Roy Tang

roytang.net

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

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2021 February

  • Weeknotes 2021-02-28

    Today is the last day of February. Tomorrow, we march on. The world: Biden ordered his first military strike last week. America is back, etc. This past week, embrassingly our local police and anti-drug agency got into a shootout against each other near the Ever Gotesco mall in Quezon City. Both sides claim they were doing a buy-bust, which is impossible. As usual, there is little transparency about what actually happened, and many promises of "impartial" probes and investigations. People speculate that at least one of the parties involved really was dealing drugs, and they got into a shootout because

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  • Game Review: Knightin'

    Posted by under blog at #gaming #games

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  • I read Ghost of My Father by Scott Berkun this past week. This book isn't my usual fare. It's a memoir about the author's father and their relationship and family life. I'm familiar with the author's work, but mostly in the realms of tech, design and public speaking, but this book was largely personal, and mostly talking about strangers I had no real interest in. I think the only reason I have a copy at all is because I was on the author's mailing list and got a review copy of some sort. I started reading it because I was

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  • Digital Boardgames Review: Scythe

    Posted by under blog at #gaming #games

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  • Weeknotes 2021-02-21

    Last week of February is about to start. Time flies, as they say. The world: Texas (and other parts of the southern US I guess) have been hit by heavy winter storms, with accompanying power grid failures and such. We have some relatives there so it's a concern. Meanwhile, their governor falsely blames renewables for the power problems and their senator went to Cancun. Facebook cut off Australian news links. I think both sides of these are dumb, but that is the big tech controversy of the week. NASA has landed the Perseverance rover on Mars! Unsurprisingly, we still do

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  • Book Review: Walkaway by Cory Doctorow

    Walkaway is a novel by blogger Cory Doctorow. It tells the story of a near-future world and a trend of people going "walkaway". This term means walking away from what they call "default society", characterized by late stage capitalism, massive inequality, ever-present surveillance, and a world controlled by what they call the zottarich, or simply zottas. Not too far from our own present reality of course. Later, the novel also delves into the near-future (?) concept of humans being to upload their consciousness into machines, effectively allowing them to cheat death by running as a "brain in a jar" on

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  • Posted by under blog at #gaming #games

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  • Weeknotes 2021-02-14

    The world: Trump has been acquitted in his second impeachment trial, proving yet again to the world that the US is a flawed democracy dominated by corruption at the highest levels Duterte says he cannot be brave in the mouth against China. Back before the 2016 elections, somebody I used to know claimed that we needed a "rottweiler" like Duterte as president because he would be tough against China. I remember this sometimes and laugh and then am also sad. Links of interest: A couple of Zelda-themed videos I enjoyed for some reason: Life as a Bokoblin - A Zelda

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  • Don't Be Ashamed of Joy

    Lauren R. O'Connor talks about a childhood lesson about pleasure: When I was eight years old, I saw the movie Back to the Future for the first time, and I fell in love. All I wanted to think and talk about was Back to the Future. I dreamt about Back to the Future at night. I rode my bike down the steepest hill in my neighborhood and pretended I was flying, approaching 88 mph, about to zap myself back in time. I was ecstatic. And then my mother told me to stop talking about Back to the Future. โ€œOther people

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  • Decentralization

    Will Schreiber argues that decentralization is a narrative mirage: Human history is a story of increasing centralization. From roaming the plains of Africa, to settling down and building homes, to buying food in central markets, to instituting courts of law. Progression is compression. How can I make it so everybody isnโ€™t making their own shirts? Deciding their own justice? Tabulating their own spreadsheets? I've argued a few times on here in favor of decentralization (see 1, 2, 3), and the whole concept of movements like Indieweb is a preference for a decentralized internet where everyone has his or her own

