Roy Tang

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

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Archive for March 2019

Posts (32) :: Photos (17)


  • Daily news reading is a habit I inherited from my father, who tends to read the morning newspaper at the dining table during breakfast every morning and most other meals as well, even to this day. Some would say a bad habit, especially when among company. These days my morning newspaper consists mostly of Flipboard articles, then the local newspaper during lunch and dinner if I am at home. Aside from mealtime readings, I also regularly take breaks to check what is going on in social media and my RSS reader.

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    Posted by under post at #current events
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  • Watching Lately: March 2019

    The big one this month was Captain Marvel. I posted the usual spoiler-free review over on Tumblr, but I have some more spoiler-y thoughts over here: (Spoilers) While I thought the movie was ok, I was underwhelmed by the third act and specifically the lack of any serious threat for Carol to defeat towards the end of the movie. As this tumblr post explains more clearly than I ever could, perhaps the issue is that the narrative is not something targetted towards me as a man, who has not experienced the emotional gaslighting IRL that many women are exposed to.

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  • I posted a quote yesterday about how if you’re feeling like an outsider or you don’t belong, you should take the take to try and “find the others” who are more similar to yourself. For every person, there likely exists a “tribe”, not necessarily all in one place, a community where that person would fit in. And in the modern age, the internet and social media make it all the more easier for such “outsiders” to connect with each other.

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    Posted by under post at #Tech Life
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  • Find the others

    “Admit it. You aren’t like them. You’re not even close. You may occasionally dress yourself up as one of them, watch the same mindless television shows as they do, maybe even eat the same fast food sometimes. But it seems that the more you try to fit in, the more you feel like an outsider, watching the “normal people” as they go about their automatic existences. For every time you say club passwords like “Have a nice day” and “Weather’s awful today, eh?

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    Posted by under post at #quotes
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  • Export your social media data

    As a follow-up to yesterday’s post about Google Plus being discontinued, I should note that you should be regularly doing backups of all your social media content anyway. Most of them will provide easily accessible backup tools, but probably they have to be accessed via a web browser. Here are the relevant pages for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. (And be wary of sites like Quora that don’t have a direct backup option.

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    Posted by under post at #Tech Life
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  • Google Plus is dying

    They’re pulling the plug on it by end of this month. I got an email telling me to backup my content from there so I did, not that I had much. I don’t think I wrote any original posts there, the export was mostly +1s and shares and such. Maybe I’ll dig through it in detail in the future. I wish I could say they tried their best with Google+, but they really didn’t.

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    Posted by under post at #Tech Life
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  • A Quick Twitter App I Wrote

    I wish I had a more concise way to describe it, but I really don’t. Some time ago this guy I follow on Twitter, visakanv wanted to know how to do a certain search: he wanted to know who a given famous person follows on Twitter, and among those, finds the one who follow him (visakanv), so he could network through them. I might not be explaining the concept too well, here’s the thread.

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    Posted by under post at #Software Development
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  • Meritocracy

    The concept of a “meritocracy” has come to the fore again with the recent college admissions scandal in the US, where wealthy parents bribed coaches and other professionals to get their kids into high-end universities with supposedly high standards. It’s put a lie to the idea that the students of these universities represent the “cream of the crop” or “the best of the best”, showing that kids can get in not only due to their own talent, but also due to money.

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  • Google Stadia

    Earlier this week, Google officially announced their much-rumored streaming game platform, Google Stadia. Initial thoughts: If this works out, it will greatly lower the barrier for access to AAA games, since people won’t have to buy desktops or consoles anymore, and you would be able to game on laptops without worrying about overheating. Sadly like many online services, it will probably be a while before it even becomes available over here in the PH (I believe even Sony’s Playstation Now is not yet accessible here) One would presumably worry about how well it would work with the limited bandwidth available to third-world countries like ours, but I had this worry too when Netflix first became available here, and that worked out fine Speaking of Netflix, if Stadia manages to have a Netflix-like unlimited access service, that can only mean my gaming backlog is going to get a lot worse!

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    Posted by under post at #stadia #Gaming
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  • Discerning motives

    Scenario: Someone I know, let’s call him/her Person A, appears to be supporting Party B, who in my opinion represents some of the worsts traits of Philippine politics (including but not limited to corruption, patronage, personality politics, etc). Now, I like to be optimistic about people and give them the benefit of the doubt, so in a bid to understand I tried to list down some possible motivations for Person A to do so.

