Roy Tang

roytang.net

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

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2021 January

  • Discussions on tech censorship came to the forefront in recent weeks due to the aftermath of the Jan 6 capitol insurrection in the US. I've been writing down a bunch of thoughts about the complicated issue, let's see if I can hammer them into a blog post. (I also wanted to defer posting about it until after the Biden inauguration, in case more things of interest happen.) Here's where I am now: Trump Ok, so first Trump (or anyone) getting kicked off Twitter (or any service) for TOS violations (inciting violence etc). it's kind of a free speech issue, except

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    Posted by under blog at #current-events #tech-life

    Also on: mastodon twitter / 1699 words

  • Regular Reviews and Tracking

    One habit I now have that I wish I had started much, much earlier in life would be conducting regular, periodic reviews. These reviews are a sort of written introspection of the time period in question, the target audience being future me. I'm reminded of the important of this because I had been going through old files the last few months and I really enjoy reading through some older entries and basically traipsing through younger me's mind. It's kind of a time machine in a way. And it helps me by providing a sort of foundation for my thinking, so

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    Posted by under blog at #tech-life

    Also on: mastodon twitter / 🔁 1 💬 3 617 words

  • 2020 Word Clouds

    Posted by under blog at #tech-life

    Also on: mastodon twitter / 124 words

  • Goodbye Flipboard

    I've been using the Flipboard iOS app as my daily morning news reader pretty much since I first got an iPad. It offered a nice, magazine like UI where you can flip through pages full of images and short article blurbs until you can find something you want to read. The past couple of years and iOS versions though, the app has been performing terribly. Crashes a lot, reader view often fails to load, or flickers and reloads continuously and so on. Just not a very good experience. I'm sure it's not entirely their fault; recent iOS versions (starting from

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    Posted by under blog at #tech-life

    Also on: mastodon twitter / 341 words

2020 December

  • Ephemeral Echoes

    Last week, Twitter added Fleets, their own version of stories (short-lived posts). As could be expected, it's not something I can relate to. I did post one (saying "This is dumb.") just to see what the interface was like, but that's it. I thought about writing a blog post about how I dislike this sort of ephemeral social media, but it turns out that something I'd already written about before. Things don't change I guess, and they just come around. I still can't relate to this kind of thing, since I really prefer having a record of things I've posted

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    Posted by under blog at #tech-life

    Also on: mastodon twitter / 207 words

2020 November

  • I recently did a server migration since I moved to new hosting, The move was from managed/shared hosting to a VPS, these are some notes I took during the process, which I figure might be helpful if I ever tried to do this again. (And maybe someone else finds it helpful too). Links and references to helpeful resources are included. Setting up a webserver and WSGI container I already knew I wanted to use Nginx (managed hosting on the old server always used Apache), that meant needing to choose a WSGI container for the Django apps. The choices were either

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2020 October

  • Site Migration from Hugo to Django

    Leaving Hugo It's been a bit under two years since I migrated the site from Wordpress to Hugo. As discussed in this post one year ago, I was very happy with the general workflow of managing posts through markdown files in git, but had big problems with the Hugo build time, largely a consequence of my social media archiving. At that time, I didn't want to invest effort into migrating to a different backend, but the problem has only gotten incrementally worse since then, so I decided to take the jump and started working on it last month. Migration goals

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2020 September

  • On Mobile App Development

    This post is just quite a few thoughts on mobile apps and mobile app development, all mishmashed together. I don't claim to be a mobile app specialist, at best I've dabbled in them, but enough to form some opinions I guess? A Bit of History My first exposure to mobile app development when I got pulled to help my then-company's then-fledgling mobile team with cleaning up the codebase for their iOS app. This was back in maybe 2011? It was one of those projects where some devs built a quick proof-of-concept demo using new technology, then management liked it and

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2020 August

  • Filed under "Things I Don't Really Grok" Podcasts and audiobooks These 2 are kind of in the same boat. Their main sin is that they are audio-only. When consuming content, my order of preference for formats is roughly: text (+images I guess) (most preferred) video (with audio) audio only (least preferred) I think these preferences have to do with information density: I'm pretty sure I prefer text because text can convey the most amount of information in the least amount of bits. I'll also watch informative videos, to a point. If it's movie-length, it better be damn entertaining. That leaves

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    Posted by under blog at #tech-life

    Also on: mastodon twitter / 🔁 1 780 words

  • On Mozilla and Firefox

    Mozilla made the tech news recently for laying off a whole lot of people. (Official statement). People were alarmed and worried about the future of what is the last major independent browser and the open web, bit it looks like it isn't that bleak. Most of the layoffs were to teams other than those working on Firefox, things like the experimental browser engine Servo, devtools, and MDN. The core Gecko team seems to be unaffected. Not that these things aren't important. MDN, if you're not familiar, is a set of documentation of web standards and browser support, available online, that

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2020 July

2020 June

  • Scraping Facebook

    I had been meaning to quit Facebook for more than a year maybe, but I kept putting it off. The main reason being that I like having backups of my own digital data (still very much a pack rat), and Facebook's social media export is less than ideal, for me at least. Less than ideal why? It doesn't include a lot of content I would like backed up, including: comments on my posts (there have been some good conversations with friends over the years I would prefer to preserve) things I've reposted from other people content of certain groups I'm

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  • Why Twitter?

