Sunday, February 26, 2017

"Rejuvenation! Rebirth! All That Crap!"

NewHello!

It has been at least two years since I have posted anything new! I have redesigned this website and started a blog from scratch. All previous "articles" I wrote that were from my old website have now been merged with this new blog. As for my old blog, I used the same blog for 11+ years as a personal blog... and decided it was time to start "fresh," or as fresh as could be.

With this in mind, I am hoping to use this blog. While I would like to say I will blog more often in 2017, I am not sure I will keep that promise. I am committed to discussing all sorts of cool stuff in the future though, including politics. After all, we are living in interesting times... and some (okay, only one person) people have asked for my opinions on the new Trump administration down south.

Thank you for your concerns.

Wondering where that phrase came from? It's actually a shorter version of what George Costanza once said:

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Accessing That Old List of Classmates in Your Course(s) at the University of Saskatchewan Through PAWS

Effective June 27, 2013, the University of Saskatchewan has made an update to Blackboard Learn. The update also comes with a decision to make a change in privacy restrictions. Students will be able to see the names and emails of other students within Course Tools (Blackboard Learn). However, students will be able to prevent their name from being displayed. This effectively makes this guide useless... to an extent. Furthermore, the user interface of PAWS has changed dramatically as of August 2013, but some of these steps remain relevant.

Before every new semester/term of classes begin at the University of Saskatchewan, students at the Saskatoon-based school often like to log into PAWS (Personalized Access to Web Services) approximately one month before classes begin.

Then, they like to click on the "Academics" tab before clicking on "Course Tools." Oh yeah... you can now access Course Tools by clicking on the shortcut icon to Course Tools near the top right-hand corner of your screen when logged into PAWS, as pictured below...
Course Tools Shortcut

But more than often, the first thing they like to do when checking out each individual course page is by clicking on "Members," as pictured below, so they can find out which other suckers are taking the same class as them...
Members - Circled
There are a variety of reasons for this, which include, but are not limited to the following:
  • Do they know someone in the class?
  • Is there someone in there that they despise enough to drop the class?
  • Perhaps they'd like to scope out the class list for people with funny names.
  • Maybe they like to see if their friends are on the list so they can send their friends text messages in this manner: "OMG! I HAVE A CLASS WITH YOU! YAY!"
But whatever the reason, that possibility is gone as of Term 1 of the 2011-2012 school year... or so I thought.

This past summer, the University of Saskatchewan switched from the older PAWS Course Tools software to something new: Blackboard Learn, which offers a new slate of features that I don't really care for, as I haven't used a single new feature (except downloading documents from class pages). However, what appears to be missing from Blackboard Learn is the ability to see a list of your fellow classmates within the specific class that you are taking.

This past summer, on a hunch, I tried something, and it turned out to work, even if it required a bit of work on my part.

Today, I would like to share that idea with you. At least a few others know about this already (probably because they think the same way as I do), but I thought it'd be important to publish this useless article.

When you access your list of classes, classes you took prior to Term 1 of the 2011-2012 school year link to a web address similar to this, and contains important information, as described in the diagram below:
URL - Old Courses
With that in mind, here are the steps you need to go through in order to access the list of classmates, old school style...
  1. Log into Blackboard Learn at http://bblearn.usask.ca.
  2. Once you've logged into Blackboard Learn, take a look at your U of S Course List, as pictured below.
    U of S Course List
    Once you've logged in, make note of the numbers in brackets/parentheses, as it'll become important.
  3. Make a note of this old, but still-important web address... you'll need it: http://paws.usask.ca/jsp/grouptools/group/GroupRedirect.jsp?courseID=
  4. Log into PAWS (http://paws.usask.ca) in a different tab or browser window.
  5. Once you've logged in, go back to your U of S Course List in Blackboard Learn.
  6. Make a note of the class you'd like to check out (the one where you want to see the list of classmates) and copy the odd numbers in brackets, then add that to the end of the "old, but still-important" address above.

    So, for example, I want to find out which fellow suckers are in my POLS 306 (01) class (29153.201201).

