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!

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!

You Deserved To Be Scammed

27 Jun

I’ve read a lot of posts like this one that details a person being scammed by someone over the phone into paying their back taxes using gift cards and cannot believe how incredibly stupid some people can be.

People are receiving calls from someone claiming to be the Canada Revenue Agency who are looking to collect on back taxes you owe or something to that extend. You are then threatened with jail time and RCMP attention if you do not make some form of payment arrangement. This all sounds terrifying right? I guess it would be, until they tell you their method of payment is iTunes or Visa gift cards…..

Who the hell in their right mind goes out and buys over $20K worth of gift cards to repay any form of debt? No business or debt collector is going to call you looking for gift cards…. What use does a business have for iTunes gift cards in place of cash?

If you were scammed by these people, you deserve it because you must be absolutely oblivious.

That’s all.

Dear America: Fix this Shit!

22 Feb

Dear America:

Your country has been under a microscope for a long time. People look to you to be a global leader in social and economic issues and yet not a day goes by that the whole world doesn’t wonder why the hell you haven’t done anything to get your gun laws in line!

I’m getting really tired of reading about people who can simply walk into a store (or a BANK!) get a gun and proceed to shoot people without so much as a god damn drivers license.

I hate that because of your gun control laws six people are now dead for absolutely no fucking reason!

Do you as a country not see what a massive problem this is? This event just goes to show that someone on a whim in your country can pick up a gun and travel to several different locations, and shoot / kill several innocent people!

Is this not enough for you to say to yourselves: “Ok maybe we should make gun ownership a bit more difficult and restricted so that some psycho can’t just walk in, buy a gun, and fucking kill people!”

Events such as these bring nothing but hurt and sadness to your own people and yet you still have the audacity to quote your constitutional right to bear arms?!?! Maybe it’s time that right is modified to allow you to bear arms in the face of a tyrannical government or something more specific because you as a country are like  Ralphie in “A Christmas Story” people keep telling you that you’re going to shoot your eye out and you keep telling people “Fuck that, I still want my guns”.

Gun control needs to exist for the same reason speed limits exist. Because without them, nobody can hold you accountable for being a twat with your Car(s) / Gun(s).

Fix it America. Fix it as soon as humanly possible before more lives are wasted by senseless gun crazy ass holes.

This rant was inspired by the following Huffington Post article.

 

What the Feminism?

2 Feb

That’s right WTF?!? I really need to know what this whole thing is about, because when I read the wikipedia entry for feminism I see this:

Feminism is a range of movements and ideologies that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve equal political, economic, cultural, personal, and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment.

Which if I understand correctly means the goal is to bring both genders on to equal ground in every single way. Alright! I can get behind this!

Bear in mind everything I am about to write will come off as a rant and it is intended to be. I am also no expert on the matter so please feel free to chime in on anything I get wrong.

Political Equality

Lets take a look into politics:

  • Men can vote. Women can vote.
  • Men can become MPs. Women can become MPs.
  • Men can be Prime Minister. Women can be Prime Minister.
  • A man can be Governor General. A woman can be Governor General.
  • A man can be a minister. A woman can be a minister.
  • A man can be a judge. A woman can be a judge.

Anything I’m missing here? Seems pretty equal to me. Also the pay scales are dictated by the position, so there’s no favoritism for men over women here.

Economic Equality

This is the argument that there is a pay gap between men and women who do the same job. Now I am someone who doesn’t 100% believe this argument, as I’ve been in several different software and customer service based roles.

What I have noticed is that there’s a pay gap between people in the same role regardless of gender. What accounts for this gap?

In my opinion what accounts for this gap is the willingness of a candidate to negotiate a salary that makes sense for them.

In the private sector employers hold all of the cards and are not about to show them to you! That being said, ask and you shall receive. I’ve been asked by friends about how it is I make the money I make. The fact of the matter is, I negotiate. I make it clear when we talk about salary and benefits what I am willing to take, and have had to walk away from jobs that don’t offer what I require. Maybe this is much different in other sectors but in mine, I never see it.

Cultural, Social, and Personal Equality

This part of it I believe has a lot to do with social norms and the stereotypes that society has for women.

In society women are depicted as the care givers who exist to have kids, keep the house tidy, and cook the meals while the man is out working and providing. This is truly something I don’t agree with and I do think needs to change.

Women are equally capable of handling just about any job a man can. Hell I’ve met women that can code circles around me and I’m not even going to try and say I’m better.

Can we talk about men for a second? It’s my blog so of course we can.

Let’s talk about cultural equality for men.

Why is it that women can be victims of rape, but not men?

