Roy Tang

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

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Archive for October 2018

Posts (26) :: Photos (33)

Posts

Change and Risk and Governments


Systemic change is difficult. I'm talking about software projects/systems, but there are a lot of parallels with societal systems too, like governments or states. I've been in large projects with hundreds of thousands of LOC where a lot of the code was painful to read and full of code smells and so on. It happens over time as projects get maintained by different developers and teams or different enhancements or changes are made.

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Anxiety


Webcomic PVP Online recently did a short series on the character Cole suffering anxiety. I generally consider myself to be a well-adjusted and functioning adult (more or less), but I did grow up as a socially anxious introvert, so I still find myself suffering mild anxiety from time to time. The most common scenario is when someone messages you like “Hey, can we talk later?” with no additional context whatsoever.

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Watching Lately: October 2018


Some things I've been watching lately, aside from the usual TV shows I follow: Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan (on Amazon Prime) – surprisingly good, even if I'm not too familiar with the Jack Ryan stuff. I only know John Krasinski from The Office, Spoilers for Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan: Click to toggle spoilers - The story starts with Ryan tracking down Suleiman's network via financials, but they never follow-up on who was financing his group - I'm not sure what was the point of the whole drone pilot side story (including the weird trip to the casino and the night with the couple), although it was admittedly kind of entertaining Daredevil season 3 (on Netflix) – I enjoyed the season a lot.

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Django Blog Application


Ten years ago this month, I started studying Django by trying to build my own blog application. I found the code lying around while I was going through some backups lately. It's way out of date, it uses an early version of django. I thought of bringing it up to speed, but that didn't seem practical. Instead, for archival purposes, I cleaned it up a bit and uploaded the code to a github repo.

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Superhero shows being political


Comic books and superheroes have always tended to skew towards liberal philosophies, given how writers and artists tend to support ideals like individualism and free expression. So it's not surprising that the derivative shows tend to lean the same way. Not only do many of the shows promote diversity, but many are becoming overtly political as well. Some recent examples. (Spoilers for current seasons of Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow and Daredevil follow)

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Michael Scott


I've been re-watching The Office (US) lately (it's a good show to leave running in the background while you're doing other stuff), and I just find the character of Michael Scott fascinating. He's funny and well-written and basically just a big bag of human flaws that somehow bumbles his way into managing an office. He's self-centered, attention-hungry, easily distracted, and refuses to acknowledge any bad news, yet despite all of that he loves his workmates like a family.

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Gladwell and Risk Management


Malcolm Gladwell, in an article from 1996 discussing the Challenger disaster, tells us: This kind of disaster is what the Yale University sociologist Charles Perrow has famously called a “normal accident.” By “normal” Perrow does not mean that it is frequent; he means that it is the kind of accident one can expect in the normal functioning of a technologically complex operation. Modern systems, Perrow argues, are made up of thousands of parts, all of which interrelate in ways that are impossible to anticipate.

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I have no plans of running for elective office (though it is a running joke among some of my circles), but if I were, one of the problems I would focus on would be education. As such, I have a list of suggested additions to the High School curriculum here in the Philippines. (The first version of this list was in an FB post I wrote during the 2016 campaign period, in response to people clamoring for better Martial Law education.

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Capitalism


In fourth year HS, we had an Economics subject, and back then I was fascinated with the idea of free market capitalism – the free market, the invisible hand, the law of supply and demand, and the idea that through competition we are forced to adapt and become better and more efficient in order to survive. Capitalism mirrored the law of nature: the strong will survive. These days, I am much less enamored with the idea of capitalism.

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Posted by under post at / Tags: philosophy Opinions / Syndicated: tumblr twitter / 0 / 569 words
Reminders: You don't have to be on all the time. You don't have to optimize everything all the time You don't have to be at maximum productivity all the time You don't have to be the best at everything you do all the time You don't have to be the smartest person in the room all the time You don't have to worry about everything all the time You don't have to be strong enough for everyone all the time You don't have to solve everyone's problems all the time There had been some suggestion that people with the above traits (hypercompetitive, always wanting to optimize everything, manage their time, be productive etc) have a higher tendency for heart disease or cardiovascular problems, although that theory is in question.

