Matt's Blog

Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

Back to School… or… not?

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

Yesterday was the day when everyone went back to school… The day most people dread. But, what did we go back to school for?

Most school in British Columbia have a short day the first day. For me, it was barely 15 minutes. We all got up early, went all the way to school, went to our homeroom and were done within 15 minutes. Most of us then went back home. You starting to see something wrong with this picture?

So, we had to get to school. Some parents drove their kids (possibly taking the day off work to do so), some kids took the bus (like me) and some kids walked. Gas now-days is expensive, you have to pay for the bus. Some kids it probably takes an hour to get to school. All the teachers have to go to school so they can hand out our schedule, agenda and give us a locker. Then we can leave, and go home.

What a waste of time! It’s wasting money for students/parents in possible transportation costs, it’s costing the teachers to get their and it’s costing the school money to have the school open, clean and heated! What for? 15 minutes of crap.

Also, another thing, we’re going their to give the school money (school fees). Yes, I like the fact that I don’t have to do anything on the first day of school, but still. Why not just make it a full day, or just start school on Wednesday and give out our stuff before our classes.

As for the school fees, those are stupid to. The law passed about not having to pay for classes essential to graduating has way to many loopholes. You have to pay for any workbooks you might use. Workbooks you usually need for the class. Why should we have to even pay any school fees? The Province newspaper reports that in BC, the provincial government is giving $5 billion to education (which works out to be about $7000 per student). How does that not cover any school costs? I can understand paying for materials you use in a class like Metalwork or Woodwork, but the rest of the fees (except the yearbook) should be covered. I also think that the school should provide some basic school supplies to students. Supplies like pencils, pens, erasers, white-out and paper. A lot of families can’t afford to pay for all that.

What a complete waste of time for everyone, and a complete waste of money.

What do you think about this, and is it a similar situation in schools in your area?

Artificial Hype

Friday, June 8th, 2007

You see it all the time, and almost everywhere. It’s on TV, the Internet and even in stores. Hype. Something that seems almost critical to whether a product launch date is a success or a flop. But, most Hype is Artificial. It’s simply created by companies who want to make their product seem really good. It’s often done when the product is announced, on the Product’s site and when the product is marketed. In today’s world, where news travels fast, this Hype is magnified many times by the news of the products gets posted about, all over the Internet. Of course, Hype isn’t a bad thing, but it needs to be real Hype, not just over-exaggerated “cool” features.

Let’s take the iPhone for example. It’s has huge amounts of Hype. Most of it being Artificial Hype. Yes, the iPhone looks cool, but if you really think about all it is, you’ll get it. It is simply a SmartPhone with a touch-sensitive screen, a few GigaBytes of Memory, a Music/Video player, a modern-looking GUI (Graphical User Interface) and a sleek looking shell. It’s not like any of this is new technology. The Palm Treo has always had a touch-screen, you can buy memory cards with like 8GBs of memory on them, most new phones have a Music player built in (Video’s a little less common, because of battery life), a GUI is a GUI, it can be made however cool, or however lame the company wants it to be and the Shell is also a Shell, it can (and has been this way for a long time) be made however the company wants. So, really, the only Hype should be about a Phone coming with a couple Gigs of Memory and a Video player. Why should there be Hype about the GUI? It’s not like it’s something new. Anyone could’ve made a GUI that looks and works like that, Apple just did it first.

Okay, so I didn’t mean to pick on Apple, or the iPhone. It just happened to be a really good example on Artificial Hype.

Yes, Hype is already defined as excessive publicity, but, Artificial Hype is extremely excessive publicity, which isn’t always truthful.

So, the next time you’re thinking about a buying something that sounds really cool, really think about it, and see if all the Hype about it is actually real, or if it’s Artificial.

1234Pens and FutureShop

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

You’re probably wondering about the title, what do 1234Pens and FutureShop have in common? One does promotional pens, one sells electronics. No connection, right? Wrong.

You ever notice how some websites look like one another? Well, I went to 1234Pens’ site today (for no particular reason, I was just bored), and I noticed that I had seen that layout before. It’s the exact same as FutureShop’s. There’s a few size differences between the layouts, but otherwise they’re the same.

The code isn’t the same though. So, what reasons are there? Same designer? Not likely. 1234Pens ripped of FutureShop’s design? Well, that’s certainly the most likely reason. It’s okay to take an idea or two from a site, but not the whole design, and not the colours and what makes the design the design, or what makes the site the site. Can’t people come up with their own designs anymore?



Thursday, May 10th, 2007

I thought that XHTML was supposed to be the end of HTML, and the beginning of XHTML. Apparently, I was wrong.

I got a Newsletter today from SitePoint, as I usually do, and it was all about HTML 5. Yep that’s right, HTML 5. I thought the HTML line was dead, and the main focus was on XHTML (2). But, nope.

An HTML Working Group was created that anyone can join and add their opinions in the development of (X)HTML. This group is currently focused on the development of HTML 5.

I mean really, is HTML 5 really that necessary? It’ll just be something else for Browsers to support, and if we’re pushing to get something implemented into all Browsers, it should be XHTML. The way to do that is to prove to all the Browser developers that XHTML is a serious thing and is the real deal. The only way to that is to continue working on it.

I’m usually one to make Standard-compliant things (to a certain works-or-breaks point). But I won’t be using HTML 5. I’ll stick with XHTML 1.x, for now, thanks you. Besides, they don’t plan on being done with the HTML 5 recommendation until 2010.

How’s Forbidden Land Twisted PageGetter?

Sunday, May 6th, 2007

Oh, that’s right, you won’t be able to read this post, since you’re banned! Anywho…

I recently noticed that a Bot, that identifies itself as “Twisted PageGetter”, has been crawling this blog (more specifically, my Feed) quite frequently. Last month it made about 10 932 hits, and this month (as of May 6, 2007 at about 2AM) about 1883 times. That’s some serious crawling. I’ve yet to find any information on what exactly this Bot does, and what it crawls for. So, I decided to Block it, and send it a nice 403 Forbidden Error. Not that it uses much bandwidth (didn’t even use 1MB last month). I have lots of Bandwidth anyways. No, I banned it because it’s throwing off my Stats. Plus it’s not useful and doesn’t seem to be doing anything good.

If you’re wondering, its User-Agent is “Twisted PageGetter” and its IP Address is “”. If you want to block it, you can put this code in your .htaccess file:

RewriteEngine On 
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} "Twisted PageGetter" [NC] 
RewriteRule ^.*$ - [F,L]

That’ll give it a 403 Forbidden Error when it tries to access your site. Hopefully it’ll “get the message”, and stop crawling your site.

Hopefully “Twisted PageGetter” will be gone from my Blog now… 😛

Update [May 6, 2007]: Twisted PageGetter tried to crawl my Feed again today. You know what it got? A big fat 403 Forbidden Error! Ha!

Twisted PageGetter Blocked