    Posted by under blog at #tech-life

    Also on: mastodon twitter / 💬 1 890 words

  • Quitting Facebook

    (This will be cross-posted to my Facebook account.) It's been long overdue, but I'm quitting Facebook. Why? It's not you, but it's not me either. It's Facebook. There's a ton of reasons for quitting Facebook, but here are some highlights: Facebook is dumb. The site is barely usable and the app is a big battery hog. And posts don't even support formatting so now you're getting this one in Markdown. Facebook uses your personal information to earn money, and they're not even very good at keeping that information safe. Their tech tracks you all over the internet, even when you

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    Posted by under blog at #tech-life

    Also on: mastodon twitter / 👍 2 🔁 1 💬 2 740 words

2020 May

  • Migrating away from GMail

    I've basically been using GMail as my main email account since I first got access in 2006ish. "Main email account" means I use it as the primary access point for all my other online accounts. GMail was certainly revolutionary when it came out, and had a lot of benefits: it was fast, easily searchable and had a lot of free storage. But in the modern day, there are significant disadvantages to using GMail: you don't control your account; it's rare, but anecdotally people have lost access to their GMail accounts for some perceived infraction, and when that happens you have

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    Posted by under blog at #tech-life

    Also on: mastodon twitter / 👍 1 🔁 4 💬 7 901 words

  • Location, Location, Location

    A while back I got an export of my Foursquare/Swarm data. If you're not familiar, these were a pair of apps that were used for "checking-in" to particular locations, with a sort of gamification system where if you checked in at a place often enough, you would earn points and eventually become "Mayor" of the venue. The idea being that owners of those venues might give some benefits to those who check-in often at those locations (AFAIK, this never really caught on in the Philippines). I wasn't a super active user of Foursquare/Swarm, I had maybe 500ish check-ins from 2010-2017

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  • HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset

    I ordered this HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset off Lazada on the first day of MECQ. It's a bit expensive. Delivery came in Saturday morning, so around a week, not too bad.

    I'm actually not super-picky when it comes to audio issues, but lately the 3.5mm audio jack on my Razer keyboard has been giving off static. I couldn't move my speaker connectors to the back of the desktop tower case because I often switch them out for earphones (when I'm doing voice chat or streaming on Twitch for example), and it's inconvenient to do so when they're so far in the back, so I've been wanting to buy a headset that can be plugged into a USB slot instead. That way, I can switch output sources via Windows 10's built-in software controls. (You can switch output devices by clicking the speaker icon on the Windows 10 taskbar and clicking the ^ icon near the output device name).

    I decided I might as well get a fancy headset, this will be the most expensive one I've ever bought. On the upside, I get a better (in theory) mic for recordings and voice chats (I was previously using the mic off a cheap webcam), and I can use it on the PS4 as well.

    Tried it out a bit, it's pretty nifty. But sometimes the mic attachment seems to fall off too easily. Maybe I'll make a proper review once I've used it for while, although IDK if I'm not enough of an audiophile for any review to be meaningful.

    I ordered this HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset off Lazada on the first day of MECQ. It's a bit expensive. Delivery came in Saturday morning, so around a week, not too bad. I'm actually not super-picky when it comes to audio issues, but lately the 3.5mm audio jack on my Razer keyboard has been giving off static. I couldn't move my speaker connectors to the back of the desktop tower case because I often switch them out for earphones (when I'm doing voice chat or streaming on Twitch for example), and it's inconvenient to do so when they're so far
    I ordered this HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset off Lazada on the first day of MECQ. It's a bit expensive. Delivery came in Saturday morning, so around a week, not too bad. I'm actually not super-picky when it comes to audio issues, but lately the 3.5mm audio jack on my Razer keyboard has been giving off static. I couldn't move my speaker connectors to the back of the desktop tower case because I often switch them out for earphones (when I'm doing voice chat or streaming on Twitch for example), and it's inconvenient to do so when they're so far
  • Previously. In the most recent weeknotes, I mentioned this post about bringing blogs back to the internet and the ensuing discussion on Hacker News. Some further thoughts on blogging based on the HN discussion: On Traffic and Engagement Someone mentioned that one of the reasons most people stop blogging is that it feels like there's nobody reading their work. This reminds me of a convo I had with a friend a couple of years back when he saw one of my blog posts. He was getting into content creation himself via a Youtube channel and he asked me what kind

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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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