Wearing dice on my head since 2008 Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart. Randomly amazed.

roytang.net

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links for 2007-02-01

| Categories: Links | Tags:

Hack Attack: Burn almost any video file to a playable DVD -- Lifehacker (tags: howto ) Say goodbye to Microsoft. Now. (tags: linux)  

links for 2007-01-29

| Categories: Links | Tags:

Beryl/Xgl on Ubuntu (tags: howto linux) GTD Wannabe: Using Slickrun to Create a Scratch File -- With Spacing (tags: tools productivity)  

Time > Money

| Categories: Just Another Day | Tags:

Post Part I: This being my first week back to work after a month-long hiatus, I inevitably get the usual sort of questions people ask when you get back from a vacation: “Hey, where did you go?” “Do you have any pasalubong?” (souvenirs) “So, what did you do for one month?” I’m amused by how very few people seem to get the fact that I didn’t do “anything” in particular over the break.

Planar Chaos Prerelease

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

Played yesterday at Galleria. With a whole bunch of people: three from the Zu crowd and I think five or six from the office. Insane number of people, as expected. I got there about ten minutes after the mall opened (I came from work), and I was already preregistered, but I only got to sign up for the sixth flight (Flight F). They had to buy extra tables from a nearby Office Warehouse.

Del.icio.us bookmarks for 2007-01-18

| Categories: Links | Tags:

Daily delicious plugin broken down, this is being generated manually. But I heard that delicious now supports this functionality directly… Shared bookmarks for del.icio.us user roytang on 2007-01-18 Ironic Sans: Idea: A building shaped like Godzilla — Tagged as: blogs cool funny Piled Higher and Deeper — Tagged as: webcomics Fumbling Towards Geekdom: A 2006 productivity hot-or-not guide — Tagged as: productivity My Freeware Page – AleJenJes Countdown Timer —

NewsHutch -- feed aggregator

| Categories: Tech Life | Tags:

I’m going to try out a new feed aggregator for a while – NewsHutch. Don’t get me wrong, Bloglines is nice and all, but one gets tired of the UI after a while. NewsHutch looks… nice. And don’t get me started on Google Reader… that one is slow as molasses. (I added it to my Google Customized Homepage though, maybe that makes it better)

Personal Productivity

| Categories: Tech Life | Tags:

Since I’m going back to work starting on Saturday, I thought I’d try to look for ways to improve my productivity at work. I’ve downloaded a few utilities that I can try at work to see if it can improve my workflow. The first one is SlickRun. Basically it’s a Start -> Run replacement – press a predefined hotkey and a small command line tool appears where I can type shortcut-like commands.

Modified MistyLook

| Categories: Meta | Tags:

The original is here. Yeah, I didn’t like the header image so I removed it. I’m tired of moving themes around, so I’ll settle on this for a while. Simple and clean. I’ll just fuss around with the plugins later. And yeah, I’m also changing the categories around. There should be a plugin to search posts and assign multiple posts to new categories at the same time. My vacation time is almost up… I still have too many things to watch…

Nameless Deck Does Not Win

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

I played the same deck again this past weekend, but I forgot to name it “Nameless Deck Wins” this time, so I posted a much worse record. =( I went 2-3-drop, with the losses all going to aggro decks (2 Boros, 1 KarstenBot). The Boros matchup is winnable, but really tight, with no room for error. Anyway, with Planar Chaos coming out, my colors (Red/Green/Black) look like they’re getting a good boost, so hopefully I can further improve this deck.

Ok Go!

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I’m testing the Extreme Video Plugin for WordPress, and I thought, what better way to do so than to further propagate the extreme music videos of [ Ok Go]2. [gv data=“RbdbVhBGETQ”][/gv] Some of the new guys at the office performed the above dance as their Christmas initiation… er, presentation, and let me tell you, the audience was on its’ feet. Ok Go is an American band that is known for outrageous live performances like the above.

The Food in Hong Kong

| Categories: Travels | Tags:

I’ve been meaning to write more about my time in Hong Kong. One of the many new things I experienced there was the food. People who’ve eaten out with me on a regular basis know that I’m quite the picky eater. In general, I dislike eating veggies and seafood (yeah, I’m an unhealthy carnivore). In Hong Kong, you cannot avoid vegetables and seafood; every meal comes with some form of green stuff or shrimp or whatnot.

