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

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GPT Syndey -- Coldsnap Sealed

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

Wanting to catch the last RGD Sealed tourney of the season, I headed out to NG Galleria today for GPT Sydney. Unfortunately, their shipment of Rav tourney packs failed to arrive, so anyone who wanted to play had to play Coldsnap Sealed. Bah, I got a terrible set, one of my rares was a Jokulmorder. Went RG/w, with the white being two Gelid Shackles that failed to show up whenever I faced down an Adarkar Valkyrie.

Will Lend Money For Food

| Categories: Just Another Day | Tags:

About a month ago, one of the devs at my company approached me with a personal concern: he needed to borrow some cash. Quite a bit, actually, for some expensive medical / family reason. Large amount, six digits (in pesos), roughly two-thirds of my current cash savings (To save you the math… my cash savings were somewhere between 150,000 and 1.5M). Funny thing is, I didn’t hesitate a bit. I knew this guy and he was okay, I didn’t have any reason to doubt he’d pay me back in a month like he promised (it’s due in about a week.

Nintendo DS

| Categories: Gaming | Tags:

In the current handheld wars, I’ve sampled both the PSP and the Nintendo DS, and I have to say, I’m much more impressed with the DS. The PSP seems to be a very serious device, as if you tried to cram a PS2 into a handheld and toss in a media player alongside. The DS on the other hand, is _ just plain fun _ . Since we’ve been putting in a lot of long hours at work lately, one of our developers had the bright idea to bring his DS to the office.

Coldsnap Sealed

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

I came home at 3am yesterday after a long day at work Saturday. I was a bit sleepy, but because of work I wouldn’t be able to play in the Coldsnap-standard Magic tournament on the 26th, so I decided to blow some cash by playing in a Coldsnap release event on MTGO instead. I managed to win five consecutive rounds of Coldsnap sealed, piloting a mediocre decklist. Mediocre meaning I had neither Adarkar Valkyrie nor Ohran Viper.

Nationals Qualifier, July 30, 2006

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

I was busy this weekend with Magic: The Gathering. Four of us from the office played at a Nationals Qualifer today at Galleria. I played a custom-built aggro-control blue-white beauty called Azorius-12. Considering that I threw it together at practically the last minute, I think I did fairly well (but not enough to get the Nationals invite). Large turnout; rumor has it more than a hundred and thirty players participated, and NG quickly ran out of chairs and tables to use.

Potpourri

| Categories: Just Another Day | Tags:

One of the first things I assume when I have headaches is that, “Maybe I’m developing telepathic powers.” At least, I would assume that people developing telepathic powers have some sort of growing pains that could be misconstrued as headaches. Unfortunately, I still don’t seem to have such powers and the head pains and dizziness I’ve been experiencing since Friday were just a sympton of something far more common – seems I got the flu, known in local parlance as trangkaso.

My Job, Such As It Is

| Categories: Software Development | Tags:

Nice post on Salary Averages Comparison over at the Pinoy Tech Blog. It got me thinking about my own job. I work at a foreign-based software development company that caters to clients outside the country. These days, I work mostly on JSP-based web projects. My starting salary, three and a half years ago, was higher than the average presented in this graph. Obviously, I’m earning a lot more than that now.

Del.icio.us bookmarks for 2006-06-24

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Shared bookmarks for del.icio.us user roytang on 2006-06-24 How to Report Bugs Effectively — Tagged as: articles programming Salary Averages Comparison — Pinoy Tech Blog – The Philippines’ Premier Technology Blog — Tagged as: articles industry

Magic -- Regionals 2006

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

I played at Robinson’s Galleria last Saturday. So much for my first constructed outing in 10 years… not a very good outcome for me. I played 4-color Firemane Control… no permission, but lots of life gain and 4 Wrath of Gods packed maindeck, a specifically anti-aggro build. I was anticipating lots of Gruul beats and Orzhov aggro decks, and I was ready to beat them to the ground. Unfortunately, I faced not a single one of those decks.

Driving in Taiwan and the Philippines

| Categories: Philippines | Tags:

I read this awesome article on driving in Taiwan , apparently written by an American living in Taiwan. Lots of pictures, and very descriptive. I suppose any foreigners coming to the Philippines would say that the situation in Metro Manila is pretty much the same as the one outlined in the article, but after I read it I can’t help but feel that it’s just a little bit worse over there.