    I would copy the above "old, but still-important" address and paste into a word processor or similar application, such as Notepad on Windows. Then, I would add 29153.201201 to the end of that address, which would make the newly-genereated web address look something like this:

    http://paws.usask.ca/jsp/grouptools/group/GroupRedirect.jsp?courseID=29153.201201
  7. Once you've completed step #6, go back to the tab or window in which you are logged into PAWS.
  8. Take the newly-generated-by-you web address and paste it into the address bar, like so...
    Paste URL
    Once you've pasted that web address, hit the Enter or Return button (depending on whether you use a PC or Mac). Please note that value you added will change, as well as the address of the page it takes you to.
  9. Once you've hit "Enter" or "Return," you will see something similar to this:
    Success
  10. Then, if you'd like to see who else is in your class, click on "Members," as circled in the above image. Once you've clicked on "Members," you will be taken to a page that I'm sure us older students are familiar with...
    Course List
To check out the list of classmates in your other numerous classes, you'll unfortunately have to repeat the steps I've typed up.

I hope this makes my fellow University of Saskatchewan students a little happier with having to use Blackboard Learn, as there is a way back. However, just to let you know... this article is only useful for the purpose of finding out who else are in your class. All attachments or files that professors may post that are related to your course(s) are only visible through Blackboard Learn.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Earn Some Pocket Cash by Taking Surveys!

SurveysAre you a university student? Usually, university students are assumed to be broke, unless their parents are paying for their tuition. I, on the other hand, have been fortunate enough to receive some free money, but not from my parents.

So, the annoying thing about universities is that there are terms in which you will find yourself with a few hours where you have nothing to do, and more than often, you can't really squeeze much studying into that timeframe. So, you find yourself wanting to go downtown for lunch or something, but there's not much time for that either. So, naturally, you may decide to find a friend, or hang out at the library, use your laptop or find a computer lab and surf the Internets.

Well, why not use that time to make some money? Yes, take surveys.

By taking surveys, you'll be shaping how the world turns out, by voicing your opinion on political issues, new products, etc. Plus, you can earn points for... gift certificates, or "cold hard cash."

Why not start today? I've made a good amount of money taking surveys with my spare time, even if it seemed like forever to get any money. Of course, not all websites offer money. Some will offer Air Miles or Aeroplan miles!

Here is a list of research panels that I am a part of. You should join too. So, join the websites listed above and start earning some "mad cheddar!"

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Terrible Guide to Finding Exclusive Group Deals in Your Local City

This article was originally written by a late friend of mine named Larry Chen, but published to my website when it was more of a group project. I have decided to keep this. The words below are his, and not mine at all. Thank you for your concerns.

I used to live in Calgary, but now live in Saskatoon, and I wouldn't mind living here for the long-term. It's a great city, and the businesses are interesting.

But, moving on... I like cheap stuff as much as any other person.

Recently, this website's webmaster and founder discovered group buying deal websites, but I decided to look into them further.

Basically, these websites allow you an awesome deal that ranges from 50% to as much as 90% off any regular deals. However, there is a catch. On a regular (likely daily) basis, group deal websites tend to post a deal, as long as enough people "buy the deal," meaning enough people actually have to be interested and commit to it.

Let's take a look at this screenshot below:
MySaskDeals.com Example
This screenshot was taken from mysaskdeals.com, advertising a great deal that is essentially 50% off of a professional snowboard waxing at 2nd Nature Sports & Apparel on 2nd Avenue North in Saskatoon. Under the part that says "it's a deal," it says "Tipped at 22:13:58 with 10 bought."

So, basically, in order for you to be eligible for this deal, you must commit to buying it. Upon doing so, you must provide your billing and credit card information. Once the required number of people (in the case above, ten) does what you just did, the deal becomes active, and you will receive an email regarding its confirmation. Usually, you will need to print off a coupon or certificate, while some websites offer a smartphone app that allows you to use as a way of presenting it to the business rather than using up paper.

In the picture above, the deal was active because ten or more people committed to buying it, so the number of people who bought it will have their credit cards charged. Now, if the required number of people does not buy it, your credit card will not be charged. It's as simple as that.

So, now that you have a good idea of what these websites are for.

With Reverend Huy Dang's results so far, I have found a few more websites. In total, here is what we both found that offer discounts in Saskatoon: For those of you who live in Calgary, I did find some similar websites.

