Roy Tang

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

Blog Notes Photos Links Archives About

Blog: Traditional blog posts, usually longer than other types, with a title. You can subscribe to an RSS feed of this list.

Feb 2020

Jan 2020

  • I wasn’t sure if I should continue this watching-lately series since I already set up a separate page for listing my 2020 movies watched. It might have been more consistent to have a list for the 2020 TV shows also? But then again, TV shows are a much different beast, since each show/season is broken into an episode and sometimes you watch them all in one go or sometimes over the span of a few months.

    read more (1198 words)

    Posted by under post at #Pop Culture #Movies #TV #watching lately
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 1198 words
  • Posted by under post at #books #review
    Also on: twitter / 1 0 / 326 words
  • Weeknotes 2020-01-26

    It feels like every week of 2020 so far has brought some sort of herald of doom. First week was potential War with Iran breaking out. Then there was the Taal Volcano erupting. And this past week we had the Corona virus outbreak originating in China. At least the Volcano eruption doesn’t map directly to a horseman of the apocalypse, so that’s something. What are we in for this week??

    read more (584 words)

    Posted by under post at #weeknotes
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 584 words
  • Flask vs Django

  • Weeknotes 2020-01-19

    The big news here in the country over the past week was of course the big Taal Volcano eruption south of Metro Manila. Our house is far north enough of Metro Manila that we didn’t really get any ashfall over here, although when I went out on a walk the day after the big eruption, the air felt thick, like on morning New Year’s Day after all the fireworks. We do have friends and family who are affected and closer to the volcano though, so here’s hoping things get better for them and everyone else, especially those that had to be evacuated.

    read more (967 words)

    Posted by under post at #weeknotes
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 967 words
  • So the back half of the CW Arrowverse’s epic Crisis on Infinite Earth’s crossover finally aired this week, and I promised more words about the Arrowverse and the crossover last month, so here we are. Spoilers abound! On 15 Jan 2020 5:05am I wrote: #CrisisOnInfiniteEarths spoiler free review: low budget, pacing and writing issues, but idc because all the dc comics fan service kept making me smile First the bad: as noted above, writing and pacing and budget issues plague the crossover, but this is typical of the Arrowverse as a whole.

    read more (655 words)

    Posted by under post at #tv
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 655 words
  • Weird Blog Spam

    I am generally receptive to receiving emails from strangers, so I don’t mind having a contact email publicly accessible on this site. But I don’t know if it’s a consequence of having a reasonably active blog or what, but in the past few years, I’ve sometimes gotten what I like to call “weird blog spam.” Typically it starts out with an introductory email that often includes a compliment about a specific article on your blog, accompanied by an offer to increase your blog’s visibility if you would just link to one of their articles:

    read more (551 words)

    Posted by under post at #tech life
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 551 words
  • Weeknotes 2020-01-12

    I’ve been thinking for a while about doing regular weeknotes. This is a type of post I’ve seen in some blogs where they recap the things that’ve happened to them during the past week. I’ve actually been doing these privately for a while, and now I’m going to try making them public. I think the advantages are obvious in terms of (a) having notes to recall what you were doing over a certain time period; and (b) guaranteeing regular writing output on the blog.

    read more (1076 words)

    Posted by under post at #weeknotes #changelog
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 1076 words
  • My Top Tens of the 2010s

    Apparently I’m not done looking back at the 2010s yet. I had some “top tens of 2010s” discussions with some friends recently, here are my personal lists, each in no particular order: My Top Ten Movies of the 2010s Avengers Endgame (2019).. I’m keeping only one slot per franchise, so I had to choose an MCU movies for this. Runner-ups for this slot were Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America Winter Soldier, and individually either one of those movies might be around the same or better than Endgame, but Endgame is the culmination of a decade’s worth of movies and gave me the most enjoyment as a comic book fan.

    read more (1145 words)

    Posted by under post at #movies #tv #gaming
    Also on: twitter / 1 0 / 1145 words
  • 2019 Year in Review

    Well, it has certainly been another revolution around the sun. I added the tag yearnotes for these end-of-year recap and statistic things. 2019 Statistics: Work, Travel, Learning and Self Improvement: Hours worked: 180-200 hours (estimated) - down from 1163 hours last year I’ve been cutting back on my work commitments this year, preferring to spend more time on personal projects. Programming languages/frameworks learned: Only 1 really new thing, that’s the Ionic mobile app framework.

