Roy Tang

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

Blog Notes Photos Links Archives About

2017 December

  • My Coding Approach

    I was thinking about my typical approach to coding. When writing a new feature, I tend to implement in the direction of where the data flows, starting from the user interface then to the backend and back to the frontend and wherever else that goes. I will build incrementally, using debugging tools or console printouts to ensure that each step is working correctly. As an example, here's how I did a recent web-based function: The user needs to see a new button on the screen, so I add the HTML for that button and just have the click handler be

    read more (916 words)

    Posted by under blog at #software-development

    Also on: tumblr twitter / 916 words

  • Singapore 2017

    I took a 5-day trip to Singapore last weekend, mostly to play in the Grand Prix, but the opportunity to get away from the country for a while was appreciated. These are some notes and anecdotes from the trip. (Not about the GP itself, that's a separate post on its own.) By my count this would be my 5th visit to Singapore. That means Singapore now ties Hong Kong for my most visited foreign destination. My last HK visit was back in 2009, there was no overlap. Normally when flying out I prefer to check luggage so that I'm not

    read more (1864 words)

    Posted by under blog at #travels

    Also on: tumblr twitter / 1864 words

2017 August

  • The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson My rating: 4 of 5 stars It was ok. Some tropes turned around. Kind of frustrating how a lot of stuff just dragged out until the end. The identify of the Hero of Ages pretty much given away early on by the flavor text at the start of each chapter. I finished it in two sittings so that's something View all my reviews
    Posted by under blog at #books #mistborn

    Also on: goodreads / 70 words

  • The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson My rating: 4 of 5 stars I finished Well of Ascension only two days after finishing The Final Empire. I think I enjoyed it a bit less than the first book - mainly because there's a lot of self-doubt here among the protagonists, a lot of paragraphs of "why am i doing this? I'm not good enough, etc". The plot also takes longer to solidify. Unlike the first book where they had a very solid objective until the end (the downfall of the Final Empire), the protagonists spend most of this book running

    read more (193 words)

    Posted by under blog at #books #mistborn

    Also on: goodreads / 193 words

  • The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson My rating: 5 of 5 stars Great book. The story's pace was a bit slow at first as Sanderson was doing his excellent worldbuilding and introducing us to the magic system in his world (he's good at that sort of thing!), but it picks up about a third of the way through. A lot of the plot twists and character developments are handled very well. The pace proceeds fairly quickly towards the end - I burned through the last third of the book in one night because things were escalating quickly. Looking forward to

    read more (110 words)

    Posted by under blog at #books #mistborn

    Also on: goodreads / 110 words

  • Compartmentalization

    I had been looking into a software performance problem for a few hours now and had decided to call it quits for the day. I turned off the lights and climbed into bed, hoping to get to sleep early for a change. I hadn't been in bed five minutes when I thought about something I hadn't tried yet. I picked up the tablet that was beside my bed and did a few google searches and soon I was back on my desktop trying out some parameters I hadn't tried yet. Ideally one practices some sort of compartmentalization. There should be

    read more (507 words)

    Posted by under blog at #self-improvement

    Also on: tumblr twitter / 507 words

  • Thirty Nine

    I haven't had much time to write recently. Been busy. (I'll write about that some other time.) But I've kind of been posting regularly on this date for a while, so here we are. Ah, time. And the inexorable passage thereof. There's some kind of big milestone for me in around three hundred and sixty-five more solar cycles. Well, I don't personally consider it big, since that's kind of arbitrary. But as people are wont to say, life begins... maybe I'll save that for next year. This year, kind of at a crossroads. Considering where to go and the way

    read more (160 words)

    Posted by under blog at #birthday

    Also on: tumblr twitter facebook / 💬 32 160 words

2017 July

  • Hardware Review: Steam Link

  • Pisay (the movie)

    Posted by under blog at #movies #pop-culture

    Also on: tumblr twitter / 💬 8 378 words

2017 June

  • Software Development and Government

    Random thoughts while walking at night: The structure of government can be a bit analogous to the structure of a software development project. The Constitution is like the requirements for a project. It's kind of high-level and (I believe) shouldn't be too detailed. Supposedly the requirements are written by the client. For a country like the Philippines the client is "we the sovereign Filipino people". Slight tangent: I used to know this guy who was one of those rabid "we need to amend the constitution" types and he asked me to review a "mathematical model to track the budget as

    read more (426 words)

