Roy Tang

roytang.net

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

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2020 August

  • These weeknotes are coming in late in the day because of reasons. (The reasons being laziness and procrastination.) Actually, I feel like I've been kind of phoning in the weeknotes over the past few weeks, they've mostly been "hey, I've been busy, so nothing of significance happened, but here are some things I watched/played." Supposedly one of the side effects of writing regular updates is that you tend to look out for more interesting things to do so you have something to write about, even on an unconscious level. In the past few weeks, that has been problematic because (a)

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  • Weeknotes 2020-08-09

    Still kind of busy, although there's a bunch of things I hope I can finally wrap up this week, so I can move on to the long list of other things I want to be doing. The world continues to be bleak, so I'm still hiding from it. My stuff: Forty-two. I thought about just merging these into a single post for the day, but nah, this seems better. Reworking the old charity side project still ongoing. I was hoping to finish all the changes last week and next week would be testing and deployment, but stuff got in the

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  • Weeknotes 2020-08-02

    Kind of a busy week for me again, so the week kind of passed me by quickly. It's August! In one month it will be (PH) Christmas season! It feels like July went by more quickly than other quarantine months. My stuff: A bit of consulting work. Reworking the old charity side project still ongoing. I was hoping to finish all the changes last week and next week would be testing and deployment, but stuff got in the way (and estimates may have been a bit off), but the spillover is small and we should still be fine for finishing

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2020 July

  • Weeknotes 2020-07-26

    The world: hm. I was a bit busy this week, so I wasn't paying too much attention, so I don't have too much to rail against today. Well of course, things are still ongoing. There's still the pandemic, fascist police state philosophy continues to rear it's ugly head in the US, PH gov't continues to be dumb, etc., but this week seemed a bit tame comparably. On July 26, 2020, 8 a.m. I wrote: Pandemic thoughts and updates, July 26 edition: Watching mass via Facebook again today. The nearby Church actually holds services, but last I heard it was only

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  • Weeknotes 2020-07-19

    My country: There are days when I have to consciously temper my rage at the shenanigans of this government. I can't write about them today. My stuff: This week's pandemic notes. Had a busy work week again; at the same time I also picked up an older charity project where the client asked for UI updates. Had issues with running the old code, and it was small enough, so I decided to rewrite it in a new tech stack. Might write about it at some point. Gaming: I am like 98% through the FF7R hard mode run. I'm totally making

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  • My country: Friday afternoon the House of Representatives voted to deny the franchise application of the nation's biggest broadcaster ABS-CBN. This despite all agencies of the executive testifying that the company had no violations. Justifications cited were mostly personal reasons. The Palace claims they remained neutral on this issue, but no one really believes that. Probably not even then. What now, Philippines? My stuff: This week's pandemic notes. Had a busy week work-wise. Learning a lot about Vue and Laravel though, so that's fun! Gaming: I am like 95% through the FF7R hard mode run. Only a 5% difference from

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  • My country: Friday afternoon the president sighed the controversial "Anti-terror law" that vastly expands police powers, allows people to be arrested without warrants on mere suspicion of terrorism etc. Interesting timing, right after China applies a new anti-terror low to Hong Kong (and rightly gets castigated for it by countries all over the world) and also right after the PNP (who promise not to abuse their newfound powers) are under criticism for killing some soldiers in a misencounter and tampering with the crime scene to cover it up. Many are afraid of the chilling impact on freedom of speech, but

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2020 June

  • My stuff: This week's pandemic notes. Easily the most annoying thing this week: our broadband modem conked out Wednesday night. Customer support isn't super responsive for local telcos: I called their support line the next day (support line is not even available 24/7!), got put on hold for 45 minutes TWICE before they agreed to send a repair crew over the next day (Friday). Friday morning I got a text that the technician visit was actually scheduled for SATURDAY morning. They arrive Saturday AFTERNOON, due to traffic apparently. And unluckily, they are out of spare modems for the replacement. They

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  • My stuff: This week's pandemic notes. Some days still hot, but weather beginning to turn for the better. Sleep kind of better and a bit more regular too. Did my quarterly medical checkup this past week (slightly delayed). No issues, but I need to do an FBS test for next time. Sleep schedule kind of settling back into my usual biphasic sleep. Although the second phase seems to move around a lot... Not much work-wise the past week, and a bit more family-related expenses. Medical and government stuff. Gaming: still playing a lot of Final Fantasy VII Remake. I think

