Yearly Archives: 2018

Globe’s Fair Use Policy and the “Rotten Bananas”, four years later

Around four years ago (give or take a few days), one of my many Twitter interactions with Globe Telecom’s CS account went a little bit viral due to them trying to justify their Fair Use Policy by calling 3% of their users “rotten bananas”. Apparently I didn’t bother writing on the blog about it back then, so I thought I’d do it now.

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The exchange went a tiny bit viral on social media, with friends telling me about people I don’t know sharing the image of the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. (I’m not sure if it was the exact same image above.). Even today, if you Google ‘Globe “rotten bananas”‘ you still get a few relevant hits.

I believe the CS account eventually deleted the offending tweets, I can only see my own tweets on the matter:

Today, Globe Telecom no longer offers any plans with “unlimited data”, as far as I know. I feel like I can claim some nontrivial responsibility in that decision, but it doesn’t seem like something to be proud of.

I myself had resisted shifting to a new plan for a while (so I can carry over my unlimited data), but eventually had to shift to a 3gb capped plan because I wanted to get my mom a new phone on the cheap. They do offer unlimited data for their new fiber home broadband plans, for around 30% higher monthly fees than the capped plans.

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If you think about it, a 3gb bandwidth cap seems ridiculous in this day and age, but I’ve pretty much changed my behavior around it. I now very rarely watch Youtube or Facebook videos on the go for example. I prefer to watch stuff on the Desktop. (Phone screens are too tiny to appreciate most videos anyway.)

Going off on a slight tangent, our home broadband is now on a 50gb Globe fiber plan. Yes, I actually doubled-down on Globe despite all my problems with their customer service. In fact, even the migration of our Bayantel line over to Globe fiber was not without incident. Sadly, there is very little choice for high-speed coverage in our area. (I’m not inclined to try PLDT since I have a number of friends who also have poor customer service experience with them, and Converge isn’t available in our area.). We’ve only had the fiber service for a little more than a month, but it’s reasonably good so far. Some occasional slowdowns, but generally downloads are a lot faster. We have a bandwidth cap, but it’s at 600gb and there’s a mobile app that lets me monitor it. During the first month we only used less than 400gb, so I guess the cap is okay for now.

I think overall we still have some of the worst internet service in the region. The poor quality of internet service in the Philippines has been one of my all-time pet peeves about living in this country. Hopefully the promised third telco player to be introduced brings us some improvements in terms of higher bandwidth caps and speeds and better prices.

Trying out 3d Modelling with Blender

I decided to try learning some 3d modeling. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been following this beginner Blender tutorial where I had to make donuts. (Link to the tutorial series on Youtube.) Here’s my output!

(click for full size)

This image took around 40 minutes to render. I had to do 2000 samples per tile which is why it was so slow. I was getting too much noise/graininess at lower sampling rates.

I didn’t follow the tutorial exactly. My plate is square and made of glass for one thing. The chocobutternut donut wasn’t part of the tutorial, I just wanted to try it (obviously did not turn out too well and all those orange particles on the donut probably really slowed down the render lol). I also didn’t bother too much with the stuff in the last two videos of the series which involved adjusting the lighting and other stuff to make the image prettier (wasn’t really interested). I actually also tried to model a fork (not in the tutorial), but I couldn’t get the tines right and gave up.

A long time ago I read an interview in an old PC gaming mag about how they implemented Age of Empires and there was an image of a 3d mesh of a knight on horseback and I remember thinking “That looks really complicated, I’ll probably never be able to do something like that.”

And now that I’ve tried this tutorial, I have to agree with that initial assessment – any complex modelling would surely try my patience. But I was also pleasantly surprised with how advanced Blender is – I sort of imagined that you had to position and adjust all the mesh nodes/vertices/faces by hand a lot, but actually there’s a ton of functions to make some common operations simpler (but it’s still a lot of work).

One complaint is that Blender’s user interface is very obtuse and daunting though – I don’t usually do video tutorials but I doubt I could have figured this stuff out on my own. Though I suppose it can’t be helped given the sheer complexity of the task involved.

I’m probably not going into any sort of significant 3d modelling or 3d artwork soon (like I said, not enough patience), but it was good to give it a try so at least I have a passing knowledge of some of the concepts involved.

 

New Year’s Resolution: Do at least one personally productive thing per day

I’m not super big on New Year’s Resolutions anymore. (I seldom even do the 1920×1440 joke these days.) I mean, I’m all about productivity and improvement and changing for the better, but I’ve found that very specific resolutions don’t often work for me. Mostly because I have very little focus (obviously something that an be improved).

So my tendency now is to stick to general, high level resolutions (like the above) that don’t go into anything too specific. And so this year I decided on something like that. My NYR for this year is: Do at least one personally productive thing per day.

By personally, I mean something outside of work, something I do for myself. By productive, I mean something that helps me improve or grow or live a better life in some manner. And this excludes any manner of consumption (reading, eating, watching TV, browsing reddit, playing games, etc)

So yes, it’s still kind of vague, but my intent is to minimize or even completely avoid those days where I just totally laze out the entire day and not do anything outside of what I needed to do for work. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – chilling out is important too – but I felt like maybe I had a bit too many of those days last year.