Final Fantasy XII

| Categories: Gaming | Tags:

Wow. It took me three months to finish FF12! Fun game, weak story. No strong lead character to carry the game. Gameplay is very MMORPG-like. The grinding was ok, but they could’ve done some quests like WoW to make it better. I’ll fight the optional bosses someday. Will I play the next FF game? Don’t know. Time is the most difficult factor, as it demands a lot. Took me about 65 hours to finish this one, playing 3-4 hours a day after I came back from Hong Kong.

Nameless Deck Wins

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

I played the following decklist last Saturday at NG Galleria, giving it the incredibly clever name “Nameless Deck Wins” 4 Birds of Paradise 3 Llanowar Elves 4 Spike Feeder 4 Yavimaya Dryad 3 Giant Solifuge 4 Call of the Herd 22 3 Demonfire 4 Cryoclasm 4 Mwonvuli Acid-moss 4 Hit // Run 1 Krosan Grip 16 3 Stomping Ground 3 Overgrown Tomb 3 Blood Crypt 1 Karplusan Forest 1 Molten Slagheap

A New Look Again?

| Categories: Meta | Tags:

Yeah, I still have quite a bit of vacation to go. Might as well spruce up this website a bit. Move things around here and there, you know the drill. A work in progress of course, as always. I hope I don’t screw things up too badly. Better backup WordPress…

Adventures in Linux Land, part 4

| Categories: Tech Life | Tags:

I upgraded my Kubuntu Linux installation to Edgy Eft during the Christmas break. Some notes: Why can’t there be a one-click install? You know, some pop-up alert bubble in the corner saying “A new version of Kubuntu is available.” I don’t see why the user needs to edit the sources.list file, do the apt-get stuff, etc., when all of this can basically be automated away. Except for one thing, I can do everything I need to do using Kubuntu instead of using Windows.

New Year 2007

| Categories: Just Another Day | Tags:

This year, I resolve to find more direction. That being said, I’m kind of behind already. I usually manage a total cleanup of all the stuff in my room before the New Year. This year? Not even close. At least I have an additional 3 weeks of vacation to finish everything. Review of last year’s resolution: “I will try more new things this year” : I’d say that’s a resounding success.

New Year's Eve

| Categories: Just Another Day | Tags:

It’s around 7 PM on the 31st of December. Around this time it starts to become dangerous to walk upon the streets of Metro Manila. In fact, I would never go out on the streets after dark on New Year’s Eve. People are starting to throw their pyrotechnics around, and no matter what community you live in, there’s a chance of some reckless kid carelessly tossing some dangerous firecracker somewhere in your direction.

The Rock Says

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: Books

I was going through the bookstores at yesterday’s sale day at SM North, hoping to find some bargains. I found a copy of The Rock‘s book, _The Rock Says _going for the bargain basement price of 50 pesos (roughly 1 US dollar). What a steal! In case you’ve been living under, well, a rock, you’re probably aware that The Rock was one of the most popular, most electrifying men in professional wrestling, lovingly termed “sports entertainment.

8-Man Drafts on MTGO

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

One of the nice things about Magic: Online is the concept of “Nix Tix”. Basically, for a few days during holidays, 8-man drafts no longer require the usual 2 tickets to play. You simply need the product used for the draft (3 booster packs) in order to join an 8-man draft. And since the payout is also in booster packs, distributed as 4-3-2-2, you can basically keep playing 8-man drafts for free as long as you get at least two wins per draft.

Japan is Furious about Dragon Quest IX

| Categories: Gaming | Tags:

Via insertcredit.com : Apparently, DQ IX coming out on the DS is a big deal over in the land of the rising sun. And the fact that the combat system will be action-style instead of turn-based. Did they really expect the game to keep doing the same thing again and again forever? Anyway, the DS is a better platform for it… Square-Enix already has one flagship RPG series on the consoles (Final Fantasy), and none yet on handhelds, so why not just move their second-oldest title there?

The Next Generation of FAQs

| Categories: Gaming | Tags:

Something I didn’t expect from the Youtube phenomenon: apparently, FAQ writers can now link to instructional videos for difficult to describe game walkthroughs. If you don’t have any idea what I mean, an “FAQ” is a document that helps someone to do a particular thing by providing answers to Frequently Asked Questions. In my case, I most often read FAQs for video games to help through the difficult spots, usually from GameFAQs

The Escapist -- The Rise and Fall of Troika

| Categories: Gaming | Tags:

Awesome article in The Escapist titled The Rise and Fall of Troika, which gives a good view of the problems facing game development studios with regards to production/publisher issues. I got the link from the blog at rampantgames.com which I’ve been following for a while now. I find the articles about the indie gaming field very enlightening, and I have to say going the route of an indie game developer is much more appealling to me especially after reading about all the issues game dev studios have with big-time publishers.

