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

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Django and Google App Engine

| Categories: Software Development | Tags:

In my continuing quest to become better than everybody else, I spent some time today learning Django (a Python webapp framework) and the Google App Engine. I tried following the tutorials included in the Django Book for a while, but I’ve never taken too well with just typing up examples from a book, so I decided to write something from scratch. I decided to write a simple message board application.

PTQ Berlin II

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

2nd PTQ was last Saturday, August 23 at Robinson’s Calleria. I brought a slightly modified version of the greedy deck: Lands 2 Mutavault 4 Reflecting Pool 4 Secluded Glen 3 Sunken Ruins 4 Vivid Creek 2 Vivid Marsh 3 Wanderwine Hub 2 Mystic Gate Creatures 4 Merrow Reejerey 2 Mirror Entity 4 Silvergill Adept 4 Stonybrook Banneret 4 Sower of Temptation Other Spells 4 Bitterblossom 4 Cryptic Command 4 Nameless Inversion 3 Unmake 3 Sage's Dousing Sideboard 2 Shriekmaw 2 Crib Swap 2 Pollen Lullaby 2 Hallowed Burial 4 Wispmare 3 Vendillion Clique The venue is crowded as the PTQ is the same day as WoW TCG Nationals.

I needed to transfer a file to my phone today, but could not find my USB cable. I figured I’d try out the Bluetooth with the laptop. After around 30 minutes of struggling with the unintuitiveness and some helpful googling I finally was able to transfer my file using the ff steps, for future reference: Turn on Bluetooth on the Acer Aspire using the Bluetooth button. Right-click the Bluetooth icon on the systray -> Show Bluetooth Devices -> Options -> tick “Allow Bluetooth devices to find this computer”

Barcamp Manila

| Categories: Software Development | Tags:

Upon the prodding of Mikong, I attended the recent Barcamp Manila held in Ortigas last Thursday. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, as I’ve never attended any such conference before, and I’ve never been particularly involved with the local developer community, but I said I’d go anyway, I figured it’d probably be fun. The event was held at the Orient Square building at the offices of Exist Global and Morph Labs, who sponsored the event.

PTQ Berlin I

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

The tournament was last Saturday, Aug 16 at Robinson’s Galleria. I played the same deck as last week, except I had the following sideboard: 2 Hallowed Burial 2 Shriekmaw 2 Eyeblight's Ending 2 Crib Swap 2 Pollen Lullaby 4 Wispmare 1 Jace Beleren The extra removal was geared towards the kithkin matchup, which was unknown to me at the time.

2008 Philippine Open Block *Top 16*

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

The Philippine Open tournaments (one Standard and one Block) are held as side events to the Philippine Nationals. (I was not qualified obviously). I played in the block portion last Saturday, August 9 at Robinson’s Galleria. I played a version of the PWC Special from GP Kobe, the so-called “Greedy Deck” Lands 2 Mutavault 3 Reflecting Pool 3 Secluded Glen 4 Sunken Ruins 4 Vivid Creek 2 Vivid Marsh 3 Wanderwine Hub 2 Mystic Gate 1 Swamp Creatures 4 Merrow Reejerey 3 Mirror Entity 4 Silvergill Adept 4 Sower of Temptation 4 Stonybrook Banneret Other Spells 4 Bitterblossom 4 Cryptic Command 4 Nameless Inversion 2 Peppersmoke 3 Sage's Dousing Sideboard 2 Austere Command 1 Jace Beleren 1 Puppeteer Clique 1 Arbiter of Knollridge 4 Wispmare 2 Pollen Lullaby 2 Eyeblight's Ending 2 Shriekmaw As usual, assembled the day before with zero playtesting.

Google Code Jam 2008

| Categories: Software Development | Tags:

I joined this year’s Google Code Jam. It’s part of my characteristic competitiveness and arrogance that I actually imagined I had a chance at winning the contest. No such luck, see my results. I was eliminated in the second online round. That I managed to get there at all was surprising considering the level of difficulty. I’m not really a com-sci guy, so I’m weak with regards to algorithms, I don’t always know what the best approach for particular classes of problems – I usually just brute force it then try to optimize based on my on-the-spot analysis of each problem.

Eventide Release Party

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

A bit late, but for the record I went 1-3 in the Eventide Release Party with my very lame pool. (I swear, I get Dramatic Entrance all the time in sealed!) After the release event, I played in an EVE-EVE-EVE draft, where I went 2-1 and didn’t manage to raredraft anything valuable. Tomorrow: Philippine Open (Block)!