Sites like Groupon and WagJat already include Calgary, but here are some that do include Calgary but not Saskatoon: And in case you didn't know, Future Shop did something similar to this not long ago, and it was a huge success for them, I bet. I bought myself a laptop, anti-virus software and USB headset for $299.99 before taxes and fees! For more information on that, click here.

Please note that this page/article will be updated on a regular basis, should more websites be discovered.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Reverend Huy Dang's Journey at the Conservative Electoral District Association's Annual BBQ Where He Met the Right Honourable Stephen Harper

On September 9, 2010, I had the honour of meeting a very important man, and possibly the most powerful man in Canada.

It all started one day when I was checking my email and received an invitation to a "BBQ," which I assumed would be outside. Usually, I ignore invitations to barbeques, or parties, as I don't like having a social life all that much, apparently. But this time, I could not ignore it, as the invitation specifically placed an emphasis on the fact that Prime Minister Harper would be in attendance. At this point, I was willing to go, and so I registered for the BBQ.

On the day of the BBQ, it was raining, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper had been at the University of Saskatchewan earlier in the day, making a funding announcement for the Diefenbaker Canada Centre, inside the Diefenbaker Canada Centre. He announced that there would be federal funding for renovations. I did try to attend, but was told to leave by campus security officials.

It all started off very well, and I made my way to Prairieland Park, where this supposed "BBQ" was being hosted.

This is where I felt very welcome:
A Welcoming Message
Note: you can view larger images, by clicking on the pictures!

Once I walked through the registration area, there were a lot of people:
People

As it turns out, there were more people than I expected:
More people than expected...

So, I walked around looking for people that I might know, and I didn't find anyone that I knew, as I seem to be the only "young" person interested in politics these days within my circle of friends.

But while I was there, I did see Global Saskatoon reporter Sherri Clark:
Global Saskatoon Reporter Sherri Clark

Eventually, I saw the Honourable Ken Cheveldayoff, who manages three portfolios within the Government of Saskatchewan (Minister of First Nations and Métis Relations, Minister Responsible for Northern Affairs, Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation)... as well as Saskatoon City Councillor Bev Dubois. They were both nice enough to let me take their picture:
Ken Cheveldayoff and City Councillor Bev Dubois

Eventually, it was time to introduce the special guests, and that started with an address by Kelly Block, the Member of Parliament for Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar:
Kelly Block

Eventually, some very important people stepped out from behind the scenes:
Behind the scenes...

Then, the special guest arrived! Yes! For the first time in my life, I would get to see a sitting prime minister for the first time, in person...
Prime Minister Harper's Speech
The man was making a very important speech, and I am glad I was there to listen, even if I cannot remember the entire speech today.

But as I watched the speech, this man kept looking towards my direction... even though he didn't do anything, I was paranoid:
Bodyguard

Then, I saw Tom Lukiwski, the Member of Parliament for Regina-Lumsden-Lake Centre! When I asked him if I could take a picture, he said "Absolutely!" Then, his friend (to the right) stepped aside:
Tom Lukiwski

Then, his friend offered to take a picture of me and Tom:
Reverend Huy Dang/Tom Lukiwski

And eventually, after Prime Minister Harper made his speech, we were given the opportunity to take our photos with him. So, as I waited in line, I met a woman who works for the Honourable Gerry Ritz, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food for the Government of Canada. Eventually, when it was my turn, I went through eight security officials before being able to meet the Prime Minister of Canada. After the quick security check, I met with Mr. Harper for a quick moment, and told him about my crazy ideas as quickly as I could. However, I was only able to get one idea to him. But before I started my conversation with him, he complimented me on my t-shirt and said, "I see you've got the shirt."

Eventually, after getting my picture taken, I was given a card by the prime minister's photographer that looked like this:
Request for Photo

So, later that night, I sent an email requesting that the photographer email me the photo with the Right Honourable Stephen Harper.

And on September 16, 2010, the photographer finally did just that, resulting in this wonderful picture:
Reverend Huy Dang/Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Overall, this moment was probably the biggest moment of my life in recent history.