    read more (814 words)

    Posted by under post at #yearnotes
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 814 words
  • New Year's Checklist 2020

    It’s a new year! I don’t have any clever jokes or deep wisdom or long, introspective essays to share at this time (I have those the rest of the year though!). Instead, here’s a checklist for the new year. In no particular order: Greet your loved ones and friends and anyone else you hold dear. Maybe even those you disagree with Ponder why people give so much significance to the transition between an arbitrarily-chosen pair of 24 hour periods Take stock and reflect on the past year Think about what you’d like to learn this year or how you want to improve Count your blessings for the past year and be grateful Change your passwords Buy a new toothbrush Set a target of how many books you’ll read in 2020 Choose the first book to read Throw away a few things you no longer need Make a list of where you will travel to in 2020 Check out what movies are coming out this year and which ones you want to watch (see below) Audit your financials – where is your money going, how much do you owe, how much are you earning, where should you invest, etc Pick up your keyboard and shake out all the grime that’s gathered there over the past year Make a list of projects you want to do in 2020 Choose something from the past year that you’re going to stop watching or doing Eat your favorite food.

    read more (375 words)

    Posted by under post at #new-years-checklist
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 375 words

Dec 2019

  • Decades

    Today is the last day of the 2010s. I was originally planning a short retrospective on the past decade, but that felt a bit unfair to the other decades prior which hadn’t received such reflection, so let’s go through all of the four decades I’ve lived through so far. 80s: Having been born in 78, the 80s were my “growing up” years. I lived through the EDSA revolution, but I don’t remember much of what was actually happening in society during that time.

    read more (444 words)

    Posted by under post at #decadenotes
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 444 words
  • Watching Lately: December 2019

    Been watching a lot of things this December. I finally got back on The Expanse after finishing S1 more than a year ago. I only finished S2, but it was already a vast improvement over S1. S1 felt like a lot of meandering around until the characters actually ran into the plot. S2 was stronger, faster-paced, and there’s always a lot of things going on in each episode. I really like this series now, looking forward to S3 and S4 when I have the time.

    read more (720 words)

  • Review: XCom 2

    Posted by under post at #gaming
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 663 words
  • What Am I Doing Now

    A few days ago, a friend from a company I used to work for said to me something along the lines of “{Company Executive} asked me how you are doing”, and I couldn’t give anything other than a pithy “I’m alive” answer. I find that since I generally live an unconventional life, it’s a pain to describe how I’m doing. It’s not a straightforward “Oh, you know, still working as a freelance developer/consultant/solutions architect” for me, because I don’t really identify that much anymore with what work I’m doing or who I’m employed by.

    read more (367 words)

    Posted by under post at #meta
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 367 words

Nov 2019

  • NaBloPoMo Epilogue

    So NaBloPoMo complete, no big deal. It wasn’t much of a challenge since blogging every day for a month is something that I’ve done multiple times over the past couple of years. It comes out to around 15,900 words written in November, not counting this post. Definitely not as big a thing as completing nanowrimo for instance. Writing on a regular basis is great, and generally a reasonable use of your time.

    read more (214 words)

    Posted by under post at #writing #blogging
    / 0 / 214 words
  • Recent Links for 11/29

    I’m trying out this “recent links” series where I highlight some stuff I’ve bookmarked. I used to just share them via Pocket, which get fed into the links list on this blog, but the problem with that approach was that I don’t get to comment on each link about why I shared or bookmarked it. Writing them into a blog post gives me a chance to highlight them too. I’ve seen some other blogs where they have something like a weekly list of recent links, let’s see if that works out for me.

    read more (642 words)

    Posted by under post at #Links #recent links
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 642 words
  • Criticism

    Criticizing the logistics or implementation of an event doesn’t necessarily mean you want it to fail or you want to the organizers to be embarassed. On the contrary, pointing out flaws allows for improvements. Criticizing the organizers of a sporting event doesn’t mean you don’t support the athletes participating in the event. Criticizing your country’s leaders and politicians and government doesn’t mean you are unpatriotic. No given politician is the same as the entire government, much less the country.

    read more (154 words)

    Posted by under post at
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 154 words
  • Review: The Outer Worlds