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  • Irregular Calendars

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  • Newsletters, Redux

    A while back I wrote about how I wasn't a big fan of the recent trend of newsletters. Since then, I've realized Substack actually publishes RSS feeds for their newsletters, so I've been following a a bit more of them. I thought I'd recommend a few that I've found to be quite interesting/useful: Money Stuff by Matt Levine. The only non-substack entry on today's list, this Bloomberg column covers financial matters like stock market and investment stuff. (It was certainly useful when following the whole Reddit/Gamestop stock market saga!) Levine likes to go in-depth and long-form, so his columns are

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  • Sincere Blogging

    On Feb. 3, 2021, 11:11 p.m. I wrote: Please write more. Not just on social media, FB, Twitter, whatever. Write on your own sites and blogs. On your tumblrs, wordpresses, whatever. Long-form, rambling, incessant. The world could use more sincere blogging. The above was written mostly as a response to finding so many of my friends' old and inactive blogs in my RSS reader. I like the term I coined there, "sincere blogging". I'd define it as any blogging that isn't for any kind of commercial purpose like for selling something or to generate ad revenue. Sincere blogging can be

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    Posted by under blog at #tech-life #blogging

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  • Book Review: The Year Without Pants

    "The Year Without Pants" is a book by writer Scott Berkun about his time as a team lead at Wordpress.com back in 2010-2012. This book came out in 2013, and the conceit of the book back then was that Wordpress.com, run by Automattic, was a fully remote company, something that was still a rarity at that time. It's weird reading this book in the context of the current pandemic, where remote work is now the norm among tech companies. So one of the things I like about the book is it's kind of a time capsule back to an era

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  • Link Rot

    1 For a while now, I'd been meaning to go through the links section of this site and clean up/organize all the bookmarks I've logged there over the years (first via delicious and later via pocket). One of the first things I had to do was to go through and identify any broken links. So I wrote a quick Python script to ping the URLs and it turns out there were a lot of them, unsurprising given the archives go back to 2004. I'm not happy with it, but I know link rot is a natural part of the internet,

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  • Weeknotes 2021-02-07

    It's February! We are nearing the one year anniversary of being in the longest covid19 lockdown in the world! The world: Myanmar's military staged a coup, and have apparently cut off the country from the internet, maybe? Last night during an international voice chat, the two of us who were in the Philippines were suddenly dropped/disconnected and one of my first thoughts were "Wait, is there a coup happening in our country RIGHT NOW?" Luckily no, it was just the typical bad internet we have here. In local news: Red-tagging, immature public officials, people objecting to laws due to poorly-thought

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2021 January

  • Weeknotes 2021-01-31 Stonks!

    It's February tomorrow! Somehow, the world still turns. The world: Somehow the most viral world news this week doesn't seem to have been about any kind of politics, but rather about capitalism. The Gamestop/stock market brouhaha was a sage of retail investors on reddit going head-to-head with hedge funds over the stock price of a dying gaming company (among others) that dominated most of my feeds for the week. It's actually a lot more compliced than that. If you want a more in-depth look, I recommend Matt Levine's Money Stuff column over on Bloomberg, he covered the whole thing for

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  • Weeknotes 2021-01-24

    Wow, January is almost done. Wouldn't you know it. The world: Biden inaugurated as US president, world celebrates US getting rid of Trump. Biden isn't exactly unproblematic, but he is at least sane and boring. There will be time enough to criticize him later, for now let them be enjoy victory. My expectations of him are at least moderately higher than the ones I had for Trump the internet gets inundated with an inordinate amount of Bernie Sanders memes locally: the govt continues to bombard us with controversies, this time stirring up a red-tagging hornests nest by abrogating the DND-UP

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  • Discussions on tech censorship came to the forefront in recent weeks due to the aftermath of the Jan 6 capitol insurrection in the US. I've been writing down a bunch of thoughts about the complicated issue, let's see if I can hammer them into a blog post. (I also wanted to defer posting about it until after the Biden inauguration, in case more things of interest happen.) Here's where I am now: Trump Ok, so first Trump (or anyone) getting kicked off Twitter (or any service) for TOS violations (inciting violence etc). it's kind of a free speech issue, except

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