Looking Out Over Punta Fuego Originally uploaded by zroytang . <p> This is the photo I decided to put on the front page of http://roytang.net while I wasn't sure yet what to put there. </p> <p> We were at Punta Fuego in Batangas last Jan 30-31 for our coincidentally-coinciding-with-the-HK-Chinese-New Year-weekend annual company outing. Those who know me in person might be aware that I'm not really big on out-of-town trips.
The response of the western world to the recent backlash against published cartoon depictions of mohammed could be described as the unavoidable result of two completely distinct cultures clashing against each other. On one hand, Islam dictates that any such depiction of the prophet Mohammed are considered as blasphemy; on the other hand, Western media views it as a free speech issue; since every other religion in the world tolerates media lampooning, why shouldn’t Islam?
[ This ]1was Scott Adams’ first non-Dilbert book. If you’re used to reading Adams go on about Induhviduals and stupid managers, or if you’ve never read Adams trying / pretending to sound philosophical in one of his books, then this isn’t what you’d expect. Adams describes it as a “thought experiment” of sorts, one where he tries to provide some sort of explanation for basically life, the universe and everything. Although it’s a work of fiction, it sounds like Adams is trying to see how people will react to his form of philosophy — it seems to be one of his favorite things to do something just to provoke reactions.
In a few months people will forget anyway. Yesterday 74 people died in a tragic stampede. The reason? Crowding to get into the one-year anniversary show of a local noontime variety show. Wowowee. This is ridiculous, an obvious barometer showing how desperate many of our countrymen have become. The show was offering prizes in the form of raffle draws and contests, and many were hoping to win a house and lot or at least some cash to help them get by.
Yeah, so I was bored and went ahead and got a domain name. ^_^I’m wondering if I’ve wasted money, but webhosting is really cheap nowadays anyway. Thanks to the nice folks at pinoywebhosting.com for their quick service! Anyway, I hope you’ll pardon me if some parts of the site aren’t fully up-and-running (the about page is still the wordpress template for one), I haven’t had much time to play around with wordpress yet.
Today’s Dilbert takes the old programming truism to an extreme – “Users don’t know what they want.” Comments Comment by Greg Moreno on 2006-04-24 11:05:17 +0000 As a developer who regularly talks with users, I believe it is our responsibility to help users express what they want. This is not just about writing specs and having them sign it. It is also an issue of expections. Developers sometimes (or oftentimes?
Yeah, I haven’t been posting lately. I still have a lot of thoughts running around my head, and often throughout the day I find myself thinking, “I should post an entry about this.” But at the end of the day, I’m tired and I’m exhausted from thinking about two hundred different issues and juggling twenty different priorities, so I don’t post about it. I note it somewhere and sooner or later it becomes irrelevant and I forget why I wanted to post it in the first place.
So yeah, out of a strange mix of adventurism, inertia, coincidence and plan old boredom, I decided to install linux on this machine. At first I just wanted to see how easy the install would be, but after I nuked my Windows XP install I sort of had no turning back. (-_-!) Anyway, I went for a dual boot of Windows XP and Kubuntu, supposedly an easy-to-use Linux distro. So yeah, I even watched this video online that showed how to do the installs.
… but what the hell. I will try more new things this year.
… but I just want to see what happens now. The transition from the last year felt a bit strange to me. Usually, the new year is a time for letting go of the past, and looking ahead to a whole new future. That so perfectly described the end of the last year, as things changed around me and just naturally fell into positions where I would be able to leave them behind.
Sid Meier’s Civilization – one of the most highly-acclaimed strategy game series in existence. Any serious gamer worth his salt knows about it – whether he plays turn-based strategy games or not. And the fourth installment was eagerly awaited in our home – two out of four brothers were eager to play the latest update. And Civ4 is in many ways the same game all over again. The basic premise is still there – explore, build cities, research technologies, kick other civivlizations while they’re down, race to space, etc.
As I watched my brother playing the latest incarnation of EA’s FIFA game, I can’t help but consider that there must be a staff of developers over at EA dedicated solely to the task of churning away to release updates to EA’s flagship lines of sports games year after year. I wonder how fulfilling that kind of job actually is…
Not that it’s a bad game mind you. From the ten or so hours I’ve played it’s definitely a lot better than the previous game in the series. And the voice acting is really great this time, with a bunch of British people doing the over-the-top voices. The battle system is still a bit simplistic, and the main quest seems very straightforward. From what I’ve seen, it’s probably an above average game.
