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

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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 HK Again

| 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.

Eudora to Become Open Source

| Categories: Tech Life | Tags:

QUALCOMM Press Center – QUALCOMM Launches Project in Collaboration with Mozilla Foundation to Develop Open Source Version of Eudora Email Program –link Wow. Eudora was my email client of choice back in the day, when webapps were still so much crappier. I suppose they realized so many people had switched to using either GMail or Thunderbird, that they had to do something to make their product relevant. My favorite thing about Eudora was that their client would have a stats page; it literally tracks the amount of time you spend reading and writing email, the average amount of mail you get daily, etc.

Quick Impressions on Some DS Games

| Categories: Gaming | Tags:

Mario Kart – it’s Mario Kart! Yay! Although we now have six DS owners at the office, we haven’t yet had time to pull off a six-player race. I’m pretty sure it will be insane though. Brain Age – mildly nerdy, strngely addictive. It’s not so much a game, more of a series of mental training exercises. Too bad the speaking portion doesn’t easily recognize my voice (and/or my accent)

Dual Screen Pirates?

| Categories: Gaming | Tags:

One would think the Nintendo DS, with it’s unique dual-screen layout and styles usage would not be that vulnerable to piracy. You’d be wrong though.

Time Spiral Release

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

I left work early yesterday with the intent of playing in the Time Spiral release tourney at Galleria. The product arrived late though, and Switch and I had to wander around Galleria for half a day before the tourney was able to begin. As witnessed in the prerelease, Time Spiral seems to be immensely popular, which means high demand and low supply of boosters for the general public. And for good reason: Time Spiral is awesome, and provides an incredibly fun (and sometimes technical) limited environment.

Nintendo DS!

| Categories: Gaming | Tags:

My brother’s back from HK tonight, so we got some new stuff. I get a 1gig Toshiba usb flash drive (my previous one was only a 256MB), and a Nintendo DS. First time playing Mario Kart since the frickin’ SNES! Woot!

Heroes

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: TV Series

_Heroes _is a new TV series by NBC, covering the stories of several people who mysteriously gain superhuman powers. I just saw the pilot… it looks promising. There’s this lady who strips online for a living, and apparently she has a murderous reflection. A guy who thinks he can fly. A painter who can create paintings of future events – but only if he’s high. A schoolgirl with an incredible healing factor.

Webcomics I Like, 2006 Edition

| Categories: Links | Tags:

I don’t really read a lot of webcomics. Well, at least not as many as some people. I generally prefer the ones with feeds. Here are the ones I follow that don’t have feeds. That is, I like them well enough to bother hitting their website to check for new comics. Sinfest – awesome. It’s like a mature Calvin and Hobbes. Only with a talking pig instead of a tiger. And ninjas.

Smallville, Season Six

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: TV Series

Yeah, Season Six started last week. The ending of season five was pretty bleak – Zod had taken over Lex Luthor’s body, Clark had been banished to the phantom zone, the whole world’s power grids had been shut down and Martha Kent and Lois Lane are on a plane that’s about to crash. I was expecting some sort of multi-episode saga at the start of season six, maybe detailing more of Kyrpton’s history (throught the phantom zone) and an epic battle of Zod-Lex vs Clark.

How to Order at Jollibee, Part 1

| Categories: Just Another Day | Tags:

Or any other fast food place really. There are a lot of people like me who view having to line up and pay for your food as a rather large inconvenience. If you’re one of us, consider the following guidelines. Know what you’re going to order. Don’t be one of those annoying people who chats with all her friends while they’re waiting in line, then when they get up to the front of the line they spend 15 minutes discussing various options with the guy behind the counter.

I Will Blog Every Day

| Categories: Meta | Tags:

I’m bored, let’s do this. I will blog every day of October. And no posting inane stuff either. Every post will have meaning. Or at least as much meaning as my previous posts have had. Enjoy!

Wanderer's Thoughts

| Categories: Just Another Day | Tags:

Late afternoon on Saturday, I was looking quite a bit more work ahead of me, an amount that would later prove to last into the early morning. For some reason or another, I was a bit out of sorts, not really into what I was doing. Not wanting to waste company time being ridiculously unproductive, I decided to take an early dinner break and wander around Ortigas Centre for a bit.

Emerging From The Darkness

| Categories: Just Another Day Philippines | Tags:

Like a howling banshee, typhoon Milenyo tore through most of Metro Manila last Thursday, leaving chaos and devastation in its’ wake. The Philippine Star’s headline was most apt: ‘Milenyo’ shuts down Metro. Literally. Most places in Luzon lost power before noon of Thursday, owing to ravaged electrical transmission lines and substations. As of last night, at most 60% of areas have had power restored. Luckily it included both my place of work and place of residence, as losing access to electricity makes me feel like a peon in the dark ages.

Yeah! Haven’t won a prerelease shirt since Odyssey, but I successfully won four edge-of-my-pants matches to take home the coveted prerelease-shirt-that’s-always-two-sizes-too-small-for-me-anyways! Man… one would think they would have shirts bigger than XXL. Lots of husky guys play Magic in the Philippines. Anyway, yeah 4-0, running a blue-white aggro-control. I opened awesome cards – Ancestral Vision, Lotus Bloom, Ith, Teferi, Whispers, etc. I was a bit worried that going UW would be a bad idea since I didn’t have access to either R or B for removal, but seems it was the right decision all along.

Guest Chair

| Categories: Links | Tags:

Today’s Dilbert Comic amuses me because I didn’t think the term “guest chair” existed outside of our office.