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

roytang.net

last update:

I couldn’t leave work early again last May 24, so I settled for signing up to a booster draft. Unfortunately, the draft itself didn’t go well. I tried going with either red/green or red/black first, but wasn’t getting enough good cards. I eventually settled on picking up the many blue fliers that were passing by and eventually ended up in Uw. I was still undecided and still picked from red/black occasionally in pack two until the third pack where I cracked Thistledown Liege.

I was neglecting the NDS a bit, so I decided to look for some fun homebrew stuff to do with it. Here are some I tried (You’ll need some sort of flashcart to use these. Mine is an R4.): Pocket Physics – a neat little toy app that allows you to draw diagrams on the touch screen that would then become affected by physics. It’s a bit like a free-form The Incredible Machine that’s portable.

Bear With Me

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Someday I will find a WordPress theme that I could bear with for more than 2-4 weeks. Or I will make one.

Chapin makes it to top 8 with an innovative new combo deck that absolutely eats up faeries, but loses in the finals to some Japanese guy with 2/2 dorks out of the board. Edit (May 24 9AM): After six rounds, Chapin is at 3 points (one and five). My new bet is Wafo-Tapa. I hear he’s piloting some sort of five-color control.

Anti Comment Spam

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In an attempt to reduce comment spam, I’ve renamed the comments submission page. This post is to test with comments. [Edit 21-May 10PM] That didn’t work at all! Need to look for a good anti-spam plugin. Comments Comment by Roy on 2008-05-20 20:50:13 +0000 This is a test to see if the comments are submitted correctly. Comment by Roy on 2008-06-04 11:52:48 +0000 Yeah well, after changing the theme my changes broke commenting.

Regionals was today, 18-May. The format was standard and I went to play at Galleria.

I have a mixed track record for regionals. During Regionals 2006, I went 1-4-drop with a rogue deck of my own design. During Regionals 2007 I played Korlash/Mishra built by Flores, going 5-and-3.

I was debating whether I would even go to play in the tournament, as I was totally unprepared and was quite tired. I figured a straight aggro deck would be fine, as I didn’t want to play Reveillark again for the expected nine rounds. I lent out the merfolk deck, so I cobbled together a build of Elves the night before instead:


[Lands]
  • 4 Treetop Village
  • 19 Forest
[Creatures]
  • 4 Llanowar Elves
  • 3 Elvish Hexhunter
  • 3 Riftsweeper
  • 4 Wolf-SKull Shaman
  • 4 Wren's Run Vanquisher
  • 4 Imperious Perfect
  • 4 Wilt-Leaf Cavaliers
  • 3 Jagged-Scar Archers
  • 3 Wilt-Leaf Liege
[Spells]
  • 3 Tower Above
  • 2 Overrun
[Sideboard]
  • 3 Tormod's Crypt
  • 3 Primal Command
  • 3 Kitchen Finks
  • 2 Cloudthresher
  • 2 Squall Line
  • 2 Chameleon Colossus

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU on Vimeo Wow. The actual animation is a bit creepy, but the delivery medium is awesome. Click and be enriched. (tags:animation video art stopmotion)  

An alpha release was just announced for Open Office 3. Being an Ubuntu user, Open Office is really the only sane choice I have for an office suite. At work I’m using Microsoft Office 2007. Among the office suite applications, I’m most of a power user for the spreadsheet applications. Here’s my side-by-side comparison of Excel and oOo Calc:

Microsoft Excel 2007 on Windows XP:

  • Looks really pretty.
  • Loads up quickly.
  • Proprietary and expensive.
  • Not available for Linux.

OpenOffice Calc 2.4.1 on Ubuntu:

  • Feature-rich – has some features that excel does not.
  • I can have a sandwich in the time it’s loading.
  • Free as in speech, and as in beer too!
  • Usability issues, such as inconveniently prompting a dialog box on every delete. (This is logged in their database as bug # 9392. There’s a workaround, but hopefully it will be fixed by default in Open Office 3)
  • Autofilter feature is immature compared to Excel, not enough options for filtering.
  • It can open a password-protected XLS correctly (prompting me for the password), but it can’t save it back with the password.
  • I was going to complain about the UI, but now that I’ve thought better of it, it’s no worse than other GTK/Linux apps.

