Men love shopping online

BusinessWeek reports that men love their shopping as much as women but the departmental stores are women-focus. Men would pay for convenience in their shopping more.

Men who have had to live with department stores designed primarily for women are flocking to websites such as Bonobos and Thrillist that push convenience and a fast shopping experience.

“Men don’t hate fashion, they just hate shopping the way it’s designed for women,” said Ben Lerer, founder of Thrillist, which gives men tips for activities or products and then sells them. “The young generation of guys love to shop, they love to talk about the brands they like and they really care about how they look.”

While women’s share of the online clothing market is still more than double men’s, the men’s market is growing faster, at a 13 percent annual rate compared with 10 percent for women, according to NPD Group, a consumer tracking service.

The market for clothing and accessories is expected to grow 78 percent to $73 billion by 2016, according to EMarketer. That’s faster than categories like electronics or music.

In Singapore there is still a lack of men-focused online stores. A couple of names come up to my mind when it comes to online fashion — ASOS and Zalora. Both ships to Singapore and are popular among online shoppers. Is there any men-focused online stores I have missed? If you have plans to start one, do tell me about it. Hint: I’m a senior software engineer and web developer.

Sweden internet traffic fell 33% anti-piracy law came into effect

Looks like they’ve been visiting The Pirate Bay quite a bit:

Piracy law cuts internet traffic

Internet traffic in Sweden fell by 33% as the country’s new anti-piracy law came into effect, reports suggest.

Sweden’s new policy – the Local IPRED law – allows copyright holders to force internet service providers (ISP) to reveal details of users sharing files.

According to figures released by the government statistics agency – Statistics Sweden – 8% of the entire population use peer-to-peer sharing.

Popular BitTorrent sharing site, The Pirate Bay, is also based in Sweden.

Mr Engstrom said the new law was “a disaster”, not just for file-sharers, but for Sweden as a whole.

“Dealing with illegal file-sharing is a job for the police. It is their job to enforce the law. (Source: BBC)

Why I joined Media Temple 2 years ago and now am leaving

I previously set up a blog with one of those cheap web host that probably stores like a 150 websites in one server. The price is low and the service I got is alright, typically a one day response time which I am fine with. It was until that low-cost web host start insist on me having one of those VPS plans that I started to turn away. I couldn’t afford the VPS back then and I wasn’t that keen to let them suspend my account due to high activity.

So I was pretty determined to get a good host and stay there for the next few years. Changing hosts is such a chore. Media Temple has a lot to offer:

  • Professional looking: A professional made website with good design and nice pictures of servers. I gotta admit that at one point of time I actually thought their servers look like that.
  • Supports large websites: Media Temple hosts multiple huge websites that I go to. Today they host 9rules and Django Project. And they load pretty quickly. Of course those are under their premium plans but I thought that they would offer me something roughly on par.
  • Marketing gaga: I’m totally into the marketing term “grid”. Even though Media Temple’s Grid Service is not the same grid computing I later understand, the term “grid” was a key deciding factor. Back then I did not understand the term. It just sound like one of those plans I should be having.
  • Designer control panel: Media Temple actually has a wonderful control panel. I’m sick of CPanel and was looking for something fresher. Media Temple’s control panel is almost like a designer panel. And well, the demo control panel also loads quite quickly.
  • Transparency in hosting: Media Temple also has this RSS feed where they reveal incidents of their clusters. This is a huge plus to me. I see the transparency of the hosting provider. I like that level of transparency and they keep updating their customers with rather detail ongoings.
  • Customer centricity: Media Temple has generally positive reviews and does a lot of damage control around the web. This appeals to me. It appears that they’re listening.

So I signed up for Media Temple’s Grid Service thinking that it’s the end of all my worries. But it rarely is the case as I explain below:

  • So what if it’s professional looking: This just means Media Temple hire good designers and have the revenue to do so. A good design invites people but is hardly representative of the level of service they provide.
  • So what if it supports large websites: Media Temple is likely to have place much of their technical resources in these large websites. Media Temple has a stake in maintaining the online time of these websites as they placed their logos on these sites and has become closely associated with them. If you ain’t going to be paying for some of their really expensive services, I doubt you get anything close to that level of dedication.
  • And yeah I believed the marketing department: Well, the word “grid” is totally meaningless. In fact I feel kinda stupid believing it was the holy grail or something. “Grid” turns out to have lots of problems and these includes slow database access which mattered greatly to me.
  • So what if there’s a designer control panel: Designer control panel that is slow, may I add. I found it crawling. When you really need something like accessing the database with phpmyadmin, you will realized how many clicks it takes to reach there. You can’t open a control panel page into a new tab also and that’s bad usability. Control panel takes longer than it should and I pretty much given up using it. The demo control panel does not reflect the speed of your control panel.
  • So transparent but no improvement: Sure they post lots of issues and are still rather transparent. But it just took too long for them to fix their problems. Having an RSS feeds detailing the server faults makes customers slightly more forgiving but what I want to see is a change. It’s almost like someone recognizing his/her mistake and apologies but commits the same thing all over again. After a while, I realized no news is good news. Media Temple have some issues with their vendor Blue Arc and somehow these issues affected a portion of their customers. They took a long time to resolve. I am not sure to what extend it has been resolved.
  • Customer centricity non-existent: I wrongly assumed the level of support from Media Temple judging on the way they perform damage control. Media Temple support is rather poor. They take long to reply and complained that my database activity is too high on several occasions. The database analytic tool that they provide reveal no spike in activity. I mailed them and they insisted that I should check their analytic tool to resolve issue. Want to know how it feels like talking to a wall? Try Media Temple.