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    Posted by under post at #politics #Philippines
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  • Zero Time Dilemma

    Posted by under post at #vita #Gaming
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  • Another repost from my Quora answers, this time some info for anyone looking to move into programming. How much of what we learn in school helps us in real life? The stuff school teaches you - literature, mathematics, art, history, science, and so on - are intended to give you a broad enough base from which you can freely choose the direction you want to go in life. This means that as you specialize, many of these subjects may become “irrelevant” to you, but having this broad base of knowledge gives you a better foundation in life.

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    Posted by under post at #quora
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  • The Eternal Struggle

    “If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” - E.B. White I am fortunate that with my flexible working schedule I get to choose whether to derp around or to be productive every day.

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    Posted by under post at #quotes
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  • Lies and marketing

    I mentioned before that as an engineer, I’m not fond of marketing. Image credit: (Disclaimer: Liking the Dilbert comics is not an endorsement of Scott Adams’ politics) It’s not that I can’t be good at salesmanship either. I have a good grasp of communication skills and think I have a decent chance of writing good copy. My main issue is that I’ve been exposed many times to sales/marketing practices that just seem dishonest downright or scummy.

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    Posted by under post at #Software Development
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  • If I could give some advice to someone starting out in their software development career, it would be this: Don’t stay in the same place too long. The first company I worked at, I stayed with them for thirteen years, which I now feel was way too long. I have to admit, the work was hard and challenging, but I was young and had a lot of energy and was willing to work the long hours.

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    Posted by under post at #Software Development
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  • RIP Webfaction?

    A few months back, my current web host WebFaction announced they had been purchased by GoDaddy, which was worrying. Back then they hadn’t announced any details other than there would be some account migrations and single sign on, so it wasn’t a big deal yet. I initially joined WebFaction back in 2008 because they were a Python-friendly and developer-friendly host that had some reasonable budget options, allowing me some space to host this blog and any side projects I wanted to deploy.

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    Posted by under post at #webfaction #Tech Life #Meta
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  • I read this tweet from @GaryGulman, a standup comic who gives out tips for comedy writers: Today, put together a list of the most embarrassing moments in your life. Take one or two and write them out in detail. Next time you’re in front of a warm crowd, work on telling the story. The idea being of course, that such an exercise trains you to be more vulnerable in front on an audience.

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  • Routines

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  • Another repost from my Quora answers, this time some info for anyone looking to move into programming. What are the pros and cons of making your career in programming? Pros: It is a very rewarding career financially. Software development often ranks in the top 10 highest-earning careers in most countries There is a lot of scope - you could be developing web applications, mobile applications, embedded applications, client-side, server-side, data analysis, artificial intelligence, games, etc It is very difficult to be bored.

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    Posted by under post at #quora #Software Development
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  • Break of dawn

    I stepped out of the house a bit past five in the morning today. I haven’t done this in a while, taking my daily walk in the early morning. I used to do it pretty regularly, except back then I confined myself to the inner roads of our subdivision, or doing loops around the covered court in the nearby seminary. Walking the same routes every morning and doing repetitive routes got boring after a while, and combined with my erratic sleep schedule the habit soon fell off the wayside.

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    Posted by under post at #walking #Daily Life
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  • 750 Words

    I’ve mentioned 750 Words before. It’s a pretty neat service that allows you to write privately online. It’s not public like blogging is, so if you’d like to develop a daily writing habit but don’t want things to be available to the world, it’s a pretty good option. You can of course, just write on paper or on local files and just not upload anything to the cloud at all. But there’s some benefits to an online service like this one too - the most obvious one is that you can write anywhere, with any internet connected device, but they also have a few other nifty features like tracking streaks (which can be great for building habits), and 750words even allows you to attach daily metadata to your posts (such as a number indicating your mood for the day or how many hours you slept) and it can later show you a chart of how that metadata changes over time.

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    Posted by under post at #Writing
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  • Unknowns

    Our instinct tells us to fear the unknowns, especially the ones that loom large in our imagination. The bigger the unknown, the more fear and uncertainty it generates, and in some cases it can lead us to paralysis and inability to move forward. Most often, the only way to conquer these unknown obstacles is to face them head on. Study them, attack them, break them apart, until you understand what they are.