Part 1. Part 2. Moonglove Winnower template is currently live on Roy on Magic. I made several color and formatting changes since the last update. Relatively easy due to the stylesheet. I also had to scrap the CSS hack for implementing equal height columns, it was causing problems with anchors in the URL. I went with a 1-pixel high background image instead. Currently most of the PHP logic/heavy lifting is done in sidebar.

I’m not sure how popular or well-known Beerkada is among the non-UP crowd, but right now I consider the slice-of-University-life comic (that has now graduated into slice-of-adult-life stories) probably the second best local comic strip. First place being of course the seminal Pugad Baboy, which has been running what, almost twenty years now? I digress. If you’ve read Beerkada, it’s far from perfect. It’s often corny, and sometimes he has too many of his own in-jokes.

Due to an increased workload, as of Friday night I was still totally unprepared for Block Constructed. I decided to skip the Shadowmoor Block Inaugural tournament yesterday, but I still showed up in the afternoon at Galleria to look for cards. Luckily, there was a draft signup so I went ahead and gambled some money on my supposed skills in Limited.

After waiting some 3-4 hours for the draft signup to reach 8 people, we got started. I always carry a pair of scissors in my bag now since I’m really bad at opening packs when my hands get sweaty.

Some select picks:

Pack one, pick one:

[Mossbridge Troll][1]

In the removal-light SHM limited format, the Troll is pretty hard to kill for some color combinations. And besides, it’s a rare!

Pack one, pick two:

[Wicker Warcrawler][2]

There’s a group of people I draft with on a semiregular basis; “Be a man, take the artifact!” has been one of our running jokes for years now. The thing abut the warcrawler is that many people don’t realize that it gets the -1/-1 counter at the end of combat, so the first attack or block is a six, and will often net you card advantage in the form of a chump block.

Pack one, pick three:

[Flourishing Defenses][3]

This card turned out to be nuts whenever I cast it. Two 3/3s with wither bump into each other? Okay, six elf tokens. Wicker Warcrawler? An elf token every turn. Morselhoarder? Two free elf tokens!

For the rest of the pack I pick up various scarecrows and red/green men.

Pack two, pick one:

[Reflecting Pool][4]

Wow, cash!

Pack two, pick two:

[Knollspine Invocation][5]

As much a bomb as Stormbind, this led me to red as my secondary color to green, despite the severe lack of removal I was getting.

I managed to get a

[Burn Trail][6]

and a

Scuttlemutt

later in this pack.

Pack three, pick one:

[Swans of Byrn Argoll][8]

Lol, yeah, rare-drafting.

Prior to this pack I’d already gotten a pair of

Morselhoarder

and a

[Mudbrawler Raider][10]

, so when a

[Runes of the Deus][11]

came in, I easily scooped it up. I also got two Pili-palas in the third pack, hoping to score a Power of Fire, but no such luck. The Pili-pala were very good though, enabling a splash of white and for some reason people don’t realize it’s a flier!

Part 1 of this series is

[

here]1

.

Creating a WordPress template is harder than I thought. Luckily I’m modifying the default template instead of starting from scratch. The one I’m creating is rather simple but after spending almost 8 hours on it so far, I’m still far away from completing it. I’m guessing the more complicated layouts take more than two weeks of full-time work.

Here’s my current WIP:

[

]2

Changes since the last part:

The tournament was yesterday, May 03, Standard at Robinson’s Galleria.

I was planning to play Green-White midrange, as documented on

[

Deckbuilding for an Unknown Metagame]1

. Due to card availability issues, the final list I played is:

  1. Web design has never been one of my strong points, and it’s something I’d like to improve on.

  2. The Roy on Magic blog has been using the default WordPress Template since forever, and I’ve been trying to find a good WP Template that fits the “Magic the Gathering” theme.

Put the above points together, and I have a new personal project. Just for fun, I’ll log my progress here.

This coming weekend is the release of Shadowmoor. As with any new set coming in, this means a new environment with an unknown metagame, and is especially true for the large set Shadowmoor. It’s an opportunity for those of us who believe we have some modicum of deck-building skills. I plan to be playing Standard on Saturday, one day after set release so I will try to build a deck to take advantage of the wide open field.