Why is it that when there is any kind of custody battle, the judges err on the side of the mother?

Why is it that when a woman beats up a man, he’s pathetic but when a man beats up a woman she’s a victim?

I think if anything women are mostly equal and need to start acting as such.

In the end shitty people do shitty things to one another and someone ends up being a victim while the other ends up a perpetrator. That’s how things work. What really needs to change are the general assumptions being made across the board regardless of gender, race, or religion.

Just because someone is black, does not mean they’re a criminal.

Just because someone is a man, doesn’t mean they’re a rapist or trying to bring women down.

Just because someone is Christian, doesn’t mean they’re a religious nutbar.

Just because someone is a woman, doesn’t mean they are any less entitled to rights as their male counterparts are.

Please consider the other side of the coin before spouting this femenazi garbage that everyone is pasting all over different memes and social networks.

 

The Final Kick in the Nuts

20 Jan

A good friend I’ve known for quite some time shared this CBC article on Facebook and I could not believe my eyes! Not only have the big 3 raised wireless prices all at once now they’re getting ready to raise prices across the board for each and every service offering?

Serious Bull

The article features commentary from a representative from Telus who goes on to say that the weak Canadian dollar is to blame for this price increase.

That’s a really funny thing for Telus to say, because when the Canadian dollar was on par with the US we didn’t hear of any price breaks because of how strong our dollar was did we? So why are we now seeing increases in pricing?

Greed

The reason is simple. The sinking Canadian dollar gives the carriers a free pass to up pricing and blame other sources for the increase. A sinking dollar means network components cost more? Why is that being passed on to the consumer? Is that not a cost of doing business? Do you not get massive tax incentives and subsidies to offset some of those costs?

When three companies control the market, it makes price increases super simple. Make a quick phone call to the other two guys and let them know what’s happening and then simply raise prices.

What’s even better is if you are running into new costs of running your business, you can always raise them again.

Where are they going to go? A “competitor”? Let them. This just means Bells network upgrades are paid for instead of Rogers.

As I mentioned in my post about the wireless industry in Canada when real competition comes along, all 3 carriers run out to the news outlets and scream unfair and try to turn Canadians against real competition.

Did you know that Rogers Wireless holds more spectrum in Canada than Verizon does in the entire United States?

Rogers Customer Count: 8.24 Million as of Q32015

Verzion Customer Count: 110 Million as of Q32015

So Rogers is 10 times smaller than Verzion so why do they need all the spectrum? Because if competitors got their hands on it, Rogers and the other two carriers may actually have to compete!

Fed Up

The Competition Bureau has an obligation to the Canadian public to ensure that this country is not getting bent over a table by businesses in this country.

According to their web site:

The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.

Headed by the Commissioner of Competition, the Bureau is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Competition Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (except as it relates to food), the Textile Labelling Act and the Precious Metals Marking Act.

The basic operating assumption of the Competition Bureau is that competition is good for both business and consumers.

The very first item in their list of anti-competitive activities that are investigated is price fixing. So why is it that these companies are getting away with this garbage? Why has the competition bureau not stepped in? I wish I had the answer!

I’m sick and tired of these companies completely emptying our wallets day in and day out to the benefit of their shareholders.

Communications are a necessity in this world, and we should not be punished for it! These companies need to understand that just because consumers pay it, it doesn’t mean they’re happy. It means they have a need and with 3 carriers controlling the entire market, they can’t make a choice that will help this situation.

Do Something

The best we can do at this point in time is have everyone hop on Wind Mobile, but even with them being purchased by Shaw, their pricing will likely get insane too. The only reason they’re cheaper at the moment is because their network can’t reach into buildings anywhere near as well as the big 3 and the big 3 know it.

As soon as devices are ready to use 700mhz spectrum, we will see a bit more panic with the big 3 but for right now, they’re going to get as much money in their coffers as they can before any kind of revolution comes.

 

Only Compete When Forced

13 Jan

So as a follow up to my post about the state of the wireless industry in Canada, I thought I would share my experience as a Koodo customer in Ontario.

My Koodo Rate Plan

As you can see from the image above, my rate plan includes the following:

  • Unlimited Canada Wide Calling
  • 3GB of Data
  • Call DIsplay / Voicemail
  • Unlimited Messaging (Picture / Text)
  • Data Overage Rate of $20 per GB

This plan was on sale for $69 back around Black Friday. This plan is now $75 per month.

I’ve seen various ads on Kijiji and the like that offer to get you a $48 plan on several different carriers that includes much more for much less. Here’s what the $48 plan will get you in Manitoba and Saskatchewan:

  • Unlimited Canada Wide Calling
  • 5GB of Data
  • Call Display and Voice Mail
  • Unlimited Messaging (Picture / Text)
  • Data Overage Rate of $10 / GB

Not only are the rate plans lower, but so are the overage charges.

