Dear WordPress Bloggers

18 Mar

Dear WordPress Bloggers:

As a PHP developer and someone with quite a few years experience with WordPress, I would like to offer you some advice on how to run a WordPress Blog that loads quickly and looks good.

Examine Plugins and Themes Closely

If your blog is lacking a feature or option that you’re unable to code yourself, please spend some time and research any plugin that you may want to install to provide that feature or option to you.

Take a careful look at the information provided by WordPress.org. It shows active installations, last update, and even reviews of the plugin. Make sure to have a look at all of this information and consider whether or not it would be a good idea to install it.

I’ve seen far too many blogs with plugins installed that have been abandoned for several years that end up getting compromised and the end result is a hacker wreaking havoc on their WordPress site.

My advice on plugins is to only ever use plugins you truly need.

Plugins for Things That Exist Elsewhere

You know what will really slow down your admin section? Installing a plugin that shows the full Google Analytics Dashboard in your admin backend. If you find it truly inconvenient to log into Google Analytics, then who am I to stop you? Plugins like this offer no value other than convenience and have to load in a ton of extra scripts so that all the features work.

Sending Mail Through WordPress

If you have a newsletter or something of the sort where you need to send mass mail to all of your readers please consider using a dedicated service for sending mail.

Some examples are SendGrid, Amazon SES, and MailGun.

Using these services not only offer a lot more insight into your mailing list, but also keep the load of your hosts server. All of the above service providers have excellent delivery rates and all offer their own brand of stats and reporting on open rates and the like..

“Theme Developers”

If ever someone tells you that they will build a theme for you on the cheap, maybe dig a little deeper and ask some questions as to how the theme would be developed. I’ve seen far too many sites where a “theme developer” has installed a third party theme (Not one they’ve created) and used a page builder plugin to tweak the theme to a customers request.

Generally these people install a ton of bloat to support the various components that the page builder requires to operate which means when you load up your site, there is almost always a ton of bloat included.

Poorly built / coded themes are yet another reason a lot of WordPress sites are slow as molasses and take upwards of 30 seconds to load.

Cache Cache Cache

One great way to keep your site quick and your web site load low, is to cache all the things. There are a couple excellent plugins for caching with very simple options to follow. Personally I use WP Super Cache as I feel it offers effective caching and pairs nicely with CloudFlare.

In the End………

As the end of the day, it’s your web site. I can only give you the tools and experience. It’s up to you what you do with it. The faster your site loads, the more people you can serve and the more ad revenue you can make.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments and I will answer them as soon as I can!

Industry Standard: The Advanced HVAC Story

19 Sep

So for those of you that have visited us over the last couple of weeks or so, you would have noticed that our kitchen is torn apart and is in the process of being renovated.

During this renovation a breaker was tripped and as a result, our outdoor AC unit would not power on. Knowing that I know absolutely nothing about electricity, I started to google around for a reputable HVAC company that could come and have a look at what had happened and get it resolved.

Advanced HVAC had a paid google ad that allowed you to text them straight from the ad, so that’s what I did.

As you can see, the gentleman on the other side of this conversation mentions their hourly rate is $95/hour. So in my head I said “Ok it’s probably going to be under an hour, so $95 + Tax is likely what it’s going to cost me.” To me that sounded fair.

So they schedule a “call out” for me for between 1:00PM and 5:00PM.

About an hour after the initial call, they called again to ask if they could come closer to noon as they were finished up early. I told them it wasn’t an issue if they wanted to show up earlier and so they confirmed they would be at my house closer to noon.

The technician didn’t arrive until 1:45PM (Closer to 2PM for those who know how to tell time). He wen down, flipped a breaker, went out to his vehicle, wrote a work order, and demanded I pay them over the phone before he left my house.

I called and spoke with someone at their offce to arrage for payment. When I mentioned the invoice seemed higher than it should be, he told be it was “industry standard” to charge a “call-out” fee. This is a fee to simply send a truck to your house. Then on top of that, if you want the guy to come in your house and do something, well that’s $95 per hour. But if they just come by, $95. I thought that was a load of shit, so I called a couple other HVAC companies. Lo and behold, this is not an industry standard. It’s some made up charge to charge me 4 times the cost of flipping a switch.

The labour portion of the invoice was $35!!!! Be careful of companies like this who are not up front about their pricing.

Thanks Advanced HVAC! I will most certainly not be calling you guys again!

Dear Recruiters

6 Sep

My name is Andrew Goldenberg, and I am an experienced backend developer from Ottawa, Ontario Canada.

