Roy Tang

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

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Archive for November 2019

Posts (30) :: Photos (18)


  • NaBloPoMo Epilogue

    So NaBloPoMo complete, no big deal. It wasn’t much of a challenge since blogging every day for a month is something that I’ve done multiple times over the past couple of years. It comes out to around 15,900 words written in November, not counting this post. Definitely not as big a thing as completing nanowrimo for instance. Writing on a regular basis is great, and generally a reasonable use of your time.

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    Posted by under post at #writing #blogging
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  • Recent Links for 11/29

    I’m trying out this “recent links” series where I highlight some stuff I’ve bookmarked. I used to just share them via Pocket, which get fed into the links list on this blog, but the problem with that approach was that I don’t get to comment on each link about why I shared or bookmarked it. Writing them into a blog post gives me a chance to highlight them too. I’ve seen some other blogs where they have something like a weekly list of recent links, let’s see if that works out for me.

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    Posted by under post at #Links #recent links
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 642 words
  • Criticism

    Criticizing the logistics or implementation of an event doesn’t necessarily mean you want it to fail or you want to the organizers to be embarassed. On the contrary, pointing out flaws allows for improvements. Criticizing the organizers of a sporting event doesn’t mean you don’t support the athletes participating in the event. Criticizing your country’s leaders and politicians and government doesn’t mean you are unpatriotic. No given politician is the same as the entire government, much less the country.

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  • Review: The Outer Worlds

    Posted by under post at #gaming gaming
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 891 words
  • The Costs of Corruption

    A quick follow-up to something I mentioned in yesterday’s post: It is a cultural problem too. Even we the citizens have little respect for rules and laws and try to skip around them when we can. This is why we have fixers, and connections, and patronage. We trade on favors to get us out of trouble. I’m not sure if needed to be said, but I wasn’t saying that literally every single person participates in fixing and patronage to get around the rules.

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    Posted by under post at #philippines #current events
    Also on: twitter / 1 0 / 582 words
  • Laws Not Men

    In yet another example of what is wrong with this country, the PNP are planning to arrest vape users after Duterte’s directive, despite there actually being yet no law or executive order banning vaping. Thus, the arrests are meaningless and merely another form of harassment. PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac explained that while violators would be apprehended, they would be released immediately after the incident is recorded in the police blotter.

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    Posted by under post at #philippines #current events
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 524 words
  • One Year with Hugo: Highs and Lows

    It was a bit more than a year ago that I decided to haphazardly and suddenly migrate from Wordpress to Hugo. It’s a good time to look back and reflect on that decision and consider where we are now, and how to move forward. Good: I am extremely happy with the site’s browser performance. It currently scores an insanely high 96 on Google’s Pagespeed tool, and I’m pretty sure I I know how to close the remaining 4% gap.

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    Posted by under post at #tech life #blogging #hugo
    Also on: twitter / 2 / 621 words
  • New Video Card!

    Posted by under post at #tech life
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 879 words
  • Grab Overpricing

    So the Philippine Competition Commission recently fined rideshare provider Grab P23M for overcharging their customers. Apparently only P5M of that is meant to go back to the affected riders, which seems like a piddly amount considering the number of riders in the Philippines. We’ll see how of that I actually get credited back, if any. Grab pricing has been steadily increasing since Uber exited the market early last year. The other day Grab wanted to charge me a bit over P400 for a 13km ride to a commercial area, which seemed insane.

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  • Five AM

    The world looks a bit different at 5 AM. In a bid to get back into the daily walking groove, I’m trying to shift back my daily walks to early in the morning, before breakfast. Recently I’ve been doing it in the afternoons or early evenings, but walking in the mornings has the distinct advantage that if for some reason I am unable to do it (maybe because I was super tired from the previous day, or the weather doesn’t cooperate, or just plain laziness), I have the rest of the day to catch up on it.