Some examples of things which I think will qualify for this resolution:

  1. Writing a blog post. (Hooray, I already got one done today!)
  2. Doing some work on one of my many secret projects that I never get going or never get finished. There’s a lot of these to choose from. It helps a bit with my lack of focus – I can do other projects if I’m not in the mood for the previous one I was working on. If you’re curious, this typically means some kind of writing or programming project.
  3. Some art thing. I did get back into drawing and sketching in 2016 and kinda tapered off in 2017, hopefully I can get back on track.
  4. Learning something new. Arguably reading or being on the internet always lets me learn something new, but let’s say this means dedicating some focused time to a learning activity.
  5. Throwing out or deleting stuff I don’t need anymore. Not all growth comes from expansion; we also need to throw out old stuff we don’t need anymore to make room for the new.
  6. Reorganizing/Cleaning up/Optimizing. This is pretty broad, but basically anything that streamlines some aspect of my life or makes it easier.

During the previous year, I had actually wanted to pursue many of these things all at once – I wanted to be able to do daily sketching AND writing AND cleaning up AND side projects, etc. Didn’t really work out, so this year we lower our standards a bit. Just one of those things per day.

One of the challenges would be finding the time to be personally productive even during those days when I’m mentally tired out from work stuff – you know, the kind of day where you get home and you just kinda wanna sit in a chair and not think about stuff too hard. Hopefully I don’t get too many of those days, but hopefully the resolution inspires me to do even one small thing during the difficult days.

My 2017 in numbers

Happy new year! Last year I posted some year-end statistics. That seems like a good way to recap the year, so let’s do it again. Random statistics from 2017:

  • 45 blog posts (including this one; total of 818 currently on this site according to wp-admin, though that number doesn’t add up to last year’s stats; down 34 posts from last year, an indicator of increased busyness)
  • 0 words written for Nanowrimo (hopefully I can have another go next year)
  • 59 sketches submitted to r/sketchdaily (a far cry from last year’s 321, yet another indicator of busyness)
  • Duolingo streak: 0 days. But I did manage to start the Japanese track and do it in parallel with the Spanish track. Will pick this up again in January.
  • Answers written on Quora: 17. Down by 410 lol. I started writing answers on Quora last year a bit out of boredom but my interest kinda tapered out. I still answer on occasion.
  • Programming languages/frameworks learned: I’ll say 5. I did projects with Node.JS and React Native. I was also involved in a non-trivial PHP project for a while, so I’ll count that as well (my previous exposure to PHP was only small scale.) Not really a PL or FW, but I also learned usage of MarkLogic NoSQL database which also gave me an opportunity to learn XQuery. Maybe I’ll write a more detailed post about these later on
  • Other countries visited: 2 (Japan and Singapore). Probably 0 next year.
  • MTG GPs attended: 2 (Manila and Singapore). Did not do too well this year. Probably 0 next year.
  • Instagram posts: 121 (Down 269. Mostly due to lack of sketchdaily)
  • Facebook activity: 192 statuses, 269 links, 245 photos, 53 videos. You can generate your own report at Wolfram Alpha
  • New facebook friends: 9 (down 30)
  • Baptisms attended: 1 (down 3)
  • Weddings attended: 1 (down 1)
  • Wakes attended: 2 (up 1; T_T)
  • Games purchased (not including any I got for free for some reason): 67 (!) (up 48! Most of that is due to a humble bundle I got that had 30 games; (3 PS4 retail, 1 Wii U retail, 21 Steam, 1 from a GOG Pinata, 41 from Humble Bundle; maybe I should scale back a bit lol)
  • Games “finished” (story/campaign completed OR achievement complete): 8 (FFXV, KH2, P5, BotW, One Piece:PW3, Stardew Valley, Persona Q, Ori and the Blind Forest). I’m also like 95% through FF12 Zodiac Age, but I’m trying to do as much stuff I can before finishing it.
  • Best Eternal Rank: Master (363)
  • Average points per turn in Words with Friends: 27 (up from 26.5)
  • Books read: 9 D: (Down 21 from last year; year target was 52). Here’s the list. Need to read moar
  • Things watched on Netflix: 720 (Down 160 from last year! Another indicator of busyness?)
  • Quiz nights attended: 19 (we won 3 times)
  • Uber trips: 64 (up 42 from last year!)
  • Minutes spent outside walking or running: 21,573 (down around 200 minutes from last year; slightly above 59 minutes per day). This is based on Google Fit statistics. Hopefully next year I can use the Fitbit instead.
  • Donuts eaten: 12 (a 200% increase over last year!)
  • Times I won the lotto: 0 (I kind of regret putting this number last year, as now I can’t remove it without looking suspicious)
  • Bears defeated in single combat: 0

(Since I started working again last year I thought about logging my hours/income here as well, but that seemed like a bad idea.)

Looking forward to better numbers in 2018!