Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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Archive for December 2016

Posts (11) :: Photos (55)


Review: Xenoblade Chronicles X

Just in time for the end of the year, I finally finished Xenoblade Chronicles X, which I started playing around the first week of August (5 months!), with 120+ hours of game time. The game doesn't have the best graphics (WiiU, etc), but I really like how it looks and how the world is built and all the different environments and the weird and sometimes absurdly large beasts. There's a whole lot of stuff to do in-game.

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Cleaning up your Code

In one of my most recent projects, a large system that had gone through a relatively long and unstable period of many, many changes due to sales demonstrations, different clients and whatnot, one of the “fun buffer tasks” I always kept around for devs was code cleanup. Because of the unstable nature of the project, there was always a lot of duplication, unused/unnecessary/obsolete classes/functions/files and so on. Unnecessarily large CSS files where most of the selectors were no longer really needed or JS libraries that weren't actually used.

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I traditionally try to save some time on the week between Christmas and New Year's Day to do some cleaning up and decluttering of my stuff. One would assume that having more time meant I would be better able to organize my stuff and all that, but one would be wrong. My room still has stacks of books, toys, Magic cards and other stuff in random places. Or maybe I just have too much OCD that I want everything to be neat and organized, but I'm not industrious enough to make it happen.

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Related: Learning new skills While many people working as programmers/software developers are happy enough specializing in a single programming language or platform, I generally consider it a better idea to have a wider toolset and the ability to easily pick up new programming languages as needed. The benefits should be obvious: when you have a wide variety of tools under your belt and are able to quickly learn to use a new tool, the number of work options you have increases greatly.

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Learning New Skills

When Hanamichi Sakuragi from the manga Slam Dunk tries to get into the basketball club, he insists he's a genius who doesn't need to practice the basics and instead wants to go immediately to doing spectacular things like Slam Dunks. Sadly, the vast majority of us cannot claim to be geniuses at anything, and we are forced to undergo a bit of hard work if we want to learn a new skill.

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In any reasonably large software project, the system will be so large that no one developer will have a good grasp of the details of every function in the codebase. The tendency is for developers to specialize – that is, developers tend to focus only on certain parts of the codebase and become more familiar with that part, while not having much knowledge about the other parts. This tendency is self-reinforcing – once it becomes known that the developer is an “expert” in the given module, there is a tendency that he will be assigned the most difficult and urgent tasks or fixes related to that module, further cementing his expertise.

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Often I have these days where I'm supposed to be writing something or drawing something or coding something and I just can't get to it. Some kind of mental block makes it difficult. And you try to focus your mind and clear your thoughts, but it just doesn't help. Here are some ideas for how to get past mental blocks. Toss out ideas that weren't working and start over.

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I was in a meeting once with my boss (literally the CEO, a Malaysian) and some representatives of another company (Americans) where we were discussing the technical details of a possible future partnership. At one point, one of the Americans said to my boss that he was pleasantly surprised that I was openly speaking up independently of my boss and willing to correct him on some points when he didn't quite get the technical details right.

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Nanowrimo 2016 Post-Mortem

As I recall, today was at least my fifth Nanowrimo attempt; the first one was sometime before 2003 (I would guess it was in 2000 or 2001 before I graduated from college), the second one was in 2003, then 2006, then 2011, then finally the fifth one this year. My best prior attempt was back in 2011, when I made it up to 22,000+ words. At just around 1am on the early morning of November 30th this year, I beat that record and have won Nanowrimo for the first time.

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In JavaScript, referencing variables that are declared outside of a function's scope can be tricky. If you have code like this: var btn = document.getElementById("BTN"); var test = 1; btn.onclick = function() { alert(test); } test = 2; The click handler above retains a reference to the test variable even though it falls out of scope as soon as the script block finishes execution. When you actually click the button, the alert will show the last value of the variable when the block finished execution (2) instead of the value at the time the function was initialized (1).

