Customer Service Needs a Revamp



Today I called Bell Canada’s support line and spoke with Marisol.  The objective of the call was to straighten out a billing issue for their satellite TV service.

So, the account is not in my name, but the email address associated with it is mine – clearly – as it’a from my domain. I understand Bell canot discuss someone else’s account with me, but listen to my request.

This post is about how impersonal customer service has become.


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Google Publisher Plugin 404 Error



Today I went to update Adsense Ads on my website through Google’s Publisher Plugin and received a 404 error response when trying to “Save & Activate” my ads.  The error read “Sorry we were unable to save your configuration.The request to your server failed with error code 404.”.


Google Publisher Plugin 404 Error


After a bit of searching through both the support forum on, and the Adsense support forum at Google, I had no viable solution to my problem.  Of course, this leaves me to not being able to change any of the ad settings for my site.

Long story short, I was able to successfully save and activate the configuration after temporarily disabling the Wordfence Plugin on my site.

I see quite a few reports of 404 errors when trying to save and can assume not everyone is running Wordfence, but if you are getting this error, I’d check to see if you have any caching, firewall or other security related plugins installed and try disabling them while you save your Google Publisher settings.  Just don’t forget to enable them when you’re done!

Hope this saves you some time!

Canada Post Bogus Delivery Attempt Caught On Camera

Canada Post logo


I don’t really like posting just to post negative stuff.  I really dislike wasting my time, but sometimes it just gets under my skin so much that I have no choice.  This IS a rant about Canada Post, so be forewarned if you choose to read on!

What’s it all about?

Canada Post Bogus Delivery Attempt

It’s about a driver who made no attempt at all to deliver my package and had assistance at the Canada Post depot in trying to conceal it.  To make matters worse, a formal complaint with Canada Post resulted in “Sorry, not much we can do about it.”.

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Canadian Tire Gas Advantage – The Last 10 Years


Recently, I received notification, with my monthly Canadian Tire Gas Advantage MasterCard, that the monthly allowable limit on the discounted fuel, one receives under the program, has been lowered yet again. With that, I reviewed my options, decided to stop using my Canadian Tire Gas Advantage MasterCard and switch all my purchases over to my Costco Capital One MasterCard.  I even sent out a couple of tweets to @CanadianTire to let them know.

ctc_twitter_1 ctc_twitter_2

I had forgotten about the tweets, and went about making my charges on my Costco card – until today, when I received a Twitter notification that @CanadianTire had replied to one of my tweets (you can see them here).

So, this got me thinking about the Canadian Tire Gas Advantage MasterCard again and, seeing as @CanadianTire wants to contact me, I thought I’d look through some of my old bills to gather up some facts, instead of guessing, for when they do.  What I found was interesting to me and I thought it would be interesting to you as well.  Ultimately, that led me to the creation of this post – Canadian Tire Gas Advantage – Then & Now.  Let’s take a look at the last ten years of the program.

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Adafruit Huzzah ESP8266 Breakout



Today I got the chance to play around with the Adafruit Huzzah ESP8266 Breakout Board I got with my last order.

Getting things connected and functional is always the first step, so I tend to choose the easiest method available to me, whether I will ever choose to use that method or not.  This post is an example of that, and the reasoning behind it.

I’m not going to go over the ESP8266 as it’s already been done numerous times.  Here’s Adafruit’s Learn module for the Huzzah ESP8266.  It’ll walk you through what the module is, to assembling it, to getting it connected.


Getting Connected

So, easiest method available for testing this module is a direct connection to a PC via an FTDI Serial TTL-232 USB Cable (pictured below).


Here is is connected to the breakout.  No other connections are required.  It’s in the breadboard simply to hold it in place.  Keep in mind the corresponding pins will be live… meaning, USB is supplying power, ground and TX / RX signals that are broken out to other pins.  If you set the pins on something conductive, you could damage the board.  Hence why I put it in a breadboard.  Besides, we’ll need it in a breadboard for testing it out later!



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Adafruit RA8875 TFT Driver Board



I ordered in a 5″ TFT LCD with resistive touch screen, along with Adafuit’s RA8875 Driver Board for 40-pin TFT Touch Displays.  These are just some notes and comments of my experience in getting it all working.

Making the connections.

First thing to make clear is that the driver board from Adafruit DOES have level shifting on it, and can be connected to both 3.3V and 5V systems.  Let me also be clear that although it will work with a mixture of voltage signals (as I found out), you should PICK ONE.


