Roy Tang

roytang.net

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

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2020 December

  • Weeknotes 2020-12-27 Season Finale

    I started doing these weeknotes at the top of 2020, so this one signals one complete year of doing my weekly reviews/notes in public. I thought it appropriate for a review! Did it turn out to be a good practice? I think for me yes! Not necessarily for anyone following the blog (all 3 of you), since a lot of the weeknotes stuff might seem boring or irrelevant to you. But for me, forcing me to publicly write some thoughts about the past week has been good for my own self-awareness and keeping me writing regularly. I mentioned this in

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  • Christmas Traditions

    This was the year when a lot of Christmas traditions were broken, due to the pandemic. There are cultural/country-specific Christmas traditions of course, but usually each person or family also has their own personal traditions that they do every Christmas. Here are some of mine: Christmas Eve dinner, or as it's popularly known here in the Philippines, noche buena. Growing up, our immediate family/household unit usually celebrates Christmas Eve with a late noche buena, an extra meal that happened after dinner and starting at around midnight. Then we'd open presents, usually with one of the uncles taking the role of

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  • Weeknotes 2020-12-20

    It's the penultimate week of the year, and I'm sure I'm not the only who's had enough of this accursed year and looking forward to moving on to the next one. I know that's silly since the world won't magically become better when the calendar flips over to January the first, but I think it helps our mental health to have this sort of "fresh start" mentality, even if it's on an arbitrarily chosen date. The holiday season continues to be weird, thanks to the pandemic. My brothers and I have been trying to hash out how to have the

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  • I've talked a bit about mentoring in software development before, and how early on I used to get feedback about me being "intimidating". I never got any concrete feedback regarding that, so I don't know what problems I had specifically. Though I was recently reminded of one particular incident that was a bit cringey for me personally. This was a bit more than 10 years ago I think. I was usually assigned to mentor new hires, which means fresh graduates who usually needed guidance with a Java (which was our primary programming language at that time) and with our in-house

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  • Weeknotes 2020-12-13

    Time passes yet again. I think I have to get used to not having much personal stuff to report in the weeknotes on certain weeks (aside from the watching/gaming parts), especially given the pandemic where I'm at home 90% of the time. Speaking of the pandemic, the UK started vaccinations last week, and the US FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine as well, so hopefully this is where things start to turn around. Sadly, it may be a while before vaccinations get widespread, especially here in the Philippines. I'm hoping things clear up by mid next year for us here, but

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  • Weeknotes 2020-12-06

    This week felt like another set of those moments-in-between, where not much seemed to happen, but it somehow still went by quickly anyway. I think the household and the family has slowly gotten used to the idea that any big Christmas celebration isn't happening. My niece's birthday was last weekend, so we sent her gifts via Grab delivery instead of being able to get together. Most likely something similar's going to happen for gift exchanges on Christmas. We're still trying to figure out what we can do in the meantime. The extended family has proposed a zoom call on the

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  • Perfect Strangers

    While digging through some old stuff recently I found a copy of the late 80s/early 90s US sitcom Perfect Strangers and decided to binge through all 8 seasons of it (really more like 6 and a half, since seasons 1 and 8 were an abridged 6 episodes each). I grew up watching this series, on live tv even, before we had cable or Netflix or anything like that. During the binge-watch I remember a good number of the episodes from the first season all the way up to the end of season 7, which implies almost all of it was

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    Posted by under blog at #tv

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  • Dress Codes

    A while back someone I know went from working as a developer to working at a senior/management type position at a bank, and that new job came with the corresponding dress code, which meant he was now going to work in long sleeves or barongs. That kind of thing is not for me - back when I still considered a regular office job, one of the fastest ways to get me to run away from an "opportunity" would be an overly stringent and/or formal dress code. I was reminded of this because a few days ago, I read an article

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  • Ephemeral Echoes

    Last week, Twitter added Fleets, their own version of stories (short-lived posts). As could be expected, it's not something I can relate to. I did post one (saying "This is dumb.") just to see what the interface was like, but that's it. I thought about writing a blog post about how I dislike this sort of ephemeral social media, but it turns out that something I'd already written about before. Things don't change I guess, and they just come around. I still can't relate to this kind of thing, since I really prefer having a record of things I've posted

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  • Game Review: Super Mario Odyssey

    Posted by under blog at #gaming #nintendoswitch

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  • Rhythm of War is book four in Sanderson's epic fantasy Stormlight Archive series. Goodreads tells me I read the prior book Oathbringer back in Nov 2017, but didn't bother writing a review, so I had to make sure I'd write one now. The book's launch day kind of caught me a bit unexpectedly so I didn't bother doing a re-read of the previous three books. Which given an epic fantasy series of this scope might have been a mistake, but watch me do it again for book five. No review meant while reading every so often I'd stop and be