When I approached Koodo about this plan on Twitter, I was told that this plan is only for residents of Manitoba and Saskatchewan because they actually have to compete with Sasktel in those provinces.

Koodo Twitter DM

In other words the only reason rates are so jacked up in other provinces, is because there isn’t a Sasktel forcing them to compete. So they rob everyone else blind unless they actually have to be a real business and compete for your money.

These companies know that the OWN the market in Ontario and other provinces so they don’t do jack for customers because they know damn well no matter which carrier you defect to, you will be paying the same thing for the same services.

This is something our country needs to look at seriously and do something about. We need a real competitor. We need to get rid of these fake competitors and get something real going on in our wireless market!

The Problem with Wireless in Canada

12 Jan

There’s a massive problem with wireless costs here in Canada that our government and even our carriers refuse to acknowledge.

The carriers won’t mention it, because it benefits them massively.

The government doesn’t notice because apparently they don’t read enough about it in the media.

This week I noticed a shining example that makes me sick to my stomach! Every single time one of these happens, I can do nothing more than laugh at how deluded our government and the CRTC are with respect to Wireless Competition in Canada.

Mobile Syrup

This is by far my favorite blog when it comes to technology in Canada and what it means for Canadians. They cover just about everything including the wireless industry.

Here’s two posts that were made the same day on MobileSyrup.com about two “entirely different” carriers, however the ACTIONS are exactly the same.

Bell Raises Prices on their Share Plans by $5

Bell_Raises_Prices_Jan_11_2016

Rogers Raises Prices on their Share Plans by $5Rogers_Raises_Prices_Jan_11_2016

Telus_Raises_Prices

How do they get away with it?

I have absolutely no idea how or why the CRTC doesn’t recognize that this is absolutely blatant price fixing arranged by the three national carriers. They do it the exact same day by the exact same amount even?!?!

They know that our government and the CRTC are absolutely powerless to do anything about it aside from foster and favor new competition.

Back in 2008 when Wind Mobile had spectrum set aside for them in a CRTC auction, the big three complained about it being unfair and that there was already “enough competition in Canada”.

The Wireless Landscape in Ontario

Here’s a list of the wireless carriers here in Ontario:

  • Rogers Wireless
  • Bell Canada
  • Telus
  • Wind Mobile
  • Mobilicity

MVNOs (Virtual Network Operators)

  • Koodo (Telus Owned)
  • Public Mobile (Telus Owned)
  • Virgin Mobile (Bell Owned)
  • Chatr Wireless (Rogers Owned)
  • Solo Mobile (Bell Owned)
  • Fido Mobile (Rogers Owned)

So lets see we have 4 national carriers Rogers, Bell, Telus, and Wind.

Wind is still fairly young and still requires time for their network to mature (and the big 3 know it!).

Now in order to get more people to join up and raise ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) they need to create some kind of competition right? So that people of Canada are under the impression that there are more than just three people to go with.

So we have 6 flanker brands who all operate on the big 3 networks, but who claim to be competing brands.

Koodo, Public Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Chatr Wireless, Solo Mobile and Fido Mobile. These companies are all flanker brands used to simulate competition and to confuse common Canadians who only look surface deep at their carrier.

One of the benefits of being Bell, Telus or Rogers, is that along with your wireless business, you also own a majority of the media in Canada. So here’s what happens when the big 3 catch wind of an rumor that someone such as Verizon may enter Canada. They launch a campaign in the media about what’s “fair” for Canadians. I don’t know about the rest of you but I certainly don’t see my wireless bill as being fair. It’s fair to their shareholders that’s for sure!

The End of the Day

At the end of the day this country needs to smarten up and open their eyes as to what is actually going on in this country. There are not enough people who understand that this country’s wireless service and media are controlled by three companies who work together to keep rates higher than most other countries in the world!

I had to write this post because every single time I read about a price change in Canada, it seems within two days, the other two carriers are doing the same damn thing, and yet the CRTC who is supposed to be protecting us, does absolutely nothing to stop these practices that have now been common for years!

Come on CRTC! Fix this nonsense!

UPDATE

Hot off the heels of Rogers and Bell raising prices, here comes Telus with more collusion!

Dictionary.com defines collusion as:

a secret agreement, especially for fraudulent or treacherous purposes; conspiracy:

Isn’t this illegal in Canada?!?!?! Our government created the CRTC to prevent things like this from happening did they not? Really getting tired of being bent over a table every month! FIX IT!