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  • The past few years have not been good for competitive balance in MTG. Following yesterday’s deservedly heavy-handed B&R announcement, standard is now at 14 cards banned since 2017. Before 2017, the standard bannings have been relatively sparse. Working backwards: 2011 - cawblade standard, 2 cards banned 2005 - affinity standard, 8 cards banned 2004 - skullclamp banned 1998-1999 - the infamous combo winter, 9 cards banned So this period from 2017-2019 has seen the most bannings since the affinity era, and may even be comparable to the unquestionably disaster that was Urza block in `98-99.

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    Posted by under post at #mtg
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  • A Cradle for Imperfect Thoughts

    A lot of people seem to think that blogging as an activity is about writing a well-thought out first draft, revising and researching and revising again until the post is perfected, then finally hitting publish (then possibly realize you had some editing errors and upadating and republishing). I tend to think this sort of perfectionism holds one back, I prefer to publish even when thoughts are yet half-formed and maybe even incomplete, laying the groundwork for revisiting the topic in a later post.

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    Posted by under post at #blogging
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 163 words
  • On Feed Readers

    I don’t use Inoreader anymore, but a recent blog post of theirs recently appeared in my feeds that mentioned they implemented “sort by magic”. This was a feature that Google reader had 10 YEARS AGO! There hasn’t been much innovation in the feed reader space in the last decade it seems, which is totally understandable given they are mostly tools used by internet “power users”, and mostly by older netheads, so the target market isn’t very large.

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    Posted by under post at #tech life
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  • An Offline Walk

    The other day, a family member mistakenly took my phone with them to the office so I was without a phone all day. This meant my daily walk had to be offline, which was a weird thing I hadn’t experienced in a while. I couldn’t help but note my hand’s instinctively reaching for the mobile phone that wasn’t there. Mobile phones are so ubiquitous in our daily lives, but sometimes it feels like a crutch how we can be totally dependent on them.

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    Posted by under post at #tech life
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  • Hong Kong: The Revolution of Our Time

    Posted by under post at #current events #hong kong
    Also on: twitter / 1 0 / 417 words
  • Tales from a P2P Bus

    It’s a lot more uncommon for me to go to places like Ortigas or Makati nowadays, but when I do I almost always take the P2P bus. The P2P (Point-to-Point) buses were introduced in Metro Manila I think around late 2015/early 2016, as a pricier alternative to the usual city buses. The fares are more expensive, but the buses are also much more comfortable and they don’t make stops along their route, only at the endpoints, so their travel time is faster compared to the usual city buses.

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    Posted by under post at #philippines
    Also on: twitter / 3 0 / 718 words
  • Is SQL a dying art?

    I was helping my brother check some database issues the other week, and he mentioned how impressed he was with how quickly I was able to come up with SQL queries on the fly. I told him that SQL was one of the skills I considered myself to have mastery over. This shouldn’t be surprising given my early career path: for most of my first year working as a software developer, I was working on reports which involved lovingly handcrafted (and oftentimes quite complicated) SQL queries.

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    Posted by under post at #software development #sql
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 365 words
  • What to do in a production crisis

    Despite our best efforts as software developers, it can still happen: production goes down. Or some sort of bug introduces catastrophic data error. Hopefully you have a support/DevOps team to handle the response. If not, the dev team themselves have to step in. This usual means a mad rush to figure out what happened and how to fix it, sometimes during off hours and maybe even into the early morning, all while facing pressure from clients and higher-ups.

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    Posted by under post at #software development
    Also on: twitter / 1 1 / 441 words
  • Anime Opening/Ending Themes

    Had a friendly discussion last night about our favorite anime theme music, figured I’d share some of my favorites. J-Pop in general and anime theme music in particular have a kind of energy that you just don’t get from Western music. I think that generally I tend to favor those that openings for series that I had a chance to watch on TV (instead of via streaming/online channels), since back in those days I had to sit through the openings!