I'm Reverend Huy Dang and would like to thank you for taking the time to read my article.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Why I Don't Always Stop at the Stop Lines

A while ago, someone asked me, "Huy, why don't you stop on the stop line when making left turns?" And, I had one simple explanation: look at what happens. But, since you have no idea why, I'll tell you in today's kick-ass guide to making left turns in Saskatoon.

Making a left turn can always be a bitch, especially during rush hour. You have to wait for the oncoming traffic, and risk getting hit when making your left turn on an amber light. But during rush hour, you often see one of these:


When you see one of those, it makes some people want to say, "Chika, chika, yeah!" Why? It's a form of relief, and people seem to believe that it moves traffic faster, which it does. But, what happens when it's not rush hour? Well, usually, you only see this:


You'd really like to see that green left arrow again, don't you? I mean, that green light is boring, and you have to wait for the stupid oncoming traffic. Don't you wish you could just skip all that and just make that left turn without being in an accident, even though it's not rush hour? Well, it's possible, and I'm going to show you how!

So... when you travel around Saskatoon, you might notice that Saskatoon has traffic signals that look like this:


Well, there is a way to make the traffic signal display a flashing green arrow that points to the left. It's all based on this "square" on the road that's usually found in the left-turning bay of intersections with a cement median, or in the left lane of any intersection that has one of those signals. Here's what it looks like... I've marked with with an "X:"


On most left-turn bays, you will see that "square," which detects the metal on cars. In the picture, it's pretty obvious where it was. And when a car stops on that area, the traffic signal displays a flashing green arrow, allowing those making left turns to make left turns without having to yield to oncoming traffic. Again, look at the picture, and you can see it within the my black lines/drawing. Now, you're not always going to see it when you're driving, but it's there. If you don't see it, all you have to do this: imagine that there are three "invisible cars" in front of you. Once you've done that, make yourself the "forth," or even "fifth" person in line. Please note that this concept only works about 75% of the time. So, you're better off looking for that metal detector!

Please note that this doesn't work for all intersections as some intersections in Saskatoon that have those types of signals operate differently. Here are those exceptions:
  • Southbound/northbound traffic at Confederation Drive and 22nd Street West. The lights appear when there are cars, period.
  • Southbound/northbound traffic at Idylwyld Drive North/South and 22nd Street West/East. The lights appear when there are cars, period.
  • Eastbound/westbound traffic at Idylwyld Drive North and 33rd Street West/East. The lights appear when there are cars, period.
  • 20th Street West/East at Idylwyld Drive South. The lights appear when there are cars, period.
  • Southbound/northbound traffic at Broadway Avenue and 8th Street East. The lights appear when there are cars, period.
  • Southbound/northbound traffic along Lorne Avenue at 8th Street East. The lights appear when there are cars, period.
  • Southbound/northbound traffic along Central Avenue at Attridge Drive. The lights appear when there are cars, period.
Oh yeah, here's a major exception:


So there you go... I hope you see why I don't always stop at the stop lines when making left turns!

And for those of you who just thought of me a moron, or those who have seen me do this and have given me dirty looks: try it for yourself! Furthermore, if you are heading eastbound or westbound on Attridge Drive/Preston Avenue (near Preston Crossing) North through the overpass in an attempt to enter the freeway (Circle Drive), there is a way you can avoid waiting for oncoming traffic.

When you are making a left turn from the overpass to enter Circle Drive, you will see a traffic signal set-up that looks like this:


In the picture above, the overhead signal stays green at all times to instruct traffic to proceed through the area. As for the bottom traffic signal, the light will always stay green. However, when enough traffic activates a left-turn arrow, the left-turn arrow will begin to flash as traffic on the other side of the street (oncoming traffic) will be required to come to a stop for your benefit.

Below, you will find a diagram/picture of where you can stop in the area to activate a left-turn arrow...


In the picture above, you will find a panel where electrical wiring can be found underneath, which is embedded into the concrete median. This area has been circled above. If you would like to activate the left-turn arrow at the expense of oncoming traffic, you may do so by stopping ahead of the panel, which is approximately the spot where the fourth (4th) car would stop if the left-turn lane is full of vehicles. This area has been noted above in the area that has been "squared."