I was getting a bit bored with the place, so I spruced it up a bit, switched some colors, moved stuff around. You know, just to pretend something’s happening. And to showcase my sorely lacking UI design skills. :p Screenshot captured for posterity. I also cleaned up some of the global files that were being accessed from fateback, since I will eventually drop that host completely. Right now, the external files used by this site are hsoted on my geocities account (which I should also organize/clean up in some way.
I’m no music critic; often I can’t even carry my own tune. But I do know what I like, and I know I like the Eraserheads’ music. If you don’t know who the ‘heads are, they’re basically the Beatles of the Philippines, galvanizing the local music industry and serving as an example and inspiration to numerous other bands that followed after them. It’s only fitting then that many of the current crop of Filipino performers pay tribute to them in the form of Ultraelectromagnetic Jam.
I had three teeth taken out today, all of them deep in the bottom-left part of mouth. One of them was apparently a wisdom tooth that had lodged itself in a peculiar angle. That one required surgery (and was not covered by my health card). When you’re there, even when your mouth is numb, even if you’re not really scared or anything, once you start to feel that pressure on your jaw, you can’t help but be at least a little bit anxious.
So, my brother needed to present 20 java programs for school. He didn’t have to make them himself, he said. Just to print them out and submit them. (What kind of ridiculous compsci teacher asks for hardcopies of source instead of softcopies?) Anyway, I said, sure. I’ll make some, it’ll be easy. After all, trivial programs shouldn’t take me more than 5 minutes each right? It was true, each one didn’t take long.
Cassandra Cain was raised as an assassin. Growing up, her father never taught her to read or write, only to fight. She grew up knowing only one language – body language. Her mind processes human motions as fluently as ordinary people speak their native tongue. She can see moves before they happen or read a person’s intentions simply by following their movement patterns. She was an experiment to create the ultimate human fighting machine.
I have to work today :( And probably tomorrow and the day after as well, although both are local holidays. On what may very well become one of the company’s biggest projects I might add, if we get the contract. On an unrelated note, these filler Naruto episodes are just silly. It doesn’t make sense that Raiga, one of the Seven Shinobi Swordsmen, can be defeated by Naruto and Lee (no matter how drunk Lee is); Raiga is supposedly on par with his former comrade Kisame, who was easily able to take on two of Konoha’s jounins.
Voting for the Walk of Game is up. My votes were: Starcraft, Civilization, Final Fantasy and Street Fighter II. Also Sid Meier and the Pac-man guy. Edit: After some thought, it’s kind of silly to have a poll where you could vote everyday. There’s no chance for Pac-man to beat Final Fantasy here, as FF has an army of fanboys willing to vote everyday, and Pac-man… well, a lot of his fans might vote once buy many won’t even realize or care that they can vote again.
Here Update: Sold for the low, low price of P1500! Comments Comment by JungleDirector on 2009-01-14 01:55:41 +0000 Subj. Anybody have? I’ts better, if you have XRumer 5.04… Gimme link Thanks.
A post I made today had a 23-Oct timestamp. After some investigation, I determined it was because I had left the create post screen open in a firefox tab last 23-Oct, then closed my browser. On my next launch of firefox, the SessionSaver extension automatically reloaded my previous session, but the create post screen still had the 23-Oct date. I had to manually change the date. Note to self: Refresh the create post screen always.
(Click the thumbnail for full-size version)
I’m never really sure. I woke up this morning with a slight headache, compounding my annoying cough and colds. I’m sure I would have been able to make it to work and put on a whole day’s work, albeit probably at a less productive level. But then again, if I rest today, I may be able to put in a 110% productive day tomorrow, whereas not resting might cause me to be unproductive for more than one day.
After seemingly being the last man in the Philippines without a cellphone for so long, I broke down and bought one a couple of weeks ago. I’d post a picture, but I can’t find the digicam, and the phone can’t take a picture of itself. The 6020 itself seems pretty okay, although as a phone newbie I really have not much of a basis for comparison. The camera is nifty, but it took me a while to find a data cable for the phone.
It nevers fails, every week, around 1-2pm on a Sunday. For some unexplainable reason, an overpowering drowsiness steps in, and I must sacrifice 2-3 hours of my time to sleep. it’s not a normal sleep either, it’s the kind of sleepm that’s very hard to break. You wake up it’s 4pm, and think “There’s some stuff I have to do,” but by 5pm you’re still happily sleeping. Only happens when I’m at home though (which is most Sundays), and not just to me.
