more and more people thinking about going back and buying a PC. Not only that, meme-ish terms like PCMasterRace and its passionate advocates has made the PC sexy again, especially for teenagers.

Now, this is of course just pure anecdote not backed by any real data, but I can’t remember a time in my young adulthood where the PC is the sexy computing gear to buy, especially among people with actual social skill. But now PC gaming and internet idol subculture complete with the increasingly popular form of entertainment known as Let’s Play has turned the PC into a desirable item again.

I mean, Markiplier, a popular Let’s Play YouTuber, generates 65 million views for the past 30 days, and has 16 million subscribers. Most of the games he played are on PC. That’s not counting the multitudes of other twitch streamers and youtubers with millions of followers who watch their content daily. This is a free advertising and evangelism platform that the PC never used to have.

The barrier to entry to building your own PC also can’t get any lower. LinusTechTips channel has been very helpful in packaging hard to understand and usually geeky topics in a playful, fun manner. Just today they made a video about unboxing petabytes of storage and got 400k viewers in 12 hours. Some PC geeks I knew actually hate the channel since it’s not informative to them. But what they’re doing is brilliant.

The PC is a backdrop to their wild antics and extravagant purchase habits. It’s suggestive marketing. It’s the Top Gear of the PC industry. And as you can see, they are showing a hockey stick kind of growth for their total views per month.

Now, unfortunately, these contents are very biased to the western hemisphere. For the average people in said hemisphere, they together constitute the new UX to getting a PC. First, from consuming all those contents, you slowly got enticed to buying a PC, or components for a PC.

Then, you look for complete specifications, and information about things that you want to buy, and whether that’s the best you could buy at a certain budget. Tools like PCpartpicker and Logical Increments has made this so very easy an idiot could do it.

Then, you need to finally make a purchase. Well, what do you know, with Amazon prime, you can get these things delivered in a day with just a single click.

Here’s the experience of getting a PC in my country (Indonesia). There is still no popular youtube channels that make it easy for people to understand what is good or bad about the PC, or the components for the PC that they want to buy. So you usually got baited by advertising.

And then you need to make sure it’s actually good, and the only way to do this if you don’t have any geek friends is you go to online forums, get mixed response, get confused, and then you decide to just get a laptop instead. And then you find out there are Z124s4-t3 and Zq252-t5 types of laptop you can get depending on the regions, and you’re not sure which is which and which one is good.

I mean, here’s a locally popular site where people get their PC. It’s called Enterkomputer and their site is a total UX nightmare.

So the ecosystem in other place worldwide is still not very supportive for the average people trying to get a PC. It’s a decision which involves many moving parts, of which I believe has been made very easy in North America thanks to these multitudes of tools and contents. It’s beautiful in its own way, solving fragmentation and marketing issues by making the contents supporting the purchase decisions freely available and interesting to consume. That’s why I’m very optimistic about the future of the PC. Well, in North America, at least.

Setting Up a VPS for WordPress Without an Ounce of Linux Knowledge

Leave a comment
English / Writing

I’ve been seeing this types of questions a lot in WHT. People who outgrew their shared hosting plans but not sure of upgrading to VPS or dedicated server because they’re not technical enough.

Usually the advice they got is to go for a managed provider, which is of course, a great option, especially if you have more money than time.

But this guide is for people who wants to squeeze what little money they can save by going with self-managed providers.

And don’t want to deal with command line. And, don’t want to pay for a cPanel license. Or bother to learn about free, open source panel like webmin.

Here We Go

So, you’ve got your VPS. It’s nice. It’s got 2GB RAM, a dedicated CPU core, and a nice flashy SSD. Raw-performance wise, it’s probably four times better than what you’ll get from a shared hosting plan.

What do you do, then? You’ve never dealt with a command line before. You don’t know the difference between nginx, apache or what version of PHP to use.

And you don’t need the server for fancy, django powered Node.JS behemoth of an app. You just want to run a wordpress site (or several).

Well, have you met Server Pilot before?

Now, Server Pilot advertised themselves as a companion to a Digital Ocean droplets. I’m not sure if that is an attempt to get an acquisition offer but it will 100% work with other VPS providers as well. I’ve tested it.

In fact, i’ve tested it running a wordpress site on a 256MB RAM KVM from Virmach, and their default setup seems optimized enough to run it fine. You need to run Ubuntu in the VPS to use Server Pilot

So, here’s their pricing:

As you can see, even on their free plan, you can use them to run unlimited websites on unlimited amount of servers. That also includes basic firewall configuration so you should be fine running on their default setup without having to worry about basic skiddy attack that can happen when you run a VPS without a properly-configured firewall.

So. I hope by now you’ve decided to sign up, and once you signed up, you’ll be greeted with this screen:

Easy enough. Click Connect to Server, and you’ll get this screen:

Now, when you buy your VPS from any provider, you will get root account details from them, usually in the welcome email. Just take the root password, and paste it there.

