Fall Project Update

Time flies as always. Projects come, and projects go. Time for another quick project update.

What have I been up to this fall? A few of the highlights include:

Content writing and basic theme management for the English side of an e-commerce website. The site is still technically under development, but it’s good to know that the bulk of the work is behind me. A couple hours of data entry is sure to follow, but I can tackle that once the time comes.

Completing the final editing and formatting touches a novel for one of my clients. I’m happy to report that I managed to not only did I finish that project two weeks before the deadline, but I picked up the pace and cut my original estimate short by close to 20 hours. You can expect to see a full post on the subject when the novel is published, which should be as an E-Book over Amazon and Smashwords by the end of the month.

Clerical work for a local Montreal production studio continues. Wrapping up the document editing for a series package that will be presented to the networks in the early spring. Again, this one’s under NDA so no more info until it becomes unwrapped.

Screen writing with White Skull Studios (independent horror filmmakers). Draft for a 3 minute short has been completed and most of the details sorted out. Shooting should take place mid-way through December.

And lastly: NaNoWriMo. Okay, this one’s a little bit of a disappointment. I waited 11 months to start only to come up with a pretty heavy month of November. So much for tossing 50, 000 words into a “just for the hell of it” creative project. I barely sunk more than 5000 into it. Though, it’s not as if I didn’t write 50k + words this month for other projects.


The Quebec Charter of Secularism

The secular charter. Where to begin?

The bill that Pauline Marois has been teasing about all summer finally made it’s way into public view in the recent weeks and “surprise!” it’s every bit the xenophobic, self-centered and, dare I say it, racist document that people feared it would be.

The best description of the bill that I’ve heard so far is “Privileged white person hopes other privileged white people will support bill that removes privileges from non-white people”. While this might sound a little blunt, it isn’t far from the truth of what this so-called charter is looking to accomplish.

The double standard of it all is what sickens me. The PQ are focusing their war of values on the symbols of Islam, Sikhism and Judaism, essentially depriving people who are traditionally “not white” from being able to display their faith and cultural heritage in public, all the while willing to leave crosses (depending on their length) in public spaces because they are very much part of the “Quebec Identity”.

I’m 100% behind the separation of Church and State; the human race has witnessed far too many atrocities when a narrow-minded religious enterprise was able to enact its policies with the full power of the state behind its swings. However, this isn’t about Church and State being bed-buddies, this about the State deciding which Church has a place in it’s society.

As well, the state has little to no right to interfere with the personal lives of its citizens in areas where no one is being harmed. Yes, there are crazy religious cults out there and crazy over-zealous practitioners of virtually every religion (yup, there are even xenophobic, violent Buddhists out there, believe it or not) but this is Canada and the par for the Canadian course is peace and tolerance.

Religions in and of themselves are not bad; a Koran lying on the table, or being recited in an old man’s head as he walks down the street, isn’t harming anyone. The problem with religions is how they are interpreted and then how those interpretations are put into practice.

I’ve also never heard of a man’s turban being used to kill someone, but I’ve heard rumours that crosses were once a popular method.

People should be enraged when people are deprived of their religion and culture just as equally as they should when religion is forced upon others.

Equally so, if this bill passes, who’s to say we won’t see an even more severe one come two or three years down the road? If it’s public offices today, why not extend it to all Quebec business, and then parks and public spaces and just forget altogether that Canada (Quebec included) is a nation made up of many nations? Oh wait, that’s sort of what they are trying to do. Nothing like a little “us vs them” mentality to keep a society healthy.



F***You Magento

DISCLAIMER: This is only the humble opinion of a single Magento user, and is intended as an opinion piece and not meant to be taken as an authoritative review of the platform. Maybe someone out there has had a better experience with the platform than I have. Instead, adult profanities follow. Lots of them.

Hey everyone! How are ya’ll doing on this lovely afternoon?

Fine and dandy? That’s good.

Guess what I spent most of a month working on?

A Magento site!

How was it you ask? Well…

FUCK YOU Magento!

You’re the least user-friendly, arrogant piece-of-shit web platform I have ever had the displeasure of using. You’ve caused me countless hours of migraine inducing, head-scratching, what the fuck moments that I had no intention, or expectation, of having to contend with. Because of your single-handed inept, horseshit way of magically generating errors out of thin air, I’ve not only seriously considered, but already taken steps to get out of the web design business altogether. Go fuck yourself, you piece of shit platform! Why, oh why, didn’t I sign up for some other e-com platform instead?


That wasn’t me just now. That was some other angry person.

Phew, now that that’s out of the way, where the gosh-darned heck do I actually begin to describe the nightmare using this platform has become for myself and everyone else who has ever touched it?