**

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates

**

is an action-RPG by Square Enix. The original Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles came out on the NGC.

**

Ring of Fates

**

is a different game for the NDS, though I guess it’s sort of a spiritual successor. I finally managed to get some NDS time and finish this game last night.

In the Philippines, the Sneak Peak serves as our release party, and the format is the same as the prerelease: Four rounds of sealed, each win gets you a Shadowmoor booster pack. 4-0 wins a Shadowmoor deck box.

The sealed pool I opened and registered was a mediocre pile with limited removal and rares like Rage Reflection, Reaper King, Vexing Shusher and Demigod of Revenge. This not being the prerelease, the pools were shuffled around after registration.

This is the pool I got and played:

Sunday Distractions

For all of my working life I’ve gotten used to sitting at a workstation where I do not have regular internet access. So while I’ve often read a lot of those articles about how to maintain focus, I’ve never actually realized how difficult it was until I brought home a bunch of work-related reading material to catch up on. Yes, I tried to read boring work-related stuff on an internet-enabled machine. Wonder how much progress I managed?

The prerelease was held last April 19 at Robinson’s Galleria. The last time I went 4-0 and won a shirt was Time Spiral prerelease. I have a good feeling about this one. Then I crack open the following sealed pool:

Pasmado

philippines

_ Pasmado _is a term generally well-known among Filipinos. It refers to a condition of excessive sweating and/or trembling in the hands and/or feet. The concept is so well-known among Filipinos that it has developed several old wives’ tales of its’ own, such as the ever-popular solution of peeing on your hands first thing in the morning to get rid of the conditions. I am pasmado. Sometimes at least, especially when under stress or it’s really, really humid.

Tournament was last April 6 2008 at NG Galleria, with 3 formats: Block, Standard and Extended. I was thinking of playing block but shifted to standard at the last minute because I only had one Mutavault.

This was deck I assembled on Saturday:

Of course I went in again with no playtesting. Enjoyment. Tournament report follows.

The tournament was held last 29-March at Neutral Grounds Galleria. The format was Standard and my deck was Heavyweight Ramp. 256 people, 9 rounds (!)

I debated internally whether to just play ‘Lark (which I had played for the last two tournaments) or play with my last-minute list above that had a better game against Faeries (in theory!). I didn’t want to play a UW control deck for five rounds, so we go Mana Ramp.

(02:25:57 PHT) Roy: do you really think I would be emo? :p (02:27:14 PHT) Coworker: ”… i looked at the screen… it did not look back at me… why? why? why must it be this f***** way..” (02:28:08 PHT) Coworker: ”… i pressed ctrl+b… the words did not become bold as i expected… instead, my data was lost when i save done… (sadness, grief… . despair)” (02:28:16 PHT) Roy: hahaha

The tournament was last Saturday, March 15, Standard. Slightly modified list from last week: Land: 6 Islands 5 Plains 4 Adarkar Waster 4 Nimbus Maze 4 Desert Creatures: 4 Mulldrifter 4 Reveillark 3 Mirror Entity 2 Bonded Fetch 3 Body Double 2 Riftwing Cloudskate 2 Venser, Shaper Savant 3 Aven Riftwatcher Other Spells: 3 Prismatic Lens 2 Mind Stone 4 Wrath of God 3 Momentary Blink 2 Condemn Sideboard: 2 Windborn Muse 2 Crovax, Ascendant Hero 2 Condemn 2 Stonecloaker 2 Sower of Temptation 2 Draining Whelk 2 Teferi's Moat 1 Magus of the Moat Just a quick summary this time:

I’m blogging from an airport; I feel like such a seasoned traveler. Actually I’m writing this post just so that I can claim to post on the internet from airports.

I am of course flying back to Manila after a short 3-day visit to Hong Kong. People always ask me where I plan to go while in HK, even though I always come here to work. It’s even worse this time, as I flew in Sunday evening, attending a three-day seminar until Wednesday, working during the evenings then flying back Thursday morning. Not much time to do anything really.