Catching Up

| Categories: Gaming Just Another Day | Tags:

I’ve been submerged in work for the past two weeks or so, not having much time to do anything else aside from work and the DS, which lets me sneak in some Professor Layton, FFTA2 or Civilization Revolutions while waiting for bug fixes to be confirmed. So I took a break this weekend and won’t be reporting back to work until Wednesday. No plans really, just some unplanned downtime to unwind a bit…

GMail Redesigned

| Categories: Tech Life | Tags:

I came across the Stylish Firefox Extension, and the GMail Redesigned project, which gives the GMail user interface a sleek facelift. [ ]3 _ (I’m not sure if it was necessary to blot out the names of contacts!) _

Eventide Prerelease

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

It’s been three whole weeks since I last managed to attend a Magic tournament. Despite the hectic work schedule and the fact that spoilers have failed to impress me, I managed to wrangle a Saturday off to hit Robinson’s Galleria for the Eventide Prerelease. So we show up early and join the first flight. I open and register a Shadowmoor tournament pack with next to nothing in terms of decent cards.

New WordPress Theme -- Thematic

| Categories: Meta | Tags: wordpress

Changed to Thematic  zroytang : yung current na wordpress theme ko parang ang crowded (Anonymous) : baka it's the font... or less ugn spacing zroytang : papagalitan mo ko pag pinalitan ko e zroytang : haha (Anonymous) : haha hindi naman a (Anonymous) : sabihin ko lang na you're fickle like a girl (Anonymous) : haha zroytang : tsk! (Anonymous) : it's nice to be female.

The Folly of Optical Media

| Categories: Just Another Day | Tags:

I find myself staring at stacks of old CD-Rs in my room that are just there taking up space. As far as I know, they contain copies of old TV series/anime I used to watch and backups of my old hard drives from time long past. (I’m pretty sure I still have backups of my drive contents from the IRC laboratory in UP.) I’m wondering whether I should bother going through them to check which ones are already useless (as some certainlty already are).

Flocking

| Categories: Tech Life | Tags:

I’m not sure why but I decided to try out the Flock 2 web browser beta, the “social web browser” built on top of Firefox. This is a test actually. Flock’s blog post dialog doesn’t seem to provide any category support (it supports tags instead), so I want to see what category this post would go under. (Update: Flock let me choose a category after I try to publish the post.

Movies -- June 2008

| Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: Movies

This has been a good month for movies. I saw the following in cinemas: Kung Fu Panda – complete AWESOMENESS. I drank the Kool-Aid all the way on this one. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – classic Indy goodness. Incredible Hulk – Edward Norton is cast brilliantly here, a choice on the same level as Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man. And they addressed the issue of Hulk’s stretchy pants!

A Week So Far With Vista

| Categories: Tech Life | Tags:

The gist of it is: it wasn’t as annoying as I had been led to expect. Frankly, I think it’s better than XP, but I might be blinded by the fact that it’s very pretty. Visually it’s a step up from XP the same way XP was a step up from ‘95. The XP box at work seems so bland to me now. The file manager (Explorer) is very nice, I like the functionality of being able to navigate the address bar by mouse click (though I never used this back in Ubuntu) and the ability to sort files even in thumbnail view.

New Laptop!

| Categories: Tech Life | Tags:

Just a bit of an indulgence. There was a warehouse sale at the office building from Tuesday to Friday. Like every single time I would make a big purchase I waffled undecisively between buying and not buying a laptop for the first four days, only to succumb at the very last minute when a model with an insane price became available. On 7:30pm of the last day of the sale, I picked up an Acer Aspire 4920 unit with the following specs:

Opera 9.5

| Categories: Tech Life | Tags:

Because I’m a sucker for trying out alternative software, I installed and tried out the latest release of the Opera web browser, Opera 9.5, for a bit more than a week. Opera is neat and all, but I don’t see any features that are so awesome that they can’t be done in Firefox (with some extensions maybe). My favorite feature is I guess the Speed Dial page; where opening a new tab displays a customizable table of common websites you visit.

Grand Prix Trial Manila IV

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

The tournament was Sunday, June 15. The format was of course Block Constructed. I was playing the same Commandments deck as the day before, except I managed to get the second Mind Spring (taking out the Fathom Trawl). During last minute playtesting on Sunday morning I also decided to take out the Plumeveils from the board (they were redundant with Nameless Inversion) and put in Faerie Macabres to help the Elemental matchup.