You seem to pay a lot of attention to the buzz words on my LinkedIn profile and not very much else, so let me answer some of the most frequently asked questions.

Do you know Java?

No I do not.

Can you add Java to your resume?

No I will not.

Even if it means being considered for position x?

No. I do not wish to be considered by your client as a candidate based on false pretenses. Do you think we like to look like complete idiots on the first day at a new workplace?

I understand that a large portion of people lie on their resumes and that it gets them through the door but it’s a revolving door that will soon put them out on their ass.

What languages can you write in / function in?

I’m sure if you read my profile you’d already know the answer to this.

Do you have any experience with WordPress?

Nope… sorry… What’s wordpress?

Honestly guys. If you’re going to even try to waste my time without even glancing at my profile for the information you seek, then don’t bother me with your “FANTASTIC OPPORTUNITIES with MASSIVE GROWTH POTENTIAL”.

Now let’s talk more about the fantastic opportunities you want to tell me about! if you can’t tell me the following about the job, please don’t call / text / email / smoke signal me.

  • Who is it working for?
  • What is their culture like?
  • What is the pay / benefits?
  • What technology stack ¬†do they work on?
  • Where’s the office?

If you can’t answer those for me, then why am I going to spend my time on a potential dead end? If you’re not OK with disclosing that information, then I’m not OK spending my time with you so that you can sell me to a company that I don’t even want to be at. I don’t do arranged marriages.

Sorry, not sorry.

Andrew Goldenberg

How to Get LTE on the Blackberry Keyone on Freedom Mobile

8 Aug

Last week I went back to the Blackberry Keyone as my daily driver only to notice that for some odd reason, I could not get it to connect to LTE. I live in Ottawa so Freedom Mobile’s LTE network uses band 4 (1700/2100) for LTE which means this phone should work just fine. “No sweat!” I thought as I quickly dialed 611 from my device. I’ll just ask tech support…. maybe it’s just a provisioning issue..

When I spoke to Freedom Mobile’s ‘technical’ support team (and I use that term loosely.) the lady on the other end of the phone told me that in no way shape or form is a Blackberry going to work on their LTE network, I stopped her and told her she had to be mistaken. I live in Ottawa and Ottawa uses band 4 for LTE which this device has. Why would it not work? “Blackberry will only work on our 3G network.” I was told.

I did some googling and soon learned that the Blackberry Keyone needed a very minor change to get it working on LTE. Here is that change:

    1. Open your dialer (The phone app)
    2. Press the following: *#*#46368676#*#*
    3. You will be presented with the menu in the first screen shot.
    4. Tap Phone Information.
    5. You will be presented with the menu in the second screen shot.
    6. Under “Set Preferred Network Type” select either LTE/WCDMA or LTE/WCDMA Auto (If the option is there.)
    7. Hit the home button and you’re all set.
    8. Your phone may drop your connection temporarily as it tries to connect to LTE.

Screenshots

Please note: This will only work if you’re in one of the areas that Freedom Mobile uses band 4 (1700/2100) for their LTE. The Blackberry Keyone does not have a band 66 antenna, so it still won’t work.

The Ultimate Cell Unlocking Bull Shit Challenge

2 Aug

Hi Everyone!

This post is going to serve as a review of 3 different cell phone unlocking companies who all make claims of having a quick turn around for their unlocking services. The three services we are going to look at are:

For this post we will be looking to unlock a Blackberry KeyOne from Rogers with each of the three carriers.

Price / Unlock Delivery Time

Blackberry Code Source: $23.95 USD 24 Hours

  • Emailed twice asking for an update and was told it would be a full 24 hours.
  • No Code Received as of the 24 hour mark.

Unlock.CanadaGSM.ca: $16.00 1-24 Hours

  • Emailed more than twice asking for an update and was told a full 24 hours was required.
  • No Code Received as of the 24 hour mark and even the 48 hour mark.
  • Support does not speak English as a first language.

CellUnlocker.net: $24.95 (Price Matched Unlock.CanadaGSM.ca at $16) 1-24 Hours

  • Emailed and Live chatted asking for updates.
  • Was told there was a delay twice and have still not received a code.
  • Support does not speak English as a first language.

Actual Delivery Time

Blackberry Code Source:  Ordered at 4:21 AM on August 2nd Received: (Not Received Yet)

Unlock.CanadaGSM.ca: Ordered at 9:02PM July 31st Received: (Not Received Yet)

CellUnlocker.net:Ordered at 7:24PM on August 1st 2017 Received: (Not Yet Received)

So as you can see, at present I have not received a code from a single one of these vendors. Granted some of them have had more time than others.