Seriously. Having to hit an extra key just to use “Home” or “End”? For some reason, PrintScreen and CapsLock keys are higher priority than Home and End, meaning you don’t need to use “Fn” to access them. Do people not use Ctrl+Shift+Home and Ctrl+Shift+End all the time? I’m sure a lot of developers do. Whenever I’m on this laptop and need to use Home or End, I mentally pronounce “Fn” as a seven-letter word starting with “F” and ending with “ing”.

The tournament format is Morningtide standard, 09 March at NG Galleria. My decklist, pirated from Benjamin Peebles-Mundy, with slight modifications :

Tournament report follows.

Scrabble

gaming

On my way home today I passed by Megamall as usual, and there was a Scrabble tournament going on. I stopped for a few minutes and watched. I realize a lot of people would probably find watching Scrabble games boring, seeing only two geeky people spelling out words at random, not even making any sense. But watching the Scrabble games brought me back to a time when I didn’t have the internet to keep me up at nights.

Scrabble is a game close to my heart, me and my brother Kerwin practically grew up with the game.

Never give out any of your confidential usernames and passwords to programs or services that you do not trust completely. This may be a bit obvious to the more tech-savvy, but everybody has to watch out. Luckily, there are even some programmers who are able to catch the work of evil programmers. Coding Horror has this story about an evil programmer who sold a GMail backup solution that steals your username and password.

Must Watch: I Am Legend's Original Ending -- This is Amazing « FirstShowing.net (tags: movies )   Comments Comment by noems on 2008-04-04 15:56:27 +0000 because of this link i bought a pirated copy of the movie. was on maternity leave when the movie came out e. i think i liked the ending in the movie better because it seems conflicting to the villain’s character to have compassion.

Eagerly awaited, the fourth installment of the Ace Attorney series has arrived, with a brand-new leading defense attorney. Of course, not one week after I got my copy, I’m done. It kept me up at nights and made me come in to work late; well worth it.

To those who are not familiar with the Ace Attorney games, it’s hard to explain the appeal of the game; with all the thinking and reading to be done, it’s definitely not exciting to watch. Anyone who’s finished one of them knows what it is though. There’s that feeling you get when you all the testimony and evidence finally come together, and you figure out how it was done but you still have to figure out how to prove it!

Detailed review (and spoilers) follow.

Doodles

I usually have a stack of random printouts on my office desk. I also usually take one or two sheets of paper with me for meetings, supposedly to take notes (I never do). What usually happens with these papers is that I end up doodling. It’s not a sign of my not paying attention to stuff mind you. Doodling helps me think, in some way. I took photos of some of my doodles (yeah, no scanner): Roy’s Doodles

Random thought while watching the news: If Cory Aquino ever went out in public without wearing bright yellow clothes, would people recognize her? _ “That lady looks a lot like Cory! Except she’s not wearing yellow!” _

Given what today is, I thought it would be a good idea to say a few words on the current brouhaha. Instead of just enjoying the holiday watching DVDs that is.

Just something I posted on a certain mailing list a few days ago:

I find it hard to believe that ousting GMA now would lead to any true change. We’ve seen what the countless political episodes have exposed: corruption at almost every level of government, both the executive and legislative branches beholden to bribery and extortion. The problems in our government are systemic in nature, and it would take more than the ouster of a single person to effect any meaningful change. Even if we were to find someone *with good intentions* to replace the president, he’s still likely to be swallowed up by the system.

I'm Lawful Good

meta

  Your Character’s Alignment Based on your answers to the quiz, your character’s most likely alignment is Lawful Good .Lawful Good A lawful good character acts as a good person is expected or required to act. She combines a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. She tells the truth, keeps her word, helps those in need, and speaks out against injustice.

A box and five boosters actually. We drafted the packs, but the final distribution of rares we got were: Red 3 Boldwyr Heavyweights 1 Countryside Crusher 1 Shared Animosity 1 Sensation Gorger 1 Titan's Revenge 1 Vengeful Firebrand Green 1 Chameleon Colossus 1 Greatbow Doyen 1 Leaf-crowned Elder 1 Reach of Branches 1 Rhys the Exiled 1 Scapeshift 1 Unstoppable Ash White 1 Battletide Alchemist 1 Feudkiller's Verdict 1 Idyllic Tutor 1 Kinsbaile Borderguard 1 Preeminent captain 1 Reveillark 1 Stonehewer Giant Blue 3 Declaration of Naught 1 Knowledge Exploitation 1 Slithermuse 1 Supreme Exemplar 1 Vendillion Clique Black 3 Bitterblossom 1 Earwig Squad 2 Fendeep Summoner 1 Maralen of the Mornsong 1 Scarblade Elite 1 Stenchskipper Lands 1 Mutavault 2 Rustic Clachan Foils 1 Reveillark Not a bad box.