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The QC Memorial Circle


I took a quick walk around the QC memorial circle the other day. There was some kind of event going on in the main plaza for the Department of Agriculture; Secretary Pinol was there giving a speech. I walked a couple of rounds around the park so I could meet my daily steps target. The sun was coming down and I'm not the best photographer but I thought it looked good on the Quezon Memorial Shrine so I took the above shot.

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For the past few weeks or so, many in the country were consumed by a sort of lotto fever. The PCSO 6/58 Ultra Lotto had gotten up to a record high jackpot prize of more than 1 billion PHP (roughly 20M USD – I know some lotteries in the US have prizes way higher than that, but hey, we're not the US.) Many people who normally don't play the Lotto were participating due to the sheer size of the pot.

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Working hours and overtime


Rockstar was in the gaming news recently because they mentioned that some of them had worked 100-hour weeks on their massive sequel to Red Dead Redemption coming out soon (no idea if I'll play this). The idea of 100 hour weeks seemed insane to me, and it got me thinking: I've done some serious overtime before, have I ever gotten close to that amount of work in a week? Luckily, I didn't have to speculate too much, because I had data (I love data).

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I've noticed that when I dream I live in a different house. In the dreams, “home” is not the home that I live in now. Instead it's the “home” I grew up in. It's my grandparents’ house, where we lived until the right after the turn of the millenium. That house is no longer there; I've mentioned it before. But when I manage to remember my dreams it seems like it's still “home” for me.

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On Dreams and Ambition


I found an old document I had written around 2012, six years ago, I'll quote it in full here: I remember when I was in high school, I made a bet with a classmate that I would be able to become president of the country before he could. Our wager was worth one cubic meter of solid gold. A few years back, I made a wager with an officemate who was about to leave my company to go independent; I bet that I would become famous before he would.

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This is a story from the early days of the internet. Circa 2001-2004ish. A time of Geocities and AIM and and ICQ and from before Gmail even launched. At that time, I was a big Final Fantasy fan (okay, I still am, more or less). My first real experience with online fan communities was a Yahoo Groups mailing list called the “Final Fantasy Forum”. It was a fun, tight-knit group that loved to discuss the FF series and other JRPGs of that era.

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Mentoring is one of those tasks that's to be expected of anyone in a senior software development role. This usually involves reviewing other people's code, helping them with tough technical issues, and even giving career advice. I'm not sure how good I am when it comes to mentoring other software developers. When I first became technical lead on projects, I got some evaluations from junior developers saying I can be “intimidating”.

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I've had a copy of this book for quite a while now, but for some reason only got around to starting on it three days ago. It's not a particularly long book, but I pretty much devoured it in twenty four hours.Mandatory screenshot of old-school Doom The book traces the paths of the lives of John Romero and John Carmack – two legends of the software development world that changed PC gaming forever.

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Posted by under post at / Tags: Books Review Pop Culture Gaming / Syndicated: tumblr twitter / 0 / 707 words
(“Late Game Review” because I'm trying to play through games on my ridiculously old backlog, so these games are pretty old) I got my digital PS3 copy of Ni No Kuni during some kind of PSN sale a while back for like $10 and seeing as how the sequel came out recently, I figured I'd better finish the first game before my rarely-used PS3 decides to die on me. Anyway, the game was great and I enjoyed it enough to go for the platinum (post-game was a bit grindy though):

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This started as one of those silly Facebook memes where you post one thing every day and didn't have to explain and you tagged other people and they continued with the meme. I was very bad at following the meme instructions, but I did find the exercise interesting. I found it difficult to identify 10 specific movies, and since I didn't explain during the FB posts, I thought I'd make a blog post about them instead.

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The perils of hyperpartisanship


A few days ago I read this great Reddit comment about how increasing hyperpartisanship makes it easier to influence the entire population. Quoting the relevant part: Once you've done that, you have a population that's easier to manipulate. You have, say, 30% that's 100% sure on both ends, and probably another 15% on both ends that are 80% sure, and a remaining 10% that could go both ways. The more you do this, the more the 15% will be set in stone.