The Meaning of Christmas

| Categories: Just Another Day | Tags: Job Hunting

When you’re a kid, the days leading up to Christmas are full of wonder and anticipation, and you eagerly await that time when the gifts under the Christmas tree are finally handed out to the recipients and you tear open those packages with such enthusiasm and disregard for the effort put into wrapping it. As an adult, the days leading up to Christmas are filled up with days of overtime as you struggle to meet year-end targets, constantly having to attend gathering after gathering, and worrying about whether you’ve gotten the right presents for people.

Spare Time

| Categories: Just Another Day | Tags:

Today is the first day of my four-week hiatus from week, after an exhausting three-day overtime streak I basically collapsed into bed last night. Over the past week people have been asking me why I would take a month-long break from work. Am I going somewhere out of town? Sightseeing? By sheer coincidence I was also looking over a copy of The Little Prince, and one of the chapters there echoed perfectly my sentiments about all these questions: why are all you grown-ups so worried about so-called “matters of consequence”?

Hong Kong -- After Landing At The Airport

| Categories: Travels | Tags:

I remember looking for the signs that would tell me where to find the A11 bus that could take me to North Point. My instructions were to find the McDonald’s inside the airport and look for the exit nearby. Sure enough, the signs pointed me to the bus terminal. I bought a ticket, and as I arranged my luggage for easier carrying I didn’t notice that I had dropped the just-purchased ticket to the floor.

Final Fantasy Tactics is getting a port!

| Categories: Gaming | Tags:

… on the PSP. How sad that my all-time favorite console game is getting a bunch of spiffy new features on a handheld I chose not to support. =( At least we are getting a Dragon Quest release for the DS.

Magic: 2006 Gold Rush

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

I made it back to the country just two days before the last big Standard event of 2007, and I had no deck ready. On Saturday morning, I quickly cobbled together a RGB off the obvious theme of hating Islands. Minor land destruction theme (4 Cryoclasm, 4 Mwonvuli Acid-Moss), Elephant and Solifuge beats and always going for the Demonfire finish. The black was in the main only for Hit // Run, my answer to Akroma and Bogardan Hellkite.

The More They Stay The Same

| Categories: Just Another Day | Tags:

One of the difficult things about my three-week sojourn is that I had almost no internet access; the one internet terminal we could use at the site was unbearably slow, and even when it was free, it was hard to slack off reading Slashdot when there were several other people busily working nearby. Being without internet is like living under a rock apparently; you have no idea what’s going on in the world.

Back from China

| Categories: Travels | Tags:

Yeah I know, Hong Kong is technically a part of China, but my feet actually did manage to walk some non-Hong Kong Chinese territory. Too many stories accumulated in three weeks to tell in one post though, but to say the least I actually got to experience a bit more of Hong Kong this time, as opposed to the five-day almost-all-work schedule that I had last time. Unfortunately, I did not get to experience any kung-fu in the streets, although I did manage to get a picture with Jacky Chan.

I'm Going to HKAgain

| Categories: Travels | Tags:

So much for my nefarious plan to take it easy until I can get a Christmas break. I leave on the first available flight Thursday, and they plan to keep me there for around three weeks.

Dark Tower VII

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: Books

What a long, arduous journey it has been for Roland of Gilead, last gunslinger, in his inexorable quest for the Dark Tower. And now that I’ve read the final volume of Stephen King’s magnum opus, I find out that it is an even crueler fate that awaits him at the end of the seven books. I dare not spoil it, though Wikipedia has a nice summary, say thankya. Save to say that Stephen King seems to be correct – the ending of the Dark Tower series does seem to be the “correct” one, despite some disappointments in writing.

Same deck as last week. Round 1: 2-0 vs WUb Sliver-Mill. I asked him afterwards why he didn’t show me any Traumatize, he said it was only in the board. Round 2: 2-0 vs Solar Flare Game one he only gets four lands, he manages to animate a Skeletal Vampire, but Glare taps the blockers and pushes the kill. Game two he gets nothing but ten lands and a Remand.

I predict that eventually, “don’t”, “won’t”, “can’t” and the like will eventually become their own words, dropping that weird apostrophe they have. A few decades after this happens, some people will wonder what “wan’t” used to stand for.

