Roy Tang

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

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Archive for August 2019

Posts (21) :: Photos (18)


Hmm, surprisingly I haven’t watched too much stuff this month. Eigasai I watched a Japanese film at Eigasai in UP Diliman for the first time ever, upon the invite of some friends. We saw One Cut of the Dead a comedy zombie film. It was great and it was hilarious, although you must make sure not to lose patience with the first thirty minutes. I went in blind not knowing anything about it other than “Japanese comedy zombie movie”, so you should too!

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Ephemeral social media

I read this post: Why I’m automatically deleting my old tweets using AWS Lambda where the justification for regularly deleting your old social media content is that they are no longer representative of the current version of you and thus can be misleading. This has certainly been the case when famous people’s older tweets resurface (James Gunn comes to mind). To each his own and I kind of understand the intent, but this kind of thinking is a bit anathema to me.

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Python: Markov Chains

Back when I was still learning Python in 2008, one of the first “fun” scripts I wrote was a text generator using Markov chains. I’d run it against all the chat logs I had with people at work and serve the results from a webserver on my computer. THe results were often amusing and sometimes hilarious. Since I’ve been going through my old scripts lately, I thought I’d update that script to Python 3 (read: add parentheses around print params and use pathlib) and run it against all the posts on this here site.

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Devnotes: Python Pathlib

Ever since I started learning Python back in 2008ish, I’ve been using it as my primary scripting language for various tasks such as processing log files, organizing my own file system, processing stuff on this blog, and so on. A lot of it is basically moving files around. In the days of Python 2, that involved a lot of imports of different libraries like os, shutil and glob. It can become a bit messy with so many imports, and I often can’t remember which import I need for a particular case and end up having to search for the documentation (or stackoverflow, let’s not kid ourselves here).

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Marketplace Ethics

I brought up among one of my friend groups this Reddit thread where the poster says they were able to buy hundreds of dollars worth of Magic cards from a garage sale for around $70. (Not gonna link to the original thread because it might seem like I’m shaming the OP.) Not that there’s anything bad with such “garage sale finds”, as it were. These things are posted every so often on subreddits especially those dedicated to some sort of collectible.

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Three Hearts

Shogun There’s a quote I like from James Clavell’s novel Shogun: “It’s a saying they have, that a man has a false heart in his mouth for the world to see, another in his breast to show to his special friends and his family, and the real one, the true one, the secret one, which is never known to anyone except to himself alone, hidden only God knows where.

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Big news in online repositories this week is that Bitbucket is sunsetting support for Mercurial! This might be the death knell for Mercurial, although Git was already the super popular choice before. Back when I started using online source control for my personal coding projects I started out with Bitbucket over Github because they offered unlimited private repos and Mercurial (which I had already tried out before at work, so at first I preferred it over git).

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I might be lending out my PS4 next month when the latest annual release of a sports franchise rolls around, so I figured I’d finish off a PS4 game before the console vanishes on me for a few months. What Remains of Edith Finch came out on PS+ a couple of months ago and people are always raving about how good it is and how it’s relatively short, so I decided to give it a go.

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The Great Memory Scare of 2019

My current desktop PC has been with me since late 2015, so going on 4 years now. I bought relatively high-end parts for it at the time, hoping to be a bit future-proof so that it would last me longer than previous desktops. So I was a bit worried when I started encountering issues during the recent weeks. Here’s the timeline: May 2019, before my overseas trip. It happened a few times that the computer would completely shut down while I was playing Starcraft 2 coop.

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Internet Commercialization

0 A while back, I read this post from 2015: Who is doing this to my internet? lamenting the changing nature of the internet due to commercialization and advertising. 1 It’s a bit funny that the OP was lamenting about the “good old days” of the internet back in 2012, when by then the big social media networks like Facebook and Twitter were already relatively well-entrenched. When I think of the “good old days” of the internet I tend to harken back pre-social media to the heyday of blogging around 2005-2008 maybe?

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I recently found myself doing a really small project as sort of a proof of concept/demo for a potential client. It often seems that it might be a waste of time to do something like this since you don’t know if the project will actually push through or maybe the client will want something else. To kind of hedge my bets a bit, I decided to take the opportunity to try out some new technologies so that no matter what I at least learned something from all of this.

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Should I still write tournament reports even though I did poorly? Spoilers, but the answer is that has never stopped me before! In today’s installment of “I thought you were quitting paper Magic?”, I attended an MCQ yesterday for MC Richmond. The format was Modern constructed. I initially wasn’t planning to play because (a) the entrance fee was kind of ridiculous; (b) modern is a bit of an unbalanced debacle right now because of Hogaak; and (c ) my one assembled Modern deck (Grixis Death Shadow) hasn’t been used since 2017, and was completely absent in the meta for the recent MC Barcelona.