In my line of work, which is to say “large-scale database systems”, there’s always the idea of “journalling” or the “audit trail.” Basically, it means that for every transaction of significance, a record is kept of that transaction, stored in a log somewhere, so that should something malefic happen, the logs can be parsed and the trail can be followed, blame can be assigned and countermeasures can be taken. Okay, that’s not really limited to large-scale database systems.
A friend of mine said, “It’s for die-hard fans only.” He’s right. Luckily, there are roughly seventy trillion die-hard FF7 fans. And I doubt they will be disappointed. Advent Children is a DVD-movie about the events that happen two years after the events of the game. Some of the story-related parts might get you a bit sleepy, especially if you weren’t particularly fond of the whole Reunion/Jenova/planet thing from Final Fantasy VII, but that’s okay because…
I’ve never really read much Neil Gaiman before — I’m not a particular fan of the Sandman series, for which he is most known. But I know some people who are big fans, so I respect his work at least. Neverwhere is only the second Gaiman book I’ve read (well, third maybe, I think I read that thing he co-wrote about the apocalypse), and I’m pretty much satisfied so far.
I saw an interview with Manny Pacquiao on Rated K, apparently after his celebrated win last Sunday. Korina referred to him as a millionaire because of his share from the match, but Manny said he’s going to be giving a lot of it away. People told him to donate to Katrina, but he says there are also a lot of needy people in his own country so he’s giving to them first.
Sorry about the title. I couldn’t find any succinct way to put it. Anyway, yeah. I’m supposed to be trying to get a phone. People have been harassing me for years about the fact that I don’t have a phone. Since my vacation is already half-wasted already, I figure I’d go online and get some info on what phone I’d buy. Now, bear with me a bit, I’m really stupid when it comes to phones, since I’ve practically never owned one.
It may very well have been a mistake. Buying and installing World of Warcraft on the first day of my leave, that is. Now I spend some 3-4 hours daily on the addictive beast. It’s hard to stop! In case you haven’t heard, World of Warcraft is Blizzard’s MMORPG take on it’s famous RTS series, and it’s one helluva good game. It looks excellent, the gameplay is terrific, people don’t seem to be assholes, etc.
One of the things I’ve been wanting to do during this hiatus was to watch more movies — we’ve got a ton of DVDs downstairs I haven’t seen yet. Since I had just finished the fifth book of Stephen King’s western fantasy, I started this task with Sergio Leone’s western opus, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. I haven’t watched many westerns before. This is probably the first one I completed.
_ “There will be water if ka wills it.” – Roland of Gilead _ I had a Powerbooks gift certificate the other week, and the Powerbooks at Megamall happened to have a sale, so I took a look around. And lo, I was lucky enough to find a copy of the fifth book of Stephen King’s epic western fantasy, The Dark Tower. It was a huge book, larger than my copies of the first four, but with the same cover style and by the same publisher, so it was the copy I wanted.
My hiatus involves quite a bit of TV of course, especially since I get some idle time while waiting for installations/formatting/downloads to finish. Today, for the first time in maybe twenty years, I saw an exciting action-packed episode of the A-Team! For those not in the know, the A-Team was a bunch of rogue ex-commandos who usually acted as mercs, fighting for good, beating bad guys and saving the day. In the parlance of Roland of Gilead, gunslingers.
Bought a brand-spankin’ new 160GB hard drive yesterday. Seagate Barracuda 7200. Yessir, ups the total hard drive capacity at home to 240 gigs, I hope we don’t fill it up too fast. Moved the 40GB hard drive on the primary computer to the secondary (for a total of 80 on the secondary), and installed the new one on the primary. My brother Alvin was working with me on this, and it took us a better part of three hours to get the connection right (one of the casings wasn’t very agreeable)
Freedom from work at least. I’ve been meaning to take a two-week leave since late last year, but never found a chance. Now is the perfect time, just before I jump full-swing into the next large project (which may or may not be confidential in nature) So, no thinking about work for two weeks, unless they call me in for an emergency :( What stuff do I have planned? I’m not skipping town or anything.
As you may have heard, Google Talk is up. The client looks neat and all, but there’s not much reason for most people to start using it. Sure, the voice chat thing is neat, but I know that Yahoo Messenger supports it, and probably some of the others do? Otherwise, the client seems awfully thin. Simple, like Google, but it needs to be a lot more than that to make a difference.