For those of you out of the know, Magento is the world’s largest, most popular e-commerce web platform.

Right out of the box, this system pretends that it’s the bees-knees of e-commerce. It’s big, it’s got features, it’s got a community and it’s got a price-tag.

Everything about it reeks of confidence to the point of big corporation arrogance; but if a platform has been around for a decade with some of the biggest names in commerce using it, you would expect a smaller site might be able to reap the benefits that only a robust platform like Magento could offer?

Wrong motherfucker! AMBUSH!

I’m sure there are good things about Magento, somewhere, hidden in that deep, dark pit of despair, but in reality whatever good this platform can offer is in every way overshadowed by its error-ready inherently broken core architecture.

It’s honestly as if every single piece of this behemoth was built from the ground up using psycho-logic and with the sole intention of causing psychological trauma to the poor saps who end up using it for development.

Exhibit A – The Magento import and export functions are dogshit.

In a normal world, when you export and then import something from the same damn site (like taking socks out of a drawer and then putting them back in) you expect them to work / be accepted / import (you expect the mutherfucking socks to fit in the mutherfucking drawer!).

With Magento, I exported the entire catalogue from our site, and then attempted to re-import it back to the same site.

The only difference was that we moved the domain; every single other facet, from attributes, to categories, to currencies, was the exact same.

Then, when I imported them, lo and behold, over 15 000 errors! WTF?!

After checking the spreadsheet, it turns out that it was indeed filled with errors – errors that Magento arbitrarily decided to fill it with!

Why would a system’s own built-in import and export function fuck itself like that? It’s like after unloading a bag of fresh groceries in the fridge, closing the fridge, and then opening it to find a gaggle of geese fly out at high speeds type of insanity.

The best part? After I fixed all 15,000 errors BY HAND, uploaded them and got the perfect green checkmark of “everything works”… nothing actually worked!

In the back end, everything was there, fine and looking good. Products were active, on the right site, in the right categories EXCEPT they weren’t appearing on the front end.

Not. One. Of. Them.

After a good 10 hours of troubleshooting, it turns out that 99% of the products magically didn’t work, and would never work. The other 1% could, but they got imported with the “enabled” switch turned to “disabled” for some mysterious reason.

I tried switching the others to disabled in the hope that they would work, but no dice.

The only way they worked was to copy paste each individual bit of info from that spreadsheet into the product creator… oh, a good couple thousand times.

Exhibit B – In Magento, Errors Appear and then Magically Disappear.

I went into the theme template and disabled every sidebar widget save for a recently viewed products list. I tested it, and it worked… but that was yesterday.

Today, after having added a few more pages to the CMS, updated the store logo and added some images to the home page, etc. (standard stuff) I went to look over with the products and happened to notice the recent product list wasn’t appearing.

I go to the back end, check, and it’s enabled? WTF?

I enable other widgets and they all work, but not the one goddamn widget I want!? FUUUUUU!

Guess I won’t be using that goddamn widget this time around!

Exhibit C – Can I change the Store Logo in Magento Anymore? Anyone?

From the back-end, the only way to upload a media file is through loading up an individual page editor in the CMS section and pretending to insert a file but only going so far as browsing.

Once there, I dumped the logo file into the EXACT SAME directory as the default placeholder and saved. I went to the theme settings, changed the name of the file on the path and then bingo it… wait? WTF!? It’s still the old logo?!

To cut that piece of shit story short, it turns out changing the filepath does nothing – the only way to change the logo was to manually overwrite the placeholder file with the new logo and then go.

Pro-tip: changing the file name in the core database doesn’t even work – other magical nonsense happens… I don’t recommend you try it, ever.

Hmm why not just have an image uploader built into the settings where I can simply upload my logo file and the system takes care of it?

You know… like the GODDAMN FAVICON has?!

But no, that would make sense, and Magento isn’t a fan of having to explain itself.

Final Remarks about using Magento?

As far as I can tell, the only way to make Magento inherently work, to avoid countless migraines that seriously make you question the possible existence of the devil, is to never, EVER, make any changes to any sort of the architecture, template or system, no matter how modest.

Buy a template, and don’t even so much as change the name of one of the pages. If you so much as do, then be prepared, well prepared, to enter into a realm of Lovecraftian madness beyond your deepest, darkest, watery dreams of chaos.

Fuck you Magento, I hate you.

FUN FACT: Two and a half years later and Magento still sucks! I’ve written a follow-up piece to commemorate the occasion. Be sure to read about Another Trip Through the Inferno: Magento.

This post was slightly updated in 2014, 2016, and 2019.