PTQ-Kobe

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

So, I played at PTQ Kobe at Robinson’s Galleria last Saturday. First things first: First thing I do when I get passed a Ravnica Block sealed deck is to check the decklist to see if I got passed a shockland. Incredibly, I was passed not just one, but two! That in itself paid for the registration fee, but I still wanted to get a decent finish in the PTQ. Unfortunately, aside from the Temple Garden and the Blood Crypt, I didn’t get that many “wow” cards.

Suikoden V -- Review

| Categories: Gaming | Tags:

Suikoden V is hands-down the best game in the Suikoden series. In almost all respects, it beats out the previous best game of the series (Suikoden 2): The story manages to follow the old pattern of “oh I need to flee my home and now I’m leading a band of rebels in a civil war!” but infuses with a lot of new elements: usurpers to the throne, historical wars of succession, threats of foreign invasion.

X-Men III: The Last Stand

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: Movies

There’s only one thing I have to say about the third X-men movie: Totally unexpected. Comic book series fans will enjoy it more, as it fundamentally screws with what such a fan would expect from an X-men movie. Good stuff.

Del.icio.us bookmarks for 2006-05-25

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Shared bookmarks for del.icio.us user roytang on 2006-05-25 The Programmers’ Booklist — Tagged as: books cool Ultimate Utopia XXIII – Google Video — Tagged as: games videos

Developer Assessment

| Categories: Software Development | Tags:

I always have a hard time assessing fellow developers. For one thing, I’m never sure whether it’s fair to apply to other people the same internal standard I have for myself. Some people might say, “of course it’s fair to expect as much from other people as yourself!”, but the fact is that I’m not even sure if I expect too much from myself. I may like to project and arrogant and prideful exterior, but I’m extremely self-critical.

DaVinci Code

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: Movies

I’m not sure what some Church leaders are thinking. Calling for an outright ban on _The DaVinci Code _movie just makes it more popular. At the very least, it’s insulting to the intelligence of their flock – are they saying Catholics don’t have the ability to distinguish fact from fiction by themselves? But then again, this is a nation of Catholics who tend to elect action stars to high office because of all the goody-goody roles they portray in the movies, so maybe the priests have some sort of point.

Other People's Toilets

| Categories: Just Another Day | Tags:

Whenever I’m at other people’s houses, I often think their toilets are better than the ones we have at home. Don’t get me wrong, our toilets are nice enough; good, decent middle class toilets. But some people’s toilets look like they’ve never been used at all.

Pop-Culture Consumer Whore

| Categories: Just Another Day | Tags:

Sometimes it’s frightening to consider the existent of how much popular culture consumes our time. Most weekends I usually manage to reserve some time for some sort of learning, but over the last 48 hours, aside from work, my time has been swallowed by: Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett Episode 21 of Smallville Season 5 Episodes 18 and 19 of Simpsons Season 17 8 hours of Suikoden V gameplay … and probably 2-3 odd hours of watching random cartoons or wrestling on TV Hmm… I forgot to watch a movie though.

Takeshi's Castle

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: TV Series

A very nice person handed me a CD with four episodes of Takeshi’s Castle on it, and I had to keep myself from watching them while at work, as I was getting my officemates distracted. If you’ve never seen samples of wacky Japanese TV before, Takeshi’s Castle is a good start. This wacky Japanese show throws a bunch of a hundred or so contestants into a series of ridiculous games, each one hoping to make it to the end to defeat Count Takeshi and win one million yen!

Bathtubs are hard to use.

| Categories: Just Another Day | Tags:

I feel compelled to post this, in case I ever need to remember. We spent last Sunday and Monday (Labor Day holiday) at a five-star hotel in Manila. My mom works there and she earned a free night’s stay; so we took advantage of her employee discount as well. Not really very exciting for me, as there’s seldom much to do in a hotel except to enjoy the air-conditioned room and watch TV.

GMail raises the bar for everyone

| Categories: Software Development | Tags:

So I was at work, and one of the HK guys asks me if we can have a themed button for the file input control in one of our screens. So, I’m all “alpha geek” and stuff, and I go: “No we can’t. We can’t style the ‘Browse’ button directly, and IE will throw an Access Denied error on submit if we invoke the click() method using Javascript.” But HK guy replies: “Gee, I wonder how GMail does it then.