    Posted by under post at #gaming gaming
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 891 words
  • The Costs of Corruption

    A quick follow-up to something I mentioned in yesterday’s post: It is a cultural problem too. Even we the citizens have little respect for rules and laws and try to skip around them when we can. This is why we have fixers, and connections, and patronage. We trade on favors to get us out of trouble. I’m not sure if needed to be said, but I wasn’t saying that literally every single person participates in fixing and patronage to get around the rules.

    read more (582 words)

    Posted by under post at #philippines #current events
    Also on: twitter / 1 0 / 582 words
  • Laws Not Men

    In yet another example of what is wrong with this country, the PNP are planning to arrest vape users after Duterte’s directive, despite there actually being yet no law or executive order banning vaping. Thus, the arrests are meaningless and merely another form of harassment. PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac explained that while violators would be apprehended, they would be released immediately after the incident is recorded in the police blotter.

    read more (524 words)

    Posted by under post at #philippines #current events
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 524 words
  • It was a bit more than a year ago that I decided to haphazardly and suddenly migrate from Wordpress to Hugo. It’s a good time to look back and reflect on that decision and consider where we are now, and how to move forward. Good: I am extremely happy with the site’s browser performance. It currently scores an insanely high 96 on Google’s Pagespeed tool, and I’m pretty sure I I know how to close the remaining 4% gap.

    read more (621 words)

    Posted by under post at #tech life #blogging #hugo
    Also on: twitter / 2 / 621 words
  • New Video Card!

    Posted by under post at #tech life
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 879 words
  • Grab Overpricing

    So the Philippine Competition Commission recently fined rideshare provider Grab P23M for overcharging their customers. Apparently only P5M of that is meant to go back to the affected riders, which seems like a piddly amount considering the number of riders in the Philippines. We’ll see how of that I actually get credited back, if any. Grab pricing has been steadily increasing since Uber exited the market early last year. The other day Grab wanted to charge me a bit over P400 for a 13km ride to a commercial area, which seemed insane.

    read more (254 words)

  • Five AM

    The world looks a bit different at 5 AM. In a bid to get back into the daily walking groove, I’m trying to shift back my daily walks to early in the morning, before breakfast. Recently I’ve been doing it in the afternoons or early evenings, but walking in the mornings has the distinct advantage that if for some reason I am unable to do it (maybe because I was super tired from the previous day, or the weather doesn’t cooperate, or just plain laziness), I have the rest of the day to catch up on it.

    read more (484 words)

    Posted by under post at
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 484 words
  • The past few years have not been good for competitive balance in MTG. Following yesterday’s deservedly heavy-handed B&R announcement, standard is now at 14 cards banned since 2017. Before 2017, the standard bannings have been relatively sparse. Working backwards: 2011 - cawblade standard, 2 cards banned 2005 - affinity standard, 8 cards banned 2004 - skullclamp banned 1998-1999 - the infamous combo winter, 9 cards banned So this period from 2017-2019 has seen the most bannings since the affinity era, and may even be comparable to the unquestionably disaster that was Urza block in `98-99.

    read more (411 words)

    Posted by under post at #mtg
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 411 words
  • A Cradle for Imperfect Thoughts

    A lot of people seem to think that blogging as an activity is about writing a well-thought out first draft, revising and researching and revising again until the post is perfected, then finally hitting publish (then possibly realize you had some editing errors and upadating and republishing). I tend to think this sort of perfectionism holds one back, I prefer to publish even when thoughts are yet half-formed and maybe even incomplete, laying the groundwork for revisiting the topic in a later post.

    read more (163 words)

    Posted by under post at #blogging
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 163 words
  • On Feed Readers

    I don’t use Inoreader anymore, but a recent blog post of theirs recently appeared in my feeds that mentioned they implemented “sort by magic”. This was a feature that Google reader had 10 YEARS AGO! There hasn’t been much innovation in the feed reader space in the last decade it seems, which is totally understandable given they are mostly tools used by internet “power users”, and mostly by older netheads, so the target market isn’t very large.

    read more (922 words)

    Posted by under post at #tech life
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 922 words
  • An Offline Walk

    The other day, a family member mistakenly took my phone with them to the office so I was without a phone all day. This meant my daily walk had to be offline, which was a weird thing I hadn’t experienced in a while. I couldn’t help but note my hand’s instinctively reaching for the mobile phone that wasn’t there. Mobile phones are so ubiquitous in our daily lives, but sometimes it feels like a crutch how we can be totally dependent on them.