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I also finished Persona 3 Portable today (been playing it on and off since Feb 2015). I figured I should clear it off my backlog before P5 next year. Didnt manage a completionist run though
Media noche 2016
Happy New Year! #sketchdaily
Clearing the backlog: finished Persona 3 Portable today!
Mitsuru #sketchdaily
When you just want to win your last @WordsWFriends game of the year but 2016 isnt having any of it #fb
Change has indeed come… iba na wrapper ng flat tops!
I hope that in episode 8, Luke teaches Leia how to become a force ghost #sketchdaily “Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter” - Yoda
Hyena #sketchdaily
“Scott did you give an ant a Christmas sweater?” “He was cold!” #sketchdaily
Sleeping in #sketchdaily
Boxing day Monopoly Junior
What a haul! #sketchdaily
Noche buena 2016
Cardinal #sketchdaily
Santa and Krampus work on their lists #sketchdaily
So on r/worldnews on reddit, they have some sidebar buttons to filter out particular topics that tend to dominate the news. Guess what they added recently! #PinoyPride
Also, I should totally post on reddit the next time our Dear Leader says something stupid. At least instead of simply being annoyed at him, I also get to reap some reddit karma.
Magi #sketchdaily
Ninja escape! #sketchdaily
Star Destroyer #sketchdaily #starwars
“We'll take the next chance, and the next, until we win or the chances are spent. You're rebels aren't you?” #sketchdaily #rogueone
Final Fantasy steelbooks. I think the only one I'm missing is one from FF XIII-2
“O happy dagger!” #sketchdaily
Hood #sketchdaily
Sometimes there's an unexpected duterte in an unrelated reddit thread and i laugh then almost immediately i am sad
Pig and duck #sketchdaily
I always get annoyed at the poor subject verb agreement of this notif
Crowdsourcing: Scam or not? Should I respond?
Hindi ba ito impeachable offense?
Lost garden gnome #sketchdaily
Elephant in the room #sketchdaily
Decorating aboard the Milano #sketchdaily
Under the bridge #sketchdaily Part of this drawing was by my niece, see if you can guess which part
This rices even more questions…
In addition, I'll contribute #7: if your friends share such articles/pages, tell them of the problems with the article (but probably leave it up to them what to do about it)
Daredevil #sketchdaily Inspired by Daredevil (2015) #10 cover by Ron Garney
Tranquil meadow #sketchdaily
Rabbits in the morning #sketchdaily Would it be weird if humans wore slippers with human heads?
Lawyer friends, is this true? Hindi ba merong something like grave threat? Or hindi applicable for some reason like immunity from suit or some executive privilege?
Okay, let's review:
 Duterte reinstates cops suspended for involvement in illegal drugs. Supposedly he wants to keep them in place to be able to investigate and track their movements. He confirms that Marcos is involved in illegal shit. These cops go on to kill inmates in custody, while they are in their position where they could supposedly be investigated and tracked. Senators say it looks like an extra judicial killing NBI says it's a rubout Duterte still supports the cops (who he already admitted were involved in illegal shit) and won't allow them to go to prison  My creative imagination is failing me, can someone tell me how this isn't coddling of murderers?
Steak! #minsanlang
Parang may ghost pagoda #everfilter
New friends #sketchdaily
Snowfall #sketchdaily
Undersea battle #sketchdaily
Ordinary street corner #sketchdaily
Updated my S5's OS, it's been stuck like this for about an hour. What do?
Somehow we won Geekfight! #bottleofwin
WTH facebook. That guy didn't even do #noshavenovember!
After #noshavenovember
Boxer #sketchdaily
IDK, it feels a bit appropriate for 2016…

Roy Tang is a: is a personal site, an E/N site, and kind of a commonplace book; I post about a random assortment of topics that interest me including software development, Magic the Gathering, pop culture, gaming, and tech life. This site is perpetually under renovation.