Roy Tang

roytang.net

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

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2017 February

  • Boxes

    We put people into boxes because it is convenient. It's easier for our mental model of the world to say to yourself things like "This guy works with computers, maybe he can tell me how to fix my printer." or "This person is from [school] and they are very arrogant." or "You're from [country]? You guys do [that country's thing] right?" or "This person is a supporter of [politician] so he must support all the things that politician does, even the things I hate." Or in the modern world, there are even worse stereotypes. Boxes and stereotypes are convenient because

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    Posted by under blog at #opinions

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  • Weekend Project: Twitter Trivia Bot

    I had been meaning to try writing a Twitter bot for a while now. I figured a trivia bot would be pretty easy to implement, so I spent some time a couple of weekends to rig one together. It's (mostly) working now, the bot is active as triviastorm on Twitter, with a supporting webapp deployed on http://trivia.roytang.net/. The bot tweets out a trivia question once every hour. It will then award points to the first five people who gave the correct answer. The bot will only recognize answers given as a direct reply to the tweet with the question, and

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  • Write Smarter, Not Harder

    There's this well-known idea that it takes ten thousand hours of practice to become an expert in something. But of course, it has to be ten thousand meaningful hours of practice. Meaningful here means that you are actually learning something from your practice. If you are repeating the same hour ten thousand times, that's not worth very much. Instead, we should be actively learning while we practice. This means identifying our weak points and learning how we can improve. It requires that we have a feedback loop that tells us whether we are doing well or not. It also means

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    Posted by under blog at #writing

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  • What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures by Malcolm Gladwell My rating: 4 of 5 stars I don't even know when I started reading this, I've had a bookmark in it for maybe three or four years now. It's a collection of Gladwell's articles from the New Yorker, so that's to be expected - not exactly designed to be consumed all in one sitting. The book is Gladwell's usual mix of anecdotes spun into pop psychology and meant to make you ask questions or suggest some insight about this or that. It's entertaining enough to read, even though it doesn't

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    Posted by under blog at #books

    Also on: goodreads / 113 words

  • Review: Duelyst

    Posted by under blog at #review #ccgs #gaming

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  • Integrating Open Source Libraries

    There are a few things that one should consider when using and integrating an open source library into your application: What are the licensing terms for the library? There are some liberal licenses that mostly let you do anything you want. The MIT license is an example of a very permissive license. Other licenses may provide a number of restrictions. Can you integrate with closed-source software? Can you distribute binaries without the source? Do you need to put some kind of attribution somewhere in your software? Another thing to look our for are the so-called viral licenses. Viral licenses specify

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    Posted by under blog at #software-development

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  • War

    As of today, our country (The #Blessed Republic of the Philippines) is already at war with: Drugs Illegal gambling Communist rebels Some other things we might consider declaring war on (in no particular order): Poverty Ignorance Misinformation (sorry, "Alternative facts") Abusive government officials Traffic Rights abuses Pollution High power rates Political dynasties Poor quality of local cinema offerings Politicians putting their names everywhere Internet trolls and bullies Lack of critical thinking Redundancy Overtime without overtime pay Government officials blatantly lying or pulling statistics out of thin air Slow and expensive internet The MRT breaking down Cruelty to animals Poor quality

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    Posted by under blog at #opinions #philippines

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  • Working with Client-Server Programs

    Back when I was starting out as a software developer, webapps weren't really a thing. Not as much as they are now anyway. My company provided training to new hires, but I didn't get any web development training at the time, even though they already had a few web development projects in play at the time. Instead my initial training involved mostly development of so-called client-server software. This was software that was installed and run on the client machine but they would connect to a remote database server. Up until the early 2000s most enterprisey-type systems used these kinds of

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  • Gaming Walkthroughs

    Old gamer rants follow. Gaming has changed a lot over the years. For one thing, there's the internet now. If you got stuck in a game, you just head on over to GameFAQs or some other site and someone on the message boards will tell you how to get unstuck. Or you can even watch Youtube videos on how to do it! (Side note: I dislike having to watch Youtube videos to figure stuff out. I read really quickly so I prefer some descriptive text.) (Side note #2: I have amazingly written about the youtube thing back in 2006) Back

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    Posted by under blog at #gaming

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  • Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman My rating: 5 of 5 stars Some of these are creepy af, but this is my second Gaiman short story collection so I mostly knew what to expect. The man is a master at putting together words though. I could only aspire to be so good. View all my reviews
    Posted by under blog at #books

    Also on: goodreads / 59 words

  • So after so many months of development you deployed your webapp to production and it's up and running and everything is fine and you celebrate and your work is done right? Not really. Two days later you get an urgent support call in the middle of the night. (Your clients are halfway across the world.) They're asking why the website is inaccessible. You check via your browser and sure enough there's an error 500. You have to ssh into the server. Half-asleep, you have to quickly comb through the log files to figure out if there's something you can do

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    Posted by under blog at #software-development

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