    read more (284 words)

    Posted by under post at #tech life
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 284 words
  • Posted by under post at #current events #hong kong
    Also on: twitter / 1 0 / 417 words
  • Tales from a P2P Bus

    It’s a lot more uncommon for me to go to places like Ortigas or Makati nowadays, but when I do I almost always take the P2P bus. The P2P (Point-to-Point) buses were introduced in Metro Manila I think around late 2015/early 2016, as a pricier alternative to the usual city buses. The fares are more expensive, but the buses are also much more comfortable and they don’t make stops along their route, only at the endpoints, so their travel time is faster compared to the usual city buses.

    read more (718 words)

    Posted by under post at #philippines
    Also on: twitter / 3 0 / 718 words
  • Is SQL a dying art?

    I was helping my brother check some database issues the other week, and he mentioned how impressed he was with how quickly I was able to come up with SQL queries on the fly. I told him that SQL was one of the skills I considered myself to have mastery over. This shouldn’t be surprising given my early career path: for most of my first year working as a software developer, I was working on reports which involved lovingly handcrafted (and oftentimes quite complicated) SQL queries.

    read more (365 words)

    Posted by under post at #software development #sql
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 365 words
  • What to do in a production crisis

    Despite our best efforts as software developers, it can still happen: production goes down. Or some sort of bug introduces catastrophic data error. Hopefully you have a support/DevOps team to handle the response. If not, the dev team themselves have to step in. This usual means a mad rush to figure out what happened and how to fix it, sometimes during off hours and maybe even into the early morning, all while facing pressure from clients and higher-ups.

    read more (441 words)

    Posted by under post at #software development
    Also on: twitter / 1 1 / 441 words
  • Anime Opening/Ending Themes

    Had a friendly discussion last night about our favorite anime theme music, figured I’d share some of my favorites. J-Pop in general and anime theme music in particular have a kind of energy that you just don’t get from Western music. I think that generally I tend to favor those that openings for series that I had a chance to watch on TV (instead of via streaming/online channels), since back in those days I had to sit through the openings!

    read more (169 words)

    Posted by under post at #anime #music
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 169 words
  • Indieweb Updates and Thoughts

    I mentioned before that I was looking into indieweb stuff. There’s a whole wiki of information about it if you’re into that sort of thing, but also here’s a recent post which kind of serves as an overview. I have some comments on the content of this post, more on that later. Indieweb things I’ve already implemented on this site: have a personal domain (since 2006) microformats (h-card and h-feeds and h-entrys), though I would have to be using some sort of microformats reader to make sure everything there is hunky-dory (no concrete plans for this yet) webmention support, via webmention.

    read more (668 words)

    Posted by under post at #tech life #meta #changelog
    Also on: twitter / 7 9 / 668 words
  • Aha! I finally managed to finish a book again! I’ve heard of Cal Newport since years ago tangentially due to his Study Hacks blog, which was pretty good at the time. I haven’t followed his career too closely, but he’s an academic at Georgetown apparently. I wasn’t looking for any career advice in particular, but I did have a recommendation for this book from somewhere so I thought I’d give it a go.

    read more (638 words)

    Posted by under post at #books #review
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 638 words
  • Unfocused

    I am envious sometimes of people who are able to narrow down their interests to a specific scope, it’s kind of like a lot of their decisions are made easier. Consider a person whose only hobby/interest is something like sports (not necessarily all sports, or just one sport, just sports in general). looking for something to do in your spare time? Sports! want to watch something on TV? Sports! picking up a newspaper, but don’t have much time to read?

    read more (602 words)

    Posted by under post at
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 602 words
  • DevNotes: Python's yield

    I’ve been using Python for well over 10 years, and I still don’t have an intuitive mastery of one of its keywords: yield. Everytime I see it in someone’s code I need to stop and mentally remind myself what it does. I figured I’d write a devnote to help improve my recall. Typically, yield is used in a function with a loop, like so: def some_func(lim): for i in range(0, lim): yield i yield means the function returns a “generator” that can be used as an iterable in a loop:

    read more (172 words)

    Posted by under post at #software development #devnotes
    Also on: twitter / 1 0 / 172 words