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I realise it's a bit weird for me to be reviewing a marketing book, given my self-proclaimed aversion to marketing and sales. A while back I wrote a review for Tim Ferris’ book Tribe of Mentors on this blog, and for some reason someone decided to contact me citing this review and asked if I would review this other book and they would give me a complimentary copy. This was something new to me, so I thought I'd try it out!

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Why I'm Not An Entrepreneur


For years now, I've had numerous discussions with friends and family about the possibility of setting up my own business, no matter how small. Prospects have ranged from my own software consulting firm to a food stall in an MRT station. None of these ideas never push through. Aside from general risk-aversion and not being confident in the ideas, there's a few factors that in my mind are significant obstacles towards starting a new business for me.

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Let Go or Be Dragged


"Let go or be dragged" Zen proverb A few days back I read something on a Hacker News thread that kind of resonated with me: I'm not going to claim to be the most workaholic person ever – I've certainly known a lot of people who work far harder than me. But I do recognize that I have this problem of emotional attachment to a project, especially if I'm the main person responsible for it.

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What is education for?


I recently watched this TedX talk by Seth Godin about the purpose of school/education: One of the best points I agree with from the talk is that majority of our educational system is geared towards generating graduates who are obedient. We teach students from a young age to follow rules and answer roll calls. We teach them standard prescribed solutions. We teach them how to take exams and how to find the right answers.

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Photos

Daredevil #21 by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee… I have no idea why I had this image saved
@VGAdvisor https://t.co/g9RGsA1WBN
Aquaman #14 cover art by Joe Prado, Ivan Reis
Hawkman v5 #5 variant cover by Matteo Scalera
Detective Comics #988 by James Robinson and Stephen Segovia. Grammatical error missed by editors
I found out Batman Ninja is on Netflix so I decided to watch. I like the animations, but the story is just plain ridiculous lol
All New X-Men #14 by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen. Summers brothers high five!
Superman (New 52) #15 cover art by Kenneth Rocafort
Mister Miracle (2018) #1 by Tom King and Mitch Gerads
Black Widow by Phil Noto
Sometimes in my head, I like to give the president the benefit of the doubt, that maybe he isn't aware of killings being perpetrated in his name or that he has no idea his policies lead to such violence or maybe subordinates are doing it without his knowledge or maybe it's just rogue cops or whatever. I can't read his mind, so I understand there's a whole spectrum of possibilities as to what the truth is.
I finally found a Legendary Dragon!! I can finally put this game to rest lol #skyrim #lategamer https://t.co/ql2HrwkEfd
Thor God of Thunder #3 by Jason Aaron and Esaad Ribic
Avengers (2012) #1 by Jonathan Hickman and Jerome Opena
Avengers vs X-Men #11 by Brian Michael Bendis and Olivier Copiel
Journey into Mystery #646 by Kathryn Immonen and Valerio Schiti
Supercrooks #4 by Mark Millar and Leinel Francis Yu (Pinoy pride!)
I like it when an unsubscribe page has the audacity to try and walk me back by giving me a face-saving excuse for unsubscribing. “Maybe you accidentally clicked it?” I don't need your condescension unsubscribe page! https://t.co/hKXtNmAkg1
Posted on r/Philippines: Quezon Memorial Shrine
All New X-Men #4 by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen
Masks #1 cover art by Alex Ross
Superman (New 52) #14, cover art by Kenneth Rocafort
Batman (New 52) #1 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capulo
The Mighty Thor (2015) #1 cover art by Russell Dauterman
Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
I already consider myself frugal, but now I feel the need to be Chow Yun Fat level frugal. Source: https://www.indiewire.com/2018/10/chow-yun-fat-will-give-entire-fortune-to-charity-1202011765/amp/?__twitter_impression=true https://t.co/fwTUgTIhKH
A+X v1 #2 by Chris Bachalo
Hawkeye (2012) #7 by Matt Fraction and David Aja
Amazing Spider-Man 672, written by Dan Slott, art by Humberto Ramos
My collection of foreign coins leftover from trips. I reckon there’s at least a few thousand php worth in there; I’ll sort them out someday (Megaman for scale)
I platinumed a 5 year old game! https://t.co/QYpUZedo3W

Roy Tang is a:

roytang.net 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.