Roy Tang

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

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2018 October

  • Change and Risk and Governments

    Systemic change is difficult. I'm talking about software projects/systems, but there are a lot of parallels with societal systems too, like governments or states. I've been in large projects with hundreds of thousands of LOC where a lot of the code was painful to read and full of code smells and so on. It happens over time as projects get maintained by different developers and teams or different enhancements or changes are made. It becomes more difficult/costly for new developers to work on the project as things are brittle and may easily fall apart. I've also had the dubious pleasure

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  • Anxiety

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  • Watching Lately: October 2018

    Some things I've been watching lately, aside from the usual TV shows I follow: Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan (on Amazon Prime) -- surprisingly good, even if I'm not too familiar with the Jack Ryan stuff. I only know John Krasinski from The Office, Spoilers for Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan: (Spoilers) The story starts with Ryan tracking down Suleiman's network via financials, but they never follow-up on who was financing his group I'm not sure what was the point of the whole drone pilot side story (including the weird trip to the casino and the night with the couple), although it

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  • Django Blog Application

    Ten years ago this month, I started studying Django by trying to build my own blog application. I found the code lying around while I was going through some backups lately. It's way out of date, it uses an early version of django. I thought of bringing it up to speed, but that didn't seem practical. Instead, for archival purposes, I cleaned it up a bit and uploaded the code to a github repo. (Helpful github immediately warned me that having a very old version of Django was a security risk lol). There's a lot more information in the

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  • Superhero shows being political

    Comic books and superheroes have always tended to skew towards liberal philosophies, given how writers and artists tend to support ideals like individualism and free expression. So it's not surprising that the derivative shows tend to lean the same way. Not only do many of the shows promote diversity, but many are becoming overtly political as well. Some recent examples. (Spoilers for current seasons of Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow and Daredevil follow) The current season 4 of Supergirl seems to be focusing on anti-alien sentiment, a thinly-veiled allegory towards the anti-immigration movement propagated in far right "nationalist" circles. Similar to

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  • Michael Scott

    Posted by under blog at #tv #pop-culture

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  • Gladwell and Risk Management

    Malcolm Gladwell, in an article from 1996 discussing the Challenger disaster, tells us: This kind of disaster is what the Yale University sociologist Charles Perrow has famously called a "normal accident." By "normal" Perrow does not mean that it is frequent; he means that it is the kind of accident one can expect in the normal functioning of a technologically complex operation. Modern systems, Perrow argues, are made up of thousands of parts, all of which interrelate in ways that are impossible to anticipate. Given that complexity, he says, it is almost inevitable that some combinations of minor failures will

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  • Suggested additions to HS curriculum

    I have no plans of running for elective office (though it is a running joke among some of my circles), but if I were, one of the problems I would focus on would be education. As such, I have a list of suggested additions to the High School curriculum here in the Philippines. (The first version of this list was in an FB post I wrote during the 2016 campaign period, in response to people clamoring for better Martial Law education. I have since made additions and added some notes. ) planninbasic logic and reasoning different types of fallacies how

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    Posted by under blog at #opinions #philippines

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  • Capitalism

    In fourth year HS, we had an Economics subject, and back then I was fascinated with the idea of free market capitalism -- the free market, the invisible hand, the law of supply and demand, and the idea that through competition we are forced to adapt and become better and more efficient in order to survive. Capitalism mirrored the law of nature: the strong will survive. These days, I am much less enamored with the idea of capitalism. Not that I disbelieve that it makes us more efficient, but that ruthless efficiency has a cost. Like the law of nature

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    Posted by under blog at #philosophy #opinions

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  • You don't have to be on all the time

    Reminders: You don't have to be on all the time. You don't have to optimize everything all the time You don't have to be at maximum productivity all the time You don't have to be the best at everything you do all the time You don't have to be the smartest person in the room all the time You don't have to worry about everything all the time You don't have to be strong enough for everyone all the time You don't have to solve everyone's problems all the time There had been some suggestion that people with the above

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  • The QC Memorial Circle

    I took a quick walk around the QC memorial circle the other day. There was some kind of event going on in the main plaza for the Department of Agriculture; Secretary Pinol was there giving a speech. I walked a couple of rounds around the park so I could meet my daily steps target. The sun was coming down and I'm not the best photographer but I thought it looked good on the Quezon Memorial Shrine so I took the above shot. I have fond memories of the QCMC. When we were young our extended family used to have Saturday

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    Posted by under blog at #philippines

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  • The Great Ultra Lotto Craze of 2018

    For the past few weeks or so, many in the country were consumed by a sort of lotto fever. The PCSO 6/58 Ultra Lotto had gotten up to a record high jackpot prize of more than 1 billion PHP (roughly 20M USD -- I know some lotteries in the US have prizes way higher than that, but hey, we're not the US.) Many people who normally don't play the Lotto were participating due to the sheer size of the pot. I must confess that even I bought a few tickets during the latter part of the run. For reference, the

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    Posted by under blog at #philippines

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  • Working hours and overtime

    Rockstar was in the gaming news recently because they mentioned that some of them had worked 100-hour weeks on their massive sequel to Red Dead Redemption coming out soon (no idea if I'll play this). The idea of 100 hour weeks seemed insane to me, and it got me thinking: I've done some serious overtime before, have I ever gotten close to that amount of work in a week? Luckily, I didn't have to speculate too much, because I had data (I love data). My previous employer had us track and log our work hours, and I had kept a

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  • Posted by under blog at #nostalgia

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  • On Dreams and Ambition

    I found an old document I had written around 2012, six years ago, I'll quote it in full here: I remember when I was in high school, I made a bet with a classmate that I would be able to become president of the country before he could. Our wager was worth one cubic meter of solid gold.A few years back, I made a wager with an officemate who was about to leave my company to go independent; I bet that I would become famous before he would. To win the bet, one would have to be named person of

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  • This is a story from the early days of the internet. Circa 2001-2004ish. A time of Geocities and AIM and and ICQ and from before Gmail even launched. At that time, I was a big Final Fantasy fan (okay, I still am, more or less). My first real experience with online fan communities was a Yahoo Groups mailing list called the "Final Fantasy Forum". It was a fun, tight-knit group that loved to discuss the FF series and other JRPGs of that era. The group was small, maybe 20-30 active members at peak, but it was also very active; it

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    Posted by under blog at #nostalgia #tech-life

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  • Mentoring in Software Development

    Mentoring is one of those tasks that's to be expected of anyone in a senior software development role. This usually involves reviewing other people's code, helping them with tough technical issues, and even giving career advice. I'm not sure how good I am when it comes to mentoring other software developers. When I first became technical lead on projects, I got some evaluations from junior developers saying I can be "intimidating". I think it comes from the fact that I have a natural tendency towards being snarky and being annoyed at bad code. It's something I'm trying to improve, and

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    Posted by under blog at #software-development

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