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  • Weeknotes 2020-06-14

    Surprisingly, no new crises have emerged during the past week. I think. More of the same crises, carrying on. Last Friday was the PH independence day holiday. I didn't feel like celebrating. It doesn't feel like we are free. In any case, a protest rally against the yet-to-be-signed terror bill took place at the university that morning, inspite of threats from the authorities that it wasn't allowed. The protestors spaced themselves out and everything. Some friends reported trouble getting into the university though. Apparently a heavy police/military presence was manning many of the entrances for some reason. "Basta". News report.

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  • Weeknotes 2020-06-07: Mad World

    The world isn't letting up. The virus is still around, but both the US and my own country have gotten distracted. The US is in its second week of police brutality/black lives matters protests. Meanwhile, our government took on a sidequest of trying to enact a wide-ranging and easily abusable anti-terror bill, triggering some smaller (by comparison to the US). I haven't written about the terror bill, mainly because I haven't had the opportunity to dig into it too deeply. But my general impression leaves me two points: what is the justification for asking for increased police/anti-terrorism powers? We don't

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2020 May

  • ABS-CBN, Bias, and Press Freedom

    A bit of brouhaha a couple of weeks ago after the National Telecommunications Commission ordered the country's biggest broadcaster ABS-CBN to cease operations because Congress had been remiss in renewing their franchise.. This despite the NTC earlier promising they can operate provisionally while the franchise renewal is being processed, a change of heart apparently due to a legal opinion by the SolGen. Some thoughts: "Bias" The speaker of the house says: But you are one of the reasons why there are issues with your network. In the eyes of some, there is clear bias and meddling in the elections, which

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  • I mean, that's true in general of course. But it certainly seems much more true in these pandemic times. Before all of this waves hands arounds frantically, people had a general sense of routine and predictability about their daily lives. It varied person by person of course, but many people had regular things like a steady job that kept them occupied for most of the week, a school where their kids could go off to most days, maybe a favorite bar or restaurant they visit every week or so, church on Sundays, friends you saw every other weekend or so,

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2020 April

  • Privacy and 'Nothing to Hide'

    I was reading this post about how to respond to the "Nothing to Hide" argument against the concept of privacy. The quoted DuckDuckGo blog post lists some pretty good reasons, but I thought I'd expound on some thoughts as well. The core of the "Nothing to Hide" argument is that if you, personally, have nothing incriminating or illegal to hide, then you don't need to worry about privacy intrusions. The argument is used mainly to justify things like state-sponsored surveillance, but might also be applicable to data collection activities by large corporations such as Facebook or Google. Wikipedia article for

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2020 March

2019 November

  • The Costs of Corruption

    A quick follow-up to something I mentioned in yesterday's post: It is a cultural problem too. Even we the citizens have little respect for rules and laws and try to skip around them when we can. This is why we have fixers, and connections, and patronage. We trade on favors to get us out of trouble. I'm not sure if needed to be said, but I wasn't saying that literally every single person participates in fixing and patronage to get around the rules. Most probably only a minority ever do so. The majority try to just keep their heads down

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  • Laws Not Men

    In yet another example of what is wrong with this country, the PNP are planning to arrest vape users after Duterte's directive, despite there actually being yet no law or executive order banning vaping. Thus, the arrests are meaningless and merely another form of harassment. PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac explained that while violators would be apprehended, they would be released immediately after the incident is recorded in the police blotter. Nobody knows that the rules for this so-called ban are: Ferdinand Rodrigo, president of Vapers Alliance Philippines, told “The Chiefs” last night on Cignal TV’s One News that

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  • Grab Overpricing

    So the Philippine Competition Commission recently fined rideshare provider Grab P23M for overcharging their customers. Apparently only P5M of that is meant to go back to the affected riders, which seems like a piddly amount considering the number of riders in the Philippines. We'll see how of that I actually get credited back, if any. Grab pricing has been steadily increasing since Uber exited the market early last year. The other day Grab wanted to charge me a bit over P400 for a 13km ride to a commercial area, which seemed insane. I ended up just going out and taking

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