  • Adulting

    Some time ago a friend from high school invited me to her daughter's debut. And I had to proxy for her daughter's ninong and maybe give a few words on what it means to become an adult. My first two reactions were (1) wow I'm so old one of my batchmates has an eighteen-year-old daughter; and (2) what the heck would I know about becoming an adult? (I guess (3) was "oh, it's a debut, so it's formal and I have to dress up? I hate dressing up.") I mean, don't get me wrong. I certainly consider myself an adult.

    read more (484 words)

    Posted by under blog at

    Also on: tumblr twitter / 💬 8 484 words

  • A while back I wrote about my experience coding and maintaining an in-house web framework at a previous job. It was a full-stack web framework. We had libraries for front-end Javascript up to server-side database connections. And the entire stack was tightly coupled. But while the framework was serviceable, it was almost always behind modern trends in web development. I always felt like we were playing catch-up. And as a developer I wanted to widen my horizons and try out more things. So more than once I had discussions with higher management about using open source web frameworks in some

    read more (767 words)

  • A Bus Ride in Metro Manila

    "Grabe naman kasi ang ginagawa nyo sa pasahero" (This is too much for the passengers), she said. She was a short, old lady trying to get to the front of the bus so that she could disembark. But like most city buses in Metro Manila during rush hour, the bus was filled to the brim with people, many of them standing tightly packed in the aisle, holding on to handrails on the bus ceiling or the nearby seats. Her young son, a short boy of maybe 14 years, weaved through the standing bodies packed in the bus's aisle to retrieve

    read more (1267 words)

    Posted by under blog at #philippines

    Also on: tumblr twitter / 1267 words

  • Grand Prix Manila 2017

  • Tokyo, Redux

    So last April my friends and I took a second trip to Japan. This time we mostly stayed around Tokyo, while taking a few days off in-between to visit Fuji, Hakone and Nikko. I like Tokyo, so I'll talk about Tokyo for now. I've only been here twice, but I could imagine myself living here for an extended period of time. It solves my top three problems with Metro Manila: overly hot weather, poor transportation options, and poor internet. Both visits I found the temperatures to be within the generally agreeable range of around 5-25 degrees celsius. The low end

    read more (869 words)

    Posted by under blog at #travels

    Also on: tumblr twitter / 💬 4 869 words

  • Posted by under blog at #review #gaming

    Also on: tumblr twitter / 623 words

  • Blogging and Social Media

    I haven't been blogging too much recently. I got busy for a while and had to skip a few weeks, and then general laziness prevented me from resuming a regular posting schedule. (Hopefully that ends now.) Most of the time my ranting was on social media, which got me thinking: Is writing on your own blog still useful in this day and age of social media? I've been blogging for a long time -- my archives say 2002 -- waaay before Facebook or even Twitter came around. If for some reason you felt like digging through my older posts you'd

    read more (1190 words)

2017 May

  • Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

    First, the spoiler-free summary (spoilers after this part): overall a very entertaining movie to sit down and watch popcorn and to enjoy the jokes and the space battles and the different colored lights and the tiny adorable tree creature GOTG's humor was one of its strong points and for the 2nd movie, they push the comedy up a notch, perhaps a little too much in some places. Lots of funny gags and one-liners I felt like some of the character/background development stuff was pushed a bit too hard as well the movie's plot also felt a bit thin and straightforward.

    read more (439 words)

2017 April

  • MarkLogic NoSQL

    I recently attended a few training sessions for MarkLogic held at an office in a nearby business center. Now, I'll forgive you for not knowing what MarkLogic is, as even I hadn't heard of it before six months ago. MarkLogic is (apparently) the leading Enterprise NoSQL provider. NoSQL is big and sexy right now because of the supposed advantages in handling big data, and large web companies like Google and Facebook use a lot of NoSQL in the backend. Most of the popular/well-known NoSQL solutions are open-source/free ones: MongoDB, Cassandra, CouchDB, and so on. But these aren't actually very popular

    read more (937 words)