Elephant Tokens

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

elephant_tokens Originally uploaded by zroytang. Check out the awesome Elephant tokens I used in the tourney earlier today. I swear, I won every game where I managed to get one of these out. Two on the right were drawn by me. The one on the left by Dens.

This tournament and three others for each Saturday of November are run-ups to the Time Spiral Gold Rush tournament in December. I’ve been agonizing over the past couple of weeks as to what I can play in the diverse new standard enivornment. In the end, instead of doing my usual thing and building an original decklist, I decided to work from an existing archetype instead. I believe that in order for me to become a better Standard player, I have to get more match experience before designing decks, since my thinking is still on a casual level most of the time.

new monitor

| Categories: Tech Life | Tags: Hardware

new monitor Originally uploaded by zroytang . As promised, a picture. That desk used to hold an entire monitor! Now it has my wallet, a watch, a couple of flash drives, a landline, a cellphone and a whole bunch of wires!

Dark Tower VI -- Song of Susannah

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: Books

I was holding off on buying the sixth installment of the Dark Tower until I could find a printing which matched the previous five books, but as I was browsing through the new Fully Booked at SM North I felt a compulsive urge to buy *something*, and lo and behold, Stephen King was on the shelf right beside me! As usual, the tale of Roland and his party on their quest for the Dark Tower is quite the page-turner, especially since this particular piece of fiction intersects with the real world in an intruiging way… the author himself, Stephen King, appears in this book as the would-be creator of Roland’s world!

Heroes Again

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: TV Series

This series is simple awesome. The writing is excellent, and the fact they’re using a lot of precognition implies how well the entire series should tie together. Hiro continues to be the shining star here. Future Hiro’s appearance promises us several things, namely: Hiro will eventually stop being so dorky. And he’ll get a sword! Hiro will eventually learn to speak English well Peter will eventually get a scar

19-inches of Widescreen LCD Sweetness

| Categories: Tech Life | Tags: Hardware

I wish I had a camera right now so I could post a picture of it, but yeah, I now have a brand-new 19-inch widescreen LCD monitor on my desk. Wow, I have so much space! Both physical space and desktop space! I came home at past 12 midnight last night and was so sleepy I would have immediately went into a catatonic sleep had my brother not brought home and installed this new monitor.

Computer Gaming World

| Categories: Gaming | Tags:

Awesome thing for old-school gamers – CGW has made available PDFs of their first 100 issues here. It’s fun to read reviews and insights about old games. Ah, and the ads! I like seeing old ads for some strange reason.

PTQ -- Geneva

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

Yesterday at NG Galleria. My record for this event was 4-3, running B/G with red splash. I initially thought red was very weak in TS limited, but as I got to the end of the tourney I found myself splashing more and more red cards. Bogardan Rager in particular I underestimated. At least I can somehow feel my skill level improving. There’s this guy who’s beaten me two tourneys in a row now, both with edge-of-the-seat wins decided in a single turn.

The DS Stylus

| Categories: Gaming | Tags:

I predicted it as soon as I saw one of those DS thingies: “If I bought one of those, I’d lose the stylus within a month.” I didn’t even get to three whole weeks without losing it. =/ The stylus should have a little rope tying it to the DS.

World of Warcrack

| Categories: Gaming | Tags:

Soul Kerfuffle: The View From the Top Funny, just before I read this blog post, I was thinking about how I didn’t really have time for WoW. I’ve never gotten to 60, so I don’t know how addictive the end game is. But is it really all raiding? I don’t think I’d be able to devote 12+ hours on weekends for raids. 3-4 hours maybe, but 12 hours? Well, my brother just hit 60 recently, so I suppose I should ask him after a few weeks what it’s like.

Silly

| Categories: Just Another Day | Tags:

A friend of mine at work once commented to me that I ask the silliest questions. When I’m a bit bored at the office, I will sometimes throw random meaning-of-life questions at them. things like: “If you had a time machine, what would you do with it?” “IF you were president, what would you do about [thing]?” “What’s your most impossible dream?” “If you could vanish right now, where would you go?

Drafting in Time Spiral

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

Played four 4-man drafts last night, opening 2 boxes. Some interesting draft archetypes: White Weenie – easy. If you get a Celestial Crusader early this is a good choice. Black Weenine – a bit tougher, you have to get a bad moon early Slivers – W/U combinations focus on board lock down and pinging to win. R/G combinations focus on acceleration and beatdown. Thallids – tedious and slow.