For SFTP password, use a secure one. You’ll need it for when you want to upload files or migrate your site to the server administered by Server Pilot. The username for this SFTP account would be ‘serverpilot’.

SFTP, short for SSH File Transfer Protocol, is completely different from FTP (File Transfer Protocol). When you’re running SFTP, you’re transferring files across SSH, a much more secure and encrypted data stream. Using SFTP also means that the server doesn’t have to run a separate service for FTP, which might save a bit of resources and less protocols to worry securing about.

Now, click ‘Connect to ServerPilot’, and ServerPilot will start setting up the server for you.

Once it’s done, you should see a screen that basically told you to “create an app”. An app can mean anything that requires PHP and MySQL, but in the case of wordpress, they have a special option for it that makes it even easier to set up.

Tick that ‘wordpress’ option, and the rest is pretty much self-explanatory. After you’re done, remember to create an A record for your domain and point it to the IP Address of the server that’s being managed by Server Pilot. In most cases, you should see your new wordpress site up and available within minutes, but DNS propagation can take up to 24 hours, so be patient.

And That’s It! Enjoy!

P.S: If you need a self-managed VPS to run a WordPress on Server Pilot, why not try us at GOODHost? Our plans for 1GB RAM starts only at $6.99/month and it runs wordpress beautifully. This blog, for example, is hosted on our VPS. 🙂

On ‘Kodi Fully Loaded’ and Beautiful Interface to Piracy

Leave a comment
English / Writing

That’s some odd title, i know, but i’m talking about the case of some android tv box sellers on Ebay that sells them with HTPC software Kodi, fully loaded with addons that facilitates watching pirated movies and tv series. There’s now a case of them being arrested in the UK.

From torrentfreak:

Police have arrested five people on suspicion of selling ‘pirate’ set-top boxes configured to receive pay TV. The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit teamed up with FACT, Sky, Virgin, BT, and The Premier League to arrest the sellers, who allegedly supplied Kodi with unlicensed addons.

To me, Kodi Fully Loaded is just another symptoms of the growingly easy to use and beautiful interface to piracy. My dad, a 60 year old man, for example, seem to watch movie everyday, without realizing that the site where he’s watching them from is actually an illegitimate pirate site. But it’s designed in such a way that barrier to the content is so low that average people who’s not aware of technology will not realized that he or she is doing something illegal.

In fact, some of those movie streaming sites tend to have names that end in “flix”, or “theater”, that makes people think that this is legit movie streaming site. And if it’s not legit, how wrong could watching a movie by just clicking a single buton really be?

From my experience with Kodi, the availability of addons for streaming movies, tv series, sports streams and other media content fetch from the internet is pretty impressive. By just buying a $35 box and loading it up with Kodi, it feels like you’re paying $100+ to your cable company. But with kodi, you’ll only need to pay once.

I can see why the copyright holders are becoming increasingly worried about this issue, but i’m afraid this is just a sign of what piracy will turned into in the coming years. The days of messing with torrent clients, finding legit torrents that are not bundled with virus, getting letters from your ISP, etc. In the future it will be a simple click. The answer is not to arrest everybody, but to lower the barrier to content even more.

If copyright holders still act greedy and kept trying to get more money from content by means of geoblocking, pulling content from Netflix and putting them in another paid service, etc, this will only get worse.

There’s a Demand for a Good Shared Hosting Panel & Billing Software but There’s So Little Choice

Leave a comment
English / Writing

There’s simply too small of choices for web hosting providers on off-the-shelf panel and billing platform to use.

I really don’t understand why that is. There’s so many choice in the market for open source CMS, or other 3rd party software for sysadmin. But for off-the-shelf hosting panel and billing platform, cPanel seem to have a tight grasp on the market.

Open source website control panel like Webmin, Vesta or Ajenti V are available, but simply not good enough for commercial adoption or even average people with a VPS to use. They’re just too hard to use. For billing platform, WHMCS, especially after they got acquired by cPanel, now seem destined to be the number one choice for years to come.

Boxbilling, the one viable open source competitor to WHMCS, seem to be somewhat abandoned. Github issues are not being looked at, and my last experience using them for GOODHost just ends in weird bug that seem to have no resolution. So we decided to migrate back to WHMCS.

The funny part is they seem to have abandoned support for the pro version as well.

I wonder if this is because the only ones who use off-the-self software, especially free ones, are kiddie host with a reseller hosting plan. And yet even though that might be true, having only one truly viable product for hosting providers that don’t have the resource to develop their own panel, is not a good look for this industry.

Competition is always good, and i’m afraid if cPanel and WHMCS became the industry standard, there will be no true innovation in the shared hosting space because we’re inherently tied to cPanel’s development cycles and their closed-source codebase.

I don’t know, maybe this post is just 10 years too late and there’s simply no need for innovation in the shared hosting space. Unlimited everything is the last innovation this industry will ever made for years to come. Maybe containerized hosting is truly the future.

Looking at the amount of people that don’t know how to administer a linux server though, i’m not sure if that’s true.