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Note-taking / Todo Workflow

In perhaps what is a perfect example of how writing bring clarity, I started drafting a post listing out the problems with my current notes/todo workflow and ended up coming to a conclusion as to how to make things better for myself. The main issue is that I have a smattering of todo-lists and notes scattered over several platforms: plain text files (in different places!), evernote, google keep, google docs, standard notes, and recently I also started trying Trello.

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Writing brings clarity

I don’t remember where I read it online, but I have this in my notes: we write to discover truths about ourselves (paraphrased) The basic idea being that the mere act of writing down our thoughts can bring clarity and help us identify some truths about ourselves we never knew existed. I think it works similarly to the programmer practice of rubber ducking, where the mere act of describing something helps you gain a better understanding of it.

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Perpetually under renovation

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I’m enjoying tinkering with the site layout at the moment. I give up on expecting a “stable version” of the site anytime soon and readers can expect incremental updates unannounced going forward. This site is now perpetually under renovation. Current layout image (this image is recursive): Recent changes: Someone called me out for not using a dark theme, so now here we are with a garish gray and green and orange theme, you’re welcome.

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Out of sync with the world

“That’s not insomnia”, my friend said, “You have something like a 28-hour sleep cycle.” I laughed and uttered “I’m out of sync with this world!” I was describing why I was almost late meeting the group for lunch, telling him I had trouble going to sleep and slept at 7am, only waking up at 10am. During the past few days my sleep times have steadily been moving later and later until they pushed into the early morning.

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Forty One

Such an uninteresting number. And it hasn’t really been an exceptional 365 days around the sun either, but this has become a bit of a yearly tradition now. Things I considered doing today: spend the entire day offline (Hah! As if.) go out for a walk at the old university (unlikely to push through, given the gloomy weather recently) go to the mall and buy a new external hard drive and a new monitor and eat at Yabu (I like Yabu) and maybe watch a movie in the cinema (I don’t really feel like going to the mall on a Friday, and there aren’t any good movies to watch apparently) play through Ducktales Remastered on Steam, which I bought last night because it was about to be removed from the store, and stream it live on Twitch binge one of the shows on my TV backlog read through a book.

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I decided to start doing small “devnotes” on developer stuff I’m doing so I can refer to them later (and also because I feel like I could use more technical content on this blog) Today is about PostgreSQL. I haven’t used it much beyond standard ANSI sql stuff. You won’t always have a graphical interface to access your database, sometimes you need to ssh to prod and query the database from the shell.

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Fighting Games

This past weekend was EVO 2019, the world’s biggest celebrations of fighting games. If I had stayed in the US another month maybe I could have gone to Vegas to attend and lose badly. Instead, I thought I’d write about fighting games. I consider fighting games one of my weaknesses, in the sense that (a) I easily succumb to the temptation to spend money on them; and (b) I’m not very good at them.

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I thought about making a tag “things that would only interest me” for this one lol. I’ve uploaded some old web archives of the oldest versions of my site - back when I still had free sites hosted on the likes of Geocities, Tripod and the lesser-known TopCities. Click here for the index! I’ve had these archives for a while and only now decided to put them up on the site.

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I forget where I got this book recommendation from, but it did go on sale for Kindle a while back so I got a copy. The full title is “Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World”. Summary: I really like this book, though I think it falls short in providing concrete steps for how to get from where we are to the idealized utopia he presents. Still, in this world of ever-increasing bad news and crises, the optimism of this book is a welcome respite.

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We’re finally free! #mtg #modern
Guido. I was originally gonna draw Hulk, but I realized I could continue the X-Factor theme instead. #xmen #sketch #strongguy
Leaves. This is also a #test #pleaseignore
This cant possibly be a healthy sleep rhythm
Polaris. Back to digital again, and trying out colors. A bit happier with my proportions this time. Now 3 out of 6 of the Peter David era X-Factor #sketch #xmen #polaris
Pizza rickroll. This is a test.
Rainy intersection
Do you remember when you joined Twitter? I do! #MyTwitterAnniversary :waves flag:
an unusual display I saw in a sony store a couple of weeks ago
dear @WordsWFriends please give me the option to disable all of these little events and gimmicks your app has. I dont care for them and they only slow down the app, i just want to play
Chicken kebab
Pietro, whose head looks a bit too small. Cribbed the pose off a Jim Lee Flash sketch. Well, learn from the best amirite? Pencils only this time. #sketch #xmen #quicksilver
This is what I decided to do today
Well, that’s annoying
Well… this is new
ended up having to rollback the windows 10 1903 upgrade from a couple of days ago, was causing too many issues
Found this weird ad on flipboard
Apparently Windows 10 did not update to the May 2019 version automatically!

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.