1 vendor has already failed to meet their delivery time. Unlock.CanadaGSM.com told me 1-24 hours they could have an unlock code for me. Then when I emailed them asking why I hadn’t received a code yet (around 7PM) they assured me I would have it within a couple of hours. They are now not responding to my emails and are 36 hours into the order. Needless to say, I’ll never order from these guys again.

 

Update 08/03/2017

As you can see by the updated post above, not one of these providers could deliver on their timing promises. Each one of them states different reasons for the delay, and to be honest I find this to be rather frustrating. These providers falsely advertise their services as being fast and dependable and while that might be true a hand full of times, in my experience, this is the general experience people get. These providers should be able to tell you how long it’s going to take to retrieve a code, and should have some kind of penalty for not meeting advertised timelines.

Freedom Mobile Canada 150 Plan

29 Jun
Freedom Mobile Canada 150 Plan

If you were looking to sign up with Freedom Mobile, today is the day!

Freedom Mobile has introduced a Canada 150 plan that is sure to put all of your worries to rest.

The plan includes:

  • 3GB of Full Speed LTE Data
  • Unlimited Calling and International Texting
  • Unlimited Picture and Video messaging in Canada and the US
  • Caller ID and Voicemail

The plan also allows you to use all of these features while in their coverage area OR WHILE ROAMING! Not to mention LTE is now live in Ottawa, and several other parts of Canada!

No more excuses Canada! Join a carrier that is actually trying to imrpove things each and every day!

You can get more details on the plan here.

Review: Blackberry KeyOne

17 Jun
Blackberry KeyOne

The Blackberry KeyOne is the first device that Blackberry has produced in recent memory that really had me excited about owning a Blackberry again.

Blackberry has finally created an Android device with the latest version of the operating system as well as a fantastic camera, large battery, and best of all a physical keyboard that only Blackberry knows how to do.

Battery Life

The battery life on the Blackberry KeyOne is absolutely insane! On reddit some users have posted over 10 hours of screen on time on a single charge. I’ve had slightly lower numbers than that, but I also was never able to drain the battery entirely in a day.

Camera Quality

The camer a sensor is the very same sensor in the Google Pixel and Pixel XL devices. It turns out some pretty incredible photos and videos.

 

Call Quality

The call quality on the Blackberry KeyOne has been absolutely stellar. Callers are loud and clear and can hear me just as clearly. Not much else to say about this. It works tremendously well as a phone.

Build Quality

The build quality on the Blackberry KeyOne is truly exquisite. The full metal body with the curved screen edges and the grippy textured back make this device a delight to hold in your hand.

Conclusion

The full outright cost of the Blackberry KeyOne is $729 unlocked from Blackberry, and for the price you get a great camera, fantastic battery life, and a physical keyboard. If these are things that are important to you as they are to me, then this is a fantastic device to consider.

Fuck Off Rogers

11 Jun

Another anti-competitive and anti-consumer move is approved by our useless telecom regulator.

Rogers was given approval to purchase AWS-1 spectrum from Videotron the other day and this should have never been allowed to happen.

Rogers is already insanely spetrum heavy and is nowhere near reaching their network capacity.

Shit like this makes my blood boil. This spectrum should have to be surrendered by Videotron and put back up for auction for the smaller carriers. This bull shit with big companies getting bigger while the little guys get screwed every which way by the big 3 douchebags is enfuriating!

The CRTC needs to get off its ass and keep working towards fixing this broken system! I’m so tired of seeing anit-competitive behaviors like this from companies that keep claiming they have enough competition here in Canada.

Rogers, Bell and Telus own every other small brand in Canada aside from regional carriers like Sasktel and Freedom Mobile.

So fuck off Rogers! You lie through your teeth!

Novotel Ottawa Review

18 Apr

A few weeks ago Jenn and I had the chance to have our very own little staycation here in Ottawa. We picked out a hotel and a couple of things to check out and overall had a great time. The hotel we selected was the Novotel in Ottawa on Nicholas Street.

The Low Down

Cost per night: $200 CAD + $23/Night parking.

Address: 33 Nicholas Street Ottawa, Ontario Canada

The Room

We were given room 441 to stay in which is a single king sized bed. The bed was large and comfortable and we easily fell asleep in it.


The room overall felt really cramped and small for $200 a night.

Overall

Overall the room was nice and the location was prime, but we’ve stayed in much nicer hotels for much less money in downtown Toronto.