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  • Posted by under post at #quotes #regret
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  • Sometimes you just come up short. You try to work your brain but it always comes up dry. It happens, even to the best of us. There’s no shame in failure or in defeat. It’s only human. We can’t be at our best all the time, otherwise it’s not our best. What’s important is you pick yourself up and try again the next day. Tomorrow, we can do better.
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  • movie was pretty good, no major issues doesnt follow the typical MCU origin story ‘formula’ some weird pacing issues in a few places, but that just might be because of the chosen story direction lots of little call-outs and tie-ins to the other MCU movies (although I feel like they could have done a bit more in some spots) I am not a cat person. But if you are a cat person, you might like this: there is a cat.

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  • Whatever doesn't kill you

    “Whatever doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger.” Nietzche I liked this quote a lot when I was younger and more gung-ho, especially about things like work. In fact, I may have considered it as a bit of a defining quote back then. I guess the idea was ‘ok, we’ll rush in and try anything, at worst we learn a lesson and be better for next time’.

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    Posted by under post at #quotes
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  • RIP PS Vita

    The PS Vita has officially ended production. Sadness for the little handheld that could. The PSP that came before it was a juggernaut, and so was the 3DS it went into battle with. Unfortunately Sony never gave the Vita proper support, and third parties didn’t follow, so the handheld never lived up to its true potential. I haven’t had much opportunity for handheld gaming the past few years, since I don’t travel as much anymore.

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    Posted by under post at #vita #Gaming
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  • If you haven’t figured it out yet, I watch a lot of TV shows, rarely on TV itself though. I outgrew scheduled television maybe more than a decade ago. I’m reminded of this because I was going through some old disks and found burned episodes of stuff like Smallville, Heroes, The Simpsons, various anime, and so on. Those were from the days before streaming though. These days an abundance of content is available online via the streaming services, no need to store all those episodes yourself.

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    Posted by under post at #tv #movies #Pop Culture
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  • Given my recent misgivings about Quora, I thought it might be a good idea to cross-post some of my answers from there into this blog, with some edits even. So here’s the first one! (stuff in italics were added during the cross-post) How can you read and study a large software project source code? Attacking a large, existing codebase that you are unfamiliar with can be a daunting endeavor.

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    Posted by under post at #quora #Software Development
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  • Four Hundred Thousand Words

    Sometime in the last week, I broke past four hundred thousand words total on this blog, as noted on the archive page. Four hundred thousand words! That number sounds insane for some reason. Over 17 years of blogging, that’s an average of 23,500+ words a year. I could have written like 17 short stories or 8ish novelettes or 3-4 decently sized novels. This post is just me navel-gazing over that number.

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    Posted by under post at #Blogging #Writing
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  • Ranked Ladders

    As I’m writing this, I’ve been grinding Eternal’s ranked ladder, trying to beat the end-of-month ladder reset and hoping to make Master rank again. Since this morning, I’ve been moving up and down the threshold of the Diamond I, the rank just below Master, hence frustratingly there has been little progress, less than 24 hours before the ladder reset. I usually do manage to hit Master rank a bit earlier than this, but I’ve been a bit busier this month for some reason, so my daily Eternal grinding had been reduced to the token one win per day.

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    Posted by under post at #Gaming
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Posted on r/ipad: ipad pro battery level dropping even when not in use, any advice? (2016 ipad pro, the smaller one)
Best chocolate
Justice League (2019) #20 Batman has a new favorite Robin. art by Jorge Jimenez, words by Scott Snyder
Today in great deck writeups #modern #mtg
Posted on r/vita: With the Vita being officially discontinued lately, I thought I’d knock a few titles off the old backlog. First one is Zero Time Dilemma!
Interestingly, searching Google Photos for “street” matches even my sketches and a street fighter character
In celebration of James Gunn being reinstated as Guardians director
Gotg2 aged well. Lots of good lines, pretty decent villain and Kraglin/Nebula/Mantis are good additions to the crew. Looking forward to what James Gunn has in store for us with vol 3
Captain Marvel (1989) #1 featuring Monica Rambeau as Captain Marvel. Will we see her with powers in the second Captain Marvel movie?
Posted on r/transformers: Dinobots pencil sketch I did a couple of years back
Green Lantern - Green Arrow #85 DC tackles the drug problem
I have this sneaking suspicion that I might be favoring Rakdos too much #mtg #dice #rakdos
Captain Marvel (2016) #1 cover by Kris Anka
Let’s try that again #posttruth
Let’s try that again #posttruth
RIP Ps Vita which was discontinued last week (mine is still going strong!)
The Flash #62 variant cover by Jae Lee
Well screw you too words with friends!