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    Posted by under blog at #books #stormlight-archive

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2020 November

  • We Shouldn't Need Heroes

    It's National Heroes Day over here, so I've been thinking about heroics. In software development, Heroic Programming can have a negative connotation: HeroicProgramming is often the only course of action left when poor planning, insufficient funds, and impractical schedules leave a project stranded and unlikely to complete successfully. I guess it's not just in software development either. Many times heroics are an indicator of failed systems. Bonifacio and other Philippine heroes were needed because Spanish colonialism had failed the Filipino people, necessitating a revolution. In this pandemic, we hail the medical workers and other frontliners as heroes for their sacrifices

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  • Weeknotes 2020-11-29

    December is almost upon us! I had an opportunity last week to take on some additional work, but on further reflection, I thought I'd pass on it. I am in general, averse to working during the Christmas season (that is to say, more so than during the entire year in general). Even back when I was working full-time, I'd prefer taking most of my leaves during December. It's really a result of the terrible traffic in Metro Manila, which gets significantly worse during Christmas season, a trauma that lingers even when I'm home all the time. The past week went

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  • This week felt weird. It kind of went by quickly for me, but it doesn't feel like anything important really happened. Its kind of like those moments in-between other events, where you're just coasting along and waiting for the more significant things to happen. My country is still recovering from the storms of the past few weeks, Trump is still flailing around trying to overturn democracy, and our own president is still insecure when someone gets more attention than him. These moments feel fleeting, but they're a pretty good time for some self-reflection. I probably need a bit more of

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  • Weeknotes 2020-11-15 Winds and Rain

    Weather this past week was very bad for those of us in Metro Manila (and many other places in Luzon). Howling winds and strong rains dominated for 2-3 days of the week due to typhoon Ulysses. This typhoon wasn't as strong as Rolly a couple of weeks ago, but it seems that it brought a lot more rains, causing flooding and loss of power in a whole lot of places. Metro Manila was hit quite badly, even drawing comparisons to Ondoy back in 2009. Even up to today I'm still reading about a ton of people who need assistance, relief

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  • The World: Somehow the week seemed to go by both quickly and agonizingly slowly, mostly because of the US presidential elections held this week. Slowly because after the initial burst of results on Tuesday night (US time), the remaining states' results trickled in very slowly. Quickly because much time was spent doomscrolling and refreshing election-related updates. I think the world collectively breathed a sigh of relief this weekend as the US networks finally called the race for former VP and now president-elect Joe Biden. Celebrations on the streets in many cities in the US, notably New York and Philadelphia. Trump

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  • I recently did a server migration since I moved to new hosting, The move was from managed/shared hosting to a VPS, these are some notes I took during the process, which I figure might be helpful if I ever tried to do this again. (And maybe someone else finds it helpful too). Links and references to helpeful resources are included. Setting up a webserver and WSGI container I already knew I wanted to use Nginx (managed hosting on the old server always used Apache), that meant needing to choose a WSGI container for the Django apps. The choices were either

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  • Now: Stormy weekend here in Manila. Supposedly the "strongest storm of 2020" so far, typhoon Rolly made landfall earlier today and is currently battering many of the provinces south of Metro Manila. Storm signals are as high as number 5. As of this writing, weather is currently cold and nippy but not particularly rainy where I am. We expect stronger winds and rain to hit us as evening approaches as well. On top of everything, a second typhoon has entered the PH area of responsibility and is expected to affect us over the next couple of days as well. If

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2020 October

  • Site Migration from Hugo to Django

    Leaving Hugo It's been a bit under two years since I migrated the site from Wordpress to Hugo. As discussed in this post one year ago, I was very happy with the general workflow of managing posts through markdown files in git, but had big problems with the Hugo build time, largely a consequence of my social media archiving. At that time, I didn't want to invest effort into migrating to a different backend, but the problem has only gotten incrementally worse since then, so I decided to take the jump and started working on it last month. Migration goals

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  • Weeknotes 2020-10-25

    Server migration update: I had encountered some trouble with the Travis-CI -based Hugo build generating this here website last week. Luckily, most of the migration work to the new backend was already done, so I went ahead and switched over the servers. So this site is no longer plain-old deployed HTML, but rather powered by a Django backend. The site should be mostly the same, though I did take the opportunity to move some stuff around. There's probably some bugs floating around, and maybe some secrets even. Probably need a longer blog post writing about the migration itself, though it

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