Ultimately, what mattered more than webhosting support is not having the need to request for support. Today I hardly request for support because I just don’t need it.

And that is what I call great service.

[If you are interested in Slicehost, consider using my referrer link. Thanks!]

“When I invented the Web, I didn’t have to ask anyone’s permission.”

When I invented the Web, I didn’t have to ask anyone’s permission. – Tim Berners-Lee

You know he is right if you know he invented the web. He ought to know better. Tim Berners-Lee is supporting net neutrality.

Ubuntu destroys college dream

Ubuntu destroys someone’s college dream:

US woman says Ubuntu can’t access internet

According to WKOW TV, Abbie Schubert recently ordered a Dell laptop, expecting “your classic bread-and-butter computer.” But when she unboxed the $1,100 machine that arrived, she didn’t find bread and butter. She found Ubuntu.

WKOW TV called Ubuntu “an operating system for your computer similar to Windows that runs off the Linux system.”

“It’s been a mess,” Schubert said. “I regret ordering the computer.”

She had never heard of Ubuntu. So she called Dell. Dell said there was still time to replace her Ubuntu. Then Dell told her not to. “The person I was talking to said Ubuntu was great, college students loved it, it was compatible with everything I needed,” she explained.

So she kept Ubuntu, then decided that Ubuntu doesn’t always work like Windows. Her Verizon internet wouldn’t load. She couldn’t install Microsoft Word. And she said without Word and the internet, she couldn’t take online classes at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

So she dropped out of the college’s fall and spring semesters. (Source: The Register)

She’s quite unresourceful it appears. First time I heard someone accidentally buying Linux. Never purchase a computer without knowing what you’re buying. Get a friend who at least know something.

McCain camp pulls out of tech debate

Back in September, McCain’s top economic advisor, Holtz-Eakin, held up a Blackberry and announced that the device won’t be around if not for John McCain. “He did this,” Holtz-Eakin flashed the Blackberry. The internet (represented by Digg, Reddit and 4chan) ridiculed the statement. The McCain camp then clarifies the senator’s involvement in Blackberry.

This reminds me of Civilization IV where the internet upgrade icon as Al Gore’s head which I thought is just brilliant.

Carly Fiorina, a McCain advisor, was asked if she thinks Sarah Palin is ready to lead a company like HP. To which Fiorina responded, “No, I don’t, but you know what? That’s not what she’s running for.” Fiorina then clarifies that running a company is different from running a country.

It’s okay, ahem, the fundamentals of our economy are strong.

I love to see what the McCain camp has to say about technology. They haven’t exactly been the tech guys in politics and, if anything, they’re rather anti-Internet. McCain himself confessed he couldn’t do these techie stuff.

Then, oops, yesterday morning, a couple hours before the event began, the McCain camp emailed to say that, actually, no, sorry, Holtz-Eakin can’t make it for the 12:30 debate. Apparently he had very important meetings to attend. Right. Apparently, though, he stepped out in the middle. At 1pm he was on MSNBC attacking Obama, trying to tie him to George Bush’s economic policies. Meanwhile, Reed Hundt ended up talking about complicated tech issues alone. The event was still fascinating (and you can see video here) but a huge opportunity was lost.

In short: the McCain camp chickened out. Spinning is easy; debating is hard. And defending John McCain’s record on broadband deployment, spectrum issues, and net neutrality is particularly hard. “If I was voting on technology issues only, even I wouldn’t support McCain,” said one Republican who I interviewed while researching the scorecard. (Source: Wired)

But no. McCain camp won’t be doing tech talks. Gobama 2008.

When not to be a team player

It’s funny that after Colin Powell endorses Barack Obama, Powell is less talked about as a war criminal. He played a key role in the invasion of Iraq after all. His endorsement of Barack Obama appeared to have gained him some karma points or something. The internet loves him again.

To the question whether Obama is a Muslim, Powell stressed that Obama is not, but highlighted the real answer to the question is – so what if he is. Powell then publically endorsing Obama and expresses discontent toward the Republican party, that is his Republican party.

It is courageous of him to be able to stand up for what he believes in (and that meant the opposition). Unfortunately much of these were not shown back then when he presented the case for the invasion of Iraq. Powell later claims he spent 2 hours convincing Bush not to invade Iraq but what’s done been done.