I’m thinking of getting some webhosting. Not that I’m unsatisfied with my free webhosting and Blogger mind you, but sometimes I just get the urge to do some server-side chicanery. Mandatory: PHP/mySQL Good service, tech support, fast response time No-hassle payments (which means I prefer local, I don’t want to have to pay through credit cards or anything) Of course, a good deal on space, bandwidth, reliability, etc. Optional:
I’ve known of Markku Seguerra’s rebelpixel website for a while, having enjoyed his constant stream of OPM-friendly lyrics section. Today, I came upon his blog post about his band with some Pisay 96 batchmates. Their band is Pop Ratio, and he’s made available some original tracks and also some covers on his website. They’re pretty okay, you might want to listen to a few. I know some of my own batchmates are active in bands, I wonder if I can get any (free) samples of their music?
My brother estimates we have at least a hundred pirated copies of PS2 games. (Please don’t lecture me in any way on piracy, I’ve said my piece before.) In any case, we have spent at least ten thousand pesos (roughly two hundred american) on pirated PS2 games. And out of those hundred copies, some games we have two or three copies of (due to the problems generally associated with illegal copies); Out of all those pirated games, I’d make a conservative estimate that at least 20 games were actually playably good.
Yeah, so there. It was an impromptu hiatus anyway. Unplanned and whatever. Work has been hell lately. Not a tedious kind of hell though. Just the sort that sucks up a lot of time. I spent more than 15 hours in the office on my birthday. Twenty-seven huh? I wish I had more to say, but birthdays seem to matter less and less as I get older. I’m in a good place right now, but I’m still not where I ultimately want to be.
Or so the paper says. The Philippine Daily Inquirer had an article today about Oracle targetting local SMEs. Apparently they have an advantage because they use “the Linux shareware.” Too bad I can’t find the article online.
I remember the atmosphere at UP around the time of the infamous second evelope at Erap’s trial. Even the normally apathetic Engineering students were being woken out of their political stupor by outrage at the turn of events by the Estrada-friendly senators. Everywhere you go in UP, people would be asking you if you were coming to the big rally on EDSA. Today? Today, the conversations are like this: “Mag-gimik dapat kami bukas sa Makati eh… “
Should I get a Hipster PDA? I’m thinking about it. Or something similar. Not really for organizing tasks and stuff. Only for jotting down temporary things when away from a computer. So I can remember them later. I often think up incredibly clever world-shaking ideas while commuting, it would be nice to remember all of them. I still largely prefer the advantages of electronic storage: cut/paste functionality, easy to make backups/copies, distribution, easily searchable etc.
One word: Suxxor. Well, not really. It’s okay I guess. When I first heard they were making a Fantastic Four movie, my first reaction was, “Uh… that can’t be good.” The plot is barely servicable… the thing that really made me think “suxxor” was how Victor von Doom’s role was handled. I mean, in the comics, Doom was a monarch, ruler of Latveria. He wasn’t a madman bent on revenge. He was a madman bent on world domination!
I was going to ahead and break my blog silence on the whole Gloriagate thing, but I realized I should read the whole transcript at PCIJ first, boring as it is. That way, I can at least say I’m basing my opinions on known facts unlike roughly 90% of the rest of the participants in this debacle. I went through it in about thirty minutes, skimming most and picking out only the parts that seemed most interesting, and skipping anything that was too vague or that I didn’t strictly understand the mechanics of.
Radio is so primitive. You can’t skip songs, you can’t get to listen to a single track repeatedly, you can’t jump to random tracks, you can’t listen to only artists that have songs about Superman. Listening to random music some random guy thinks you will like, with no guarantee of whether he actually knows your taste or not. Granted, you can increase that likelihood by listening to the right station, but unless we had one station for every person, it’s impossible for the radio station to fully satisfy your tastes.
Awesome. Definitely better than the all the other Batman movies. This movie is no kids’ movie either. The movie is less about Batman’s crimefighting adventures and more about Bruce Wayne’s journey from being a angry, confused rich orphan to the billionaire playboy/costumed vigilante popularized by the earlier films. The movie captures the essence of Batman’s character perfectly. It’s all about fear — Bruce overcoming his fear of bats and eventually turning that fear into a symbol to strike terror into the hearts of criminals.