Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

Blog Photos Links Archives About

Blog: Traditional blog posts, usually longer than other types, with a title. You can subscribe to an RSS feed of this list.

Jul 2008

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.

read more (767 words)

Posted by under post at / Magic the Gathering / 0 / 767 words
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.

read more (132 words)

Posted by under post at / wordpress Meta changelog / 0 / 132 words
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).

read more (461 words)

Posted by under post at / 2 / 461 words
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.

read more (108 words)

Posted by under post at / Tech Life / 0 / 108 words

Jun 2008

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!

read more (350 words)

Posted by under post at / Movies Pop Culture / 0 / 350 words
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.

read more (327 words)

Posted by under post at / Tech Life / 1 / 327 words
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:

read more (367 words)

Posted by under post at / Tech Life / 0 / 367 words
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.

read more (226 words)

Posted by under post at / Tech Life / 0 / 226 words
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.

read more (1328 words)

Posted by under post at / Magic the Gathering / 2 / 1328 words
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!

read more (690 words)

Posted by under post at / Magic the Gathering / 0 / 690 words
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.

read more (152 words)

Posted by under post at / Software Development / 0 / 152 words
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.

read more (405 words)

Posted by under post at / Magic the Gathering / 0 / 405 words
30 Websites to follow if you‚Äôre 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)  
Posted by under post at / Links / 0 / 38 words
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.

read more (310 words)

Posted by under post at / Magic the Gathering / 0 / 310 words
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.

read more (288 words)

Posted by under post at / Self-Improvement / 0 / 288 words

May 2008

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).

read more (513 words)

Posted by under post at / Magic the Gathering / 0 / 513 words
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.

read more (253 words)

Posted by under post at / Magic the Gathering / 0 / 253 words
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.

read more (235 words)

Posted by under post at / Gaming / 0 / 235 words
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.
Posted by under post at / Magic the Gathering / 0 / 62 words
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.
Posted by under post at / Meta / 4 / 36 words

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:

read more (889 words)

Posted by under post at / Magic the Gathering / 0 / 889 words
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)  
Posted by under post at / Links / 0 / 31 words

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.

read more (380 words)

Posted by under post at / Tech Life / 0 / 380 words
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.

read more (253 words)

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.

read more (328 words)

Posted by under post at / Comics Pop Culture / 0 / 328 words

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!

read more (954 words)

Posted by under post at / Magic the Gathering / 0 / 954 words

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:

read more (645 words)

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:

read more (1427 words)

Posted by under post at / Magic the Gathering / 0 / 1427 words

Apr 2008

  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.

read more (920 words)

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.

read more (1358 words)

Posted by under post at / Magic the Gathering / 0 / 1358 words

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:

read more (1465 words)

Posted by under post at / Magic the Gathering / 0 / 1465 words

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?

read more (287 words)

Posted by under post at / 0 / 287 words

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:

read more (787 words)

Posted by under post at / Magic the Gathering / 0 / 787 words
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.

read more (356 words)

Posted by under post at / favorites / 4 / 356 words

Roy Tang is a:

roytang.net is a personal site, an E/N site, and kind of a commonplace book; I post about a random assortment of topics that interest me including software development, Magic the Gathering, pop culture, gaming, and tech life. This site is perpetually under renovation.