Yahoo Mail Beta

| Categories: Tech Life | Tags:

I tried the new Yahoo Mail Beta for a while, but I decided to switch back just now. Short review: it’s nice looking, but feels a tad sluggish. Well, sluggish compared to gmail at least. The biggest problem is that scrollbar in the message list. It’s like promising that you can scroll through all your messages, but when you try to scroll to a far away part of the list, you just get a lot of “Loading… ” text.

Del.icio.us bookmarks for 2006-04-23

| Categories: Links | Tags:

Shared bookmarks for del.icio.us user roytang on 2006-04-23 How to destroy the Earth @ Things Of Interest — Tagged as: cool humor diesel sweeties: pixelated robot romance web comic & t-shirt party — Tagged as: webcomics

Priest / Stand-up Comic

| Categories: Just Another Day | Tags:

Usually, whenever a Catholic priest gives a homily during Mass, he stands behind a pulpit and generally act like they’re making a speech. At the place where I go to Mass, the priests prefer to stand in front of the altar, closer to the audience, holding a microphone in their hands and pacing around a bit during the homily. I remarked to my brother during the Easter Sunday mass: “I bet priests would make great stand-up comics.

The Four Agreements

| Categories: Self-Improvement | Tags:

the four agreements, don miguel ruiz book – a code for life and personal development ** agreement 1 ** Be impeccable with your word – Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love. ** agreement 2 ** Don’t take anything personally – Nothing others do is because of you.

Del.icio.us bookmarks for 2006-04-19

| Categories: Links | Tags:

Shared bookmarks for del.icio.us user roytang on 2006-04-19 Floatutorial: Step by step CSS float tutorial — Tagged as: coding css design web Recording Industry vs The People — Tagged as: music politics tech JavaScript RegExp Example: Regular Expression Tester — Tagged as: coding javascript

Recording Industry vs The People

| Categories: Tech Life | Tags:

There are a handful of issues that would influence the general direction of the human race in years to come. Terrorism, oil scarcity, trade imbalances and worldwide poverty come to mind, and these are the ones most commonly discussed in mainstream media. There is however, another important battle being waged that is far removed from the minds of the everyday person. That battle is Recording Industry vs The People. Some of the posts at the above blog are awesome reads and point to an alarming pattern of abuse of the United States’ judicial system by large corporations with armies of lawyers at their disposal waging a war against ordinary American citizens.

Del.icio.us bookmarks for 2006-04-14

| Categories: Links | Tags:

Shared bookmarks for del.icio.us user roytang on 2006-04-14 YouTube – darth vader police japan — Tagged as: funny starwars videos Comments Comment by reiji on 2006-04-16 04:26:04 +0000 There’s a suiko 5 already? One of the last games I’ve played (before I’ve retired from gaming) was Suikoden 2… speaking of, heavily scripted games such as Xenosaga can be a bit of turn off too… 🙂 Comment by Roy on 2006-04-16 05:02:32 +0000 Yeap, Suiko 5 was released just last week.

Confessional Thoughts

| Categories: Just Another Day | Tags:

I wonder if the Catholic Church considers piracy as a sin… at least one that I should be confessing to a priest during er… confession. If so, I suppose I have more than ten years’ worth of piracy-related sins to confess. Yeah, I go to confession. Once a year, around the Holy Week period usually. Once a year is the minimum frequency required by the Catholic Church, but I wonder how many observe it?

Contrast: Suikoden V vs Baldur's Gate 2

| Categories: Gaming | Tags:

One would think it an unfair comparision, seeing as how BG2 is at least 5 years older that Suiko5. But BG2 holds up pretty well, I end having a mental coin toss as to which game I will play at any one time. They both have their merits. Suiko5 Pros: Awesome story, lots of background and character depth. Cons: Extremely narrow gameplay, heavily scripted. Hero looks girly. Status: 12 hours in.