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    Posted by under post at #anime #music
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 169 words
  • Indieweb Updates and Thoughts

    I mentioned before that I was looking into indieweb stuff. There’s a whole wiki of information about it if you’re into that sort of thing, but also here’s a recent post which kind of serves as an overview. I have some comments on the content of this post, more on that later. Indieweb things I’ve already implemented on this site: have a personal domain (since 2006) microformats (h-card and h-feeds and h-entrys), though I would have to be using some sort of microformats reader to make sure everything there is hunky-dory (no concrete plans for this yet) webmention support, via webmention.

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    Posted by under post at #tech life #meta #changelog
    Also on: twitter / 7 9 / 668 words
  • Aha! I finally managed to finish a book again! I’ve heard of Cal Newport since years ago tangentially due to his Study Hacks blog, which was pretty good at the time. I haven’t followed his career too closely, but he’s an academic at Georgetown apparently. I wasn’t looking for any career advice in particular, but I did have a recommendation for this book from somewhere so I thought I’d give it a go.

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    Posted by under post at #books #review
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 638 words
  • Unfocused

    I am envious sometimes of people who are able to narrow down their interests to a specific scope, it’s kind of like a lot of their decisions are made easier. Consider a person whose only hobby/interest is something like sports (not necessarily all sports, or just one sport, just sports in general). looking for something to do in your spare time? Sports! want to watch something on TV? Sports! picking up a newspaper, but don’t have much time to read?

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  • DevNotes: Python's yield

    I’ve been using Python for well over 10 years, and I still don’t have an intuitive mastery of one of its keywords: yield. Everytime I see it in someone’s code I need to stop and mentally remind myself what it does. I figured I’d write a devnote to help improve my recall. Typically, yield is used in a function with a loop, like so: def some_func(lim): for i in range(0, lim): yield i yield means the function returns a “generator” that can be used as an iterable in a loop:

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  • The Perils of Handover Documentation

    A while back I found myself having to figure out how to compile/build/run a mobile application. The developers previously assigned to the project were no longer available to consult with, but they did leave behind some documentation. However, their documentation quality left a lot to be desired. The instructions they left basically amounted to: npm install ionic serve ionic codrova run android/ios Okay, first sign of trouble is that their instructions were basically commands that anyone who knew the app used Ionic would be able to Google.

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    Posted by under post at #software development
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 725 words
  • The World Can Be Suffocating

    The world can be suffocating. You won’t always have enough energy. You’ll have too much to do. You’ll fall behind on your commitments. Bad things will happen at work. Your problems will pile up. Roadblocks will stand in your way. You’ll never have enough time. Other people will come to you for help. You will bear the weight of their problems as well, even a little. Then there’s the problems plaguing the world around you.

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  • Four Days in Bicol

    Posted by under post at #travels #philippines
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 2360 words
  • NaBloPoMo: Just Write

    Apparently, NaBloPoMo (or National Blog Posting Month) is a thing. It doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as the original Nanowrimo (which was already a tough sell), but I think it’s a worthy endeavor nonetheless. Some friends were inviting me to do Nanowrimo again this year, but due to general life and busyness and other things, I wasn’t able to prep. I could just wing it (maybe I still will!), but that likely leads to disaster!

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    Posted by under post at #writing #blogging
    Also on: twitter / 1 / 495 words
  • Inktober 2019: Director's Cut

    For the uninitiated, Inktober is a drawing challenge where you have to make one drawing in ink (no digital! but you do you I guess) for each day in October, with each drawing based on a certain prompt. This year’s prompts list is: I’ve tried participating in this a few times since 2016, I think I only completed the full 31 days once before this year though. You can view my current and future entries through the inktober tag.

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    Posted by under post at #inktober #inktober2019
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 581 words
  • Actually watched something in the cinema this month: Joker. I wasn’t originally sure if I wanted to see it, I wasn’t hyped for it at all in the months prior. But as the showing date came nearer, there was a lot of buzz around it so I decided to go anyway. I don’t feel like it lived up to the hype and the warnings about promoting incel stuff, but at least it’s one of the higher-grossing DC movies, so maybe we’ll have more to come in that vein.

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