Block 14-June-2008

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

The tournament was last Staurday, 14-June and the format wasLorwyn/Shadowmoor Block Constructed. I had been having a bad constructed record over the past few tournaments, so I thought I’d play in one of the smaller tournaments before heading into another GPT. I didn’t want to play Kithkin (too random) or Faeries (not enough components). I though I would go for control instead and thus assembled the following Commandments decklist: Lands 2 Forest 3 Island 3 Reflecting Pool 1 Primal Beyond 4 Vivid Grove 4 Vivid Creek 2 Vivid Meadow 3 Mystic Gate 2 Sunken Ruins 1 Fire-Lit Thicket 1 Wooded Bastion Creatures 4 Mulldrifter 3 Shriekmaw 3 Cloudthresher 1 Plumeveil 1 Horde of Notions 4 Kitchen Finks 16 creatures Spells 4 Firespout 4 Cryptic Command 3 Broken Ambitions 2 Austere Command 3 Makeshift Mannequin 1 Mind Spring 1 Fathom Trawl 18 spells Sideboard 2 Nameless Inversion 2 Mind Shatter 2 Primal Command 3 Plumeveil 3 Jace Beleren 3 Pollen Lullaby Round 1: Mirror match!

links for 2008-06-16

| Categories: Links | Tags:

diesel sweeties: free, creative commons licensed webcomics ebooks The first 2000 strips of Diesel Sweeties have been released as cc-licensed ebooks. (tags: comics web)  

Google Treasure Hunt

| Categories: Software Development | Tags:

Google started a treasure hunt about a month ago, releasing four questions (one per week) that covered a range of computational topics. I actually joined the treasure hunt late, the 2nd question was already released by the time I got wind of it. The site says there are prizes to be won for the people who are able to provide complete answers first; I’m not sure what my odds of winning anything are since (a) I joined late and (b) I can only do the questions during the weekends, typically a few days after they are released.

Draftaganza June 7 2008

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

The place was NG Galleria, the format was booster draft, three rounds of Lorwyn-Lorwyn-Morningtide followed by three rounds of Shadowmoor-Shadowmoor-Shadowmoor. I went in a bit confident; I had a drafted a couple of times in the past month with decent results (2-1 and 3-1), so I figured I could probably manage at least a 4-2 here or better. I was quite wrong. For the LLM draft, I went with a Treefolk-based build around Battlewand Oaks.

So I saw _Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull _last Friday. Two days later I also watched for the first time _Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

_

Instead of doing a lame movie review, here’s a double header feature!

(Warning: Spoilers for both movies follow)

links for 2008-06-03

| Categories: Links | Tags:

Yahoo UI Library (tags: javascript framework web) YUI: Rich Text Editor for WordPress Plugin (tags: wordpress plugin yui)  

links for 2008-06-02

| Categories: Links | Tags:

30 Websites to follow if you’re into Web Development -- Six Revisions (tags: articles webdesign) blueprintcss -- Google Code (tags: css framework) YouTube -- Developing and deploying an application on Google App Engine (tags: framework web cool)  

Netdecking

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

There was a recent thread over on the Neutral Grounds forums about how Filipino MTG players often “netdeck” or use decklists off the internet. To anyone who starts playing MTG, the ability to build your own decks has always been one of the primary appeals. For this reason, every MTG player would like to think that they have in themselves some level of deckbuilding “skills” and that using netdecks should be treated as a loss of pride in one’s own work.

Above Average

| Categories: Self-Improvement | Tags:

Above average – a level of competency at a given subject such that: You are good enough that average people look at your work and tell you “You’ve got a lot of talent!” You are good enough that you know there’s a huge gap between you and those who are truly excellent. I was wondering the other day whether being above average was a curse. It’s like being good enough to be in movies, but never good enough to be the star.

links for 2008-05-26

| Categories: Links | Tags:

Gamasutra -- An Achievement-Centered Online CCG? Designing Kongai Nice game design article by David Sirlin. (tags: gamedev GameDesign)  

Grand Prix Trial Manila I

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

The GPT was today: Sunday, 25-May-2008 as Robinson’s Galleria. I’m sad that the GPTs are all scheduled on Sundays. The deck I brought: Creatures 3 Elvish Hexhunter 4 Safehold Elite 4 Wren's Run Vanquisher 4 Imperious Perfect 4 Kitchen Finks 4 Wilt-Leaf Cavaliers 3 Jagged-Scar Archers 3 Wilt-Leaf Liege 2 Heartmender 2 Oversoul of Dusk Spells 4 Shield of the Oversoul Lands 23 Forest Sideboard 2 Cloudthresher 2 Chameleon Colossus 4 Mercy Killing 3 Tower Above 2 Primal Command 2 Gleeful Sabotage I felt unsure bringing in this deck (or any other deck actually).

Saturday Triple SHM Draft -- May 24

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

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.

Some Fun Homebrew NDS Apps

| Categories: Gaming | Tags:

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

| Categories: Meta | Tags:

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

Predictions for Pro Tour Hollywood

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

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

| Categories: Meta | Tags:

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 2008

| Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

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

links for 2008-05-16

| Categories: Links | Tags:

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)  

OpenOffice Calc 2.4 vs Microsoft Excel

| Categories: Tech Life | Tags:

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.