Suikoden V -- Beginning

| Categories: Gaming | Tags:

_ (My previous practice was never to post an entry about a game until I’d finished it. This was a good idea during those days that I had a lot of free time and could finish the average RPG in a week. I haven’t been in that state for four years.) _ My brother warned me that according to reviews, the first eight hours or so of Suikoden V were quite draggy.

Del.icio.us bookmarks for 2006-04-06

| Categories: Links | Tags:

Shared bookmarks for del.icio.us user roytang on 2006-04-06 How I won the Mid-Atlantic regionals with my Song of Blood Deck How I won the Mid-Atlantic regionals with my Song of Blood Deck — Tagged as: magicthegathering

Del.icio.us bookmarks for 2006-04-05

| Categories: Links | Tags:

Shared bookmarks for del.icio.us user roytang on 2006-04-05 How I Work: Bill Gates – Apr. 4, 2006 — Tagged as: articles lifehacks How to be Lucky: ProBlogger Blog Tips — Tagged as: lifehacks

Del.icio.us bookmarks for 2006-04-02

| Categories: Links | Tags:

Shared bookmarks for del.icio.us user roytang on 2006-04-02 Why specs matter [dive into mark] — Tagged as: articles development How to Have a 36 Hour Day — Tagged as: lifehacks Qooqle Video — Tagged as: videos Anytime is the Right Time to Start a Company – Blue Flavor — Tagged as: articles entrepreneurship Developer Testing, Discussions about Software Quality — Tagged as: developertesting programming

Ubuntu Desktop 01-Apr-2006

| Categories: Tech Life | Tags:

Ubuntu Desktop Originally uploaded by zroytang . I’m getting a lot more comfortable with Ubuntu… I spent about half an hour today customizing the environment and setting up some stuff. I can do my downloading in Ubuntu now; I just need to set up some sort of shared FAT32 partition that both WinXP and Ubuntu can access for easy transfer between the two OS. (Currently, Ubuntu only has read-only access to the NTFS file system)

I Need To Be More Cunning

| Categories: Just Another Day | Tags:

Yesterday, the guard at my office building pissed me off quite a bit. He refused to let me in because I was wearing slippers! Since we dress casually on Saturdays, very so often I like to wear slippers to work, especially when I’m feeling too lazy to put on socks. They never gave me any trouble before, so I argued with the guard for a bit. Stubborn-headed, he still wouldn’t let me in.

Radio Station Top Ten Lists

| Categories: Just Another Day | Tags:

I’ve always been suspicious of radio station top ten lists, assuming they are predetermined marketing scams and not really based on actual listener requests. When I was in high school I wanted to put this theory to the test by having a whole lot of people call one station and request a really old song – my choice at the time was “Hey Jude” by the Beatles. Unfortunately, my plan fell through because I could not gather the critical mass needed to accomplish it.

Del.icio.us bookmarks for 2006-03-26

| Categories: Links | Tags:

Shared bookmarks for del.icio.us user roytang on 2006-03-26 Main Page – Wikiquote — Tagged as: quotes Zen is Boring! — Tagged as: articles psychology zen FORTUNE: Secrets of greatness: How I work – Mar. 16, 2006 — Tagged as: articles lifehacks Be smarter at work, slack off – Mar. 17, 2006 — Tagged as: articles lifehacks How to make a custom TV-torrent feed · TorrentFreak, torrents and more —

Ballmer, Bemused -- Forbes.com

| Categories: Tech Life | Tags:

Ballmer, Bemused – Forbes.com An interview with Steve Ballmer – a lot of “Microsoft is cool” gibberish, but one nice quote stands out for me: Forbes.com: Right now, I can go out and get a free alternative to just about every product Microsoft sells. Why do people keep paying you for something they could get free? Ballmer: One, people value their time. Our stuff does more, and they like that.

Grand Prix Manila

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags: grand-prix Limited

Can you find me in the picture? Originally uploaded by zroytang. Maybe it's just me, but Wizard's coverage of Grand Prix Manila last weekend seems just a tad condescending to Filipino Magic players. Not that we mind, after all, local bets actually did kick ass and shrugged off the Japanese invasion. If you are in fact a Filipino Magic player, then I hope you know what I’m talking about – last weekend at the Robinson’s Galleria Trade Hall, almost four hundred local and foreign Magic: The Gathering players gathered for the third-ever Grand Prix event held in Manila.