Killer-killer

gaming

During a recent out-of-town trip I observed that despite the abundance of digital entertainment available (what with all the NDS and PSP owners bringing the goods, not to mention some people bringing a Wii), some people still got together to play some face-to-face IRL games. I’m talking the types of games that are not easily translatable into digital format and will probably remain so for quite a while. One such game is known locally as “Killer-killer”.

Despite the fact the allure of Final Fantasy Tactics PSP, I was still decided on finishing Advance Wars: Days of Ruin. This was only the second game in the series that I was playing, although I had greatly enjoyed Advance Wars: Dual Strike, so my hopes were high for Days of Ruin. Pros: – Still Advance Wars, battles are fairly good and challenging enough – New units: Bike – infantry on wheels, can capture as well; Flare – helps in Fog of War situations; Carrier – revamped from the AWDS Carrier, this one can now create its’ own Seaplanes; Antitank – a ranged unit that can counterattack, strong against Tanks, surprisingly; Duster – a hybrid air unit that has a weaker ground attack than a Bomber, and weaker air attack than a fighter

I had been planning to do this for a while: it’s my first WordPress Plugin! Over at Roy on Magic, I often have to write out decklists and such, so I wanted to have an autocard feature similar to the one used at MTGSalvation. After a quick five-minute search I couldn’t figure out how they did it, so I just wrote the plugin myself. Actual effort was around 3.5 hours, most of it struggling with PHP and Regular Expressions.

I have a PSP

gaming

Bought one last week, had not had time to log it until now. It was not so much planned and maybe a bit more of an impulse buy. Something like a cellphone conversation with my brother who’s standing in a store in Singapore pressuring me with “Well? Should I buy one or not?” I don’t like pressure, so obviously I just said, “Ok, whatever!” The inevitable question arises: which one is better, PSP or NDS?

Flight B, February 2, 2008, Saturday at Neutral Grounds Galleria. The format is LOR/MOR sealed.

I get my product and check it out. No outright bombs or cash rares, but I immediately spot the Drowner of Secrets + Merrow Commerce + 2 Stonybrook Schoolmasters. I had reasonable fliers and permission, so I built the blue-white deck. My only removal being a Weight of Conscience that I did not actually put in the maindeck.

After finding out that KDE4 was already available for Kubuntu 7.10, the nice screenshots of the new Oxygen theme and hints of a revamped panel and widget system appealed to my inner geek envy, so I decided to install and give it a whirl.

KDE4 Screenshot

My quick impression, after 15 minutes of usage:

No, I’m not job hunting. But other people are, apparently. I got a comment on an old post I made about my job hunting days. Not only that, but the guy IM’d me asking to talk (I put my yahoo id on this site somewhere me). It’s a bit strange, but I figured, why not? What I got from listening to him was that he was just extremely frustrated at how difficult it is to find a good job, so he was looking for people who had gone through similar experiences.

Random memory for the day: I remember watching the Superfriends TV series when I was a little kid, and every time Superman would fly off into space, there’d be a shot of the earth as a globe, with Superman flying out from the northern hemisphere. As a stupid kid, I thought to myself, “I wonder why the earth is shown as an oblate spheroid? When I go out with my parents it was obviously flat.

Legazpi, Albay

travels

Traveling by land sucks compared to traveling by plane. So for our weekend trip to Albay to visit our new sister-in-law’s family, I booked 3 two-way Cebu Pacific tickets for my brothers and myself. Our parents would take the bus since it was slightly cheaper and they didn’t mind sleeping on the road. The other reason was that my two brothers had never ridden a plane before – this would be their first time.

Project Euler -- Computational Problems I think this can be used as a source for tech interview problems. Haven't gone through many of them though. (tags: puzzles programming)