  • Vin: +3.3V (** OR +5V)
  • GND: GND
  • 3Vo: NC (** 3.3V out from the on-board regulator)
  • Lite: NC (** Can be used to turn backlight off)
  • MISO: SPI MISO (** MISO is NOT tri-stated and cannot be used with other SPI devices without 74HC125 or similar)
  • CS: SPI CS
  • RST: Active Low – connect to any available MCU pin
  • WAIT: Active Low – connect to any available MCU pin
  • INT: Active Low – connect to any available MCU pin (** or INT pin if you want to use interrupts)
  • Y+: NC (** Optional, external touch screen controller)
  • Y-:NC (** Optional, external touch screen controller)
  • X+:NC (** Optional, external touch screen controller)
  • Y-:NC (** Optional, external touch screen controller)


Here are the basic connections made for my setup, which includes the RA8875 driver board, a PIC18F46J11 (3.3V) (44-pin TQFP breakout from Adafruit) and an SD/MMC card breakout from Sparkfun.  Top right is voltage regulation.  9VDC in, 3.3V out on the left and 5V out on the right.  One thing to note here is I had to use a 10K pullup on the MISO of the SD card to get it to work.



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jQuery 1.11.3 & DataTables

Last night I finished up some final touches on a plugin that I have been working on for my WordPress website.  Working on my local development server, everything looked and worked great!  So, I fired up FileZilla and uploaded the plugin to my production server.  I ran it through a test and found it didn’t work the way I expected it to.  Hmmmm.

The portion of the plugin in question was using Ajax to get a text file and display it’s contents in a jQuery DataTables.  On my production server, using Chrome’s debug console, I could see my code was producing the following error;

Uncaught TypeError: Cannot use ‘in’ operator to search for ‘length’ in


A few minutes of Google searching led me to this post on StackOverflow, which ultimately helped me solve the issue.  The issue presents itself when using jQuery version 1.11.3 and the DataTables extension version 1.10.6.  With a little digging, it was easy to find out why this issue presented itself on one site and not another.  My development site is on WordPress 4.2 and my production site is on WordPress 4.3.  The difference is the jQuery version loaded by the WordPress core (versions 1.11.2 and 1.11.3 respectively).

Now, the decision is to downgrade jQuery to 1.11.2 in the WordPress core (which is NEVER a good idea), or look at changing versions of DataTables.  According to the SO post linked above, DataTables versions 1.10.7 and 1.10.8-dev did not fix the issue for one commenter using jQuery 1.11.3, while the 1.10.7 update resolved the issue for another commenter who was using jQuery 2.1.4.  Luckily,  DataTables version 1.10.9 has been out since September 2015, which resolved the issue for me, using jQuery version 1.11.3 (WordPress 4.3 core).


Too much information

This tip comes from a recent job I did for a new client.  Well, the tip is not so much from the job, but what transpired while acquiring the job.  Hence the title of this post – Too much information.  The short story is this;

An email came in from a prospective client, through my website, asking me to give them a call to discuss a problem they were having with their safe.

Upon calling the client and discussing their problem, it was determined that I could help them with their problem.  We then discussed fees, I was given the clients address and a time was setup to meet them at their premises.

The job ended up being pretty simple — the client had caught an object (in this case a coin tube) behind the safe door locking bolt causing a jam — so, the job went smoothly, I were paid and all ended well for everyone.

I bet you’re scratching your head, thinking this sounds pretty routine.  Well, you’d be right (which is the reason for this post), but what I’m referring to is when too much information is given out by the client.

All too often do I talk to someone who offers too much information, and they may not even be aware they’re doing it.

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SecuRam ProLogic Xtreme Safe Lock

ProLogic Xtreme by SecuRam Systems Inc.

You’ve probably heard of the SafeLogic Series from SecuRam Systems Inc., which is their standard electronic locking system for safes.

You may have even heard about the SafeLogic Xtreme, which is their standard electronic locking system, paired with a mechanical 3 number combination lock (referred to as “SpinDial” by SecuRam), producing what is known as a “redundant mechanical safe lock”.

What you may not have heard yet is that SecuRam has now introduced the ProLogic Xtreme, the same redundant mechanical lock offered by their SafeLogic Xtreme, with the advanced features of the ProLogic Series!

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