Roy Tang

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

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2020 May

  • 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 February

  • Thoughts on Blogging, 2020 Edition

    I found this great article the other week about Why You Should Start A Blog Right Now. The whole thing is absolutely worth a read, but my favorite part is at the start where he enumerates a list of reasons why he wrote particular posts, and it sent me down a rabbit hole again of evaluating why I write on this blog, and whether it was an endeavor worth continuing. Presumably, having a blog has a lot of possible benefits, but the one important for me personally are: it helps me clarify step through my own thoughts and understand my

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2019 November

  • NaBloPoMo Epilogue

    So NaBloPoMo complete, no big deal. It wasn't much of a challenge since blogging every day for a month is something that I've done multiple times over the past couple of years. It comes out to around 15,900 words written in November, not counting this post. Definitely not as big a thing as completing nanowrimo for instance. Writing on a regular basis is great, and generally a reasonable use of your time. But the thing about writing daily though is that like any activity that you want to do on a regular basis, you don't always have the energy for

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    Posted by under blog at #writing #blogging

    / 214 words

  • NaBloPoMo: Just Write

    Apparently, NaBloPoMo (or National Blog Posting Month) is a thing. It doesn't quite roll off the tongue as the original Nanowrimo (which was already a tough sell), but I think it's a worthy endeavor nonetheless. Some friends were inviting me to do Nanowrimo again this year, but due to general life and busyness and other things, I wasn't able to prep. I could just wing it (maybe I still will!), but that likely leads to disaster! Let's do this easier challenge instead. Easier because I've already done daily posting on multiple months this year, and also in comparison to last

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    Posted by under blog at #writing #blogging

    Also on: twitter / 💬 2 495 words

2019 August

  • Writing brings clarity

    I don't remember where I read it online, but I have this in my notes: we write to discover truths about ourselves (paraphrased) The basic idea being that the mere act of writing down our thoughts can bring clarity and help us identify some truths about ourselves we never knew existed. I think it works similarly to the programmer practice of rubber ducking, where the mere act of describing something helps you gain a better understanding of it. This clarity can also allow you to more easily process a large scope that can otherwise seem overwhelming. I remember this in

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    Posted by under blog at #writing

    Also on: twitter / 252 words

2019 May

  • Grammar Nazi

    Posted by under blog at #grammar #writing

    Also on: twitter / 464 words

2019 March

  • 750 Words

    I've mentioned 750 Words before. It's a pretty neat service that allows you to write privately online. It's not public like blogging is, so if you'd like to develop a daily writing habit but don't want things to be available to the world, it's a pretty good option. You can of course, just write on paper or on local files and just not upload anything to the cloud at all. But there's some benefits to an online service like this one too - the most obvious one is that you can write anywhere, with any internet connected device, but they

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    Posted by under blog at #writing

    Also on: twitter / 422 words

  • Four Hundred Thousand Words

    Sometime in the last week, I broke past four hundred thousand words total on this blog, as noted on the archive page. Four hundred thousand words! That number sounds insane for some reason. Over 17 years of blogging, that's an average of 23,500+ words a year. I could have written like 17 short stories or 8ish novelettes or 3-4 decently sized novels. This post is just me navel-gazing over that number. Four hundred thousand! In mid-March, there's gonna be another milestone too - we're gonna hit 1,000 posts total (assuming I don't quit blogging daily before then). I should get

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    Posted by under blog at #blogging #writing

    Also on: twitter / 103 words

2019 February

  • Broken Streak

    I thought I had a post scheduled yesterday, but I didn't. That broke a continuous streak of 124 days of daily blogging. I thought about writing a post and publishing it retroactively, but that seems like the kind of BS Type A behavior I kind of want to avoid these days. At least I did a lot better than the last time I tried daily blogging in October 2006, when I only managed 23 posts for the month. On the bright side, that gave me something easy to write about today. And now that I've broken the streak I thought,

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    Posted by under blog at #blogging #tech-life #writing

    Also on: twitter / 200 words

  • Finishing Posts

    I saw the following question on Twitter: "People who write a lot of blogposts... How do you know when a post is done?" Having written daily posts since October, I feel like I already qualify for "People who write a lot of blogposts", but I realized I don't have a straight answer aside from "When I run out of things to say". I do worry sometimes that my posts don't often reach a logical conclusion. Maybe I'm just bad at ending blog posts and need to do better. Sometimes I'll keep writing until I run out of thoughts and just

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    Posted by under blog at #writing

    Also on: twitter / 133 words

2019 January

  • Not all posts have to be profound

    I think that's one of the reasons why it's difficult to keep up a blog. Blogs feel a bit like they have to be long-form, highly profound, useful or informative pieces or prose that a wide audience can appreciate. We don't have this same pressure when posting to other social media like Twitter or Facebook. I like to think of a blog (or this blog at least, at this moment) as a living, evolving thing, with each post capturing a single moment in a timeline, building upon previous thoughts, helping us see how the author's thinking changes with time. There

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    Posted by under blog at #blogging #writing

    Also on: twitter / 114 words

2018 December

  • Private writing

    Two things I've learned over the past couple of months of daily blog posting: I have a lot to write about I might have too much to write about Since I use this space to help myself think through some things, I found that I sometimes have a tendency to write about things that maybe I shouldn't write about publicly, either for personal privacy reasons, or for professional courtesy reasons. Thankfully, I've been able to hold myself back so far. To help suppress such urges, I've also recently resumed private journalling, a practice I haven't revisited for quite a while.

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    Posted by under blog at #writing

    Also on: twitter / 385 words

  • Fanfiction

    This might surprise you, but I tried my hand at writing fanfiction back in the day. Most of it was Final Fantasy-related (as that was what I was really into back then) and the odd Ranma 1/2 one (mainly because I was a member of an anime-focused fanfic collective, called the "Nikholas F Toledo Zu" for inside joke reasons, writing under the name "Vector"). Anyway, I'm not exceptionally proud of the writings, but I like having all my work available on this blog/website/whatever, so I've added them at this link: Fanfiction. Give them a read, if you'd like. The Final

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    Posted by under blog at #nostalgia #writing

    Also on: twitter / 160 words

  • Daily Blogging

    Looking at my archives, I was blogging regularly from 2005-2009, mostly because I was really active in competitive MTG during that time. Starting 2010, my blogging activity started to taper off, with less than 60 posts until 2015. I tried to revive the habit around mid-2016, posting at least once a week, but the writing slowed down again around April this year (coinciding with one of the more busy periods for me work-wise). Starting in October I had a bit more free time so I decided to fire on all cylinders again. Instead of the previous 1-2 posts per week

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    Posted by under blog at #blogging #tech-life #writing

    Also on: twitter / 863 words

2018 November

2018 September

2018 August

  • Blogging and the Decentralized Internet

    (Somehow I now have a series of posts about blogging in 2018. Here's the first one. Two is a series, right?) Great comment the other day on reddit (found via r/bestof), in response to Twitter's inaction vs Alex Jones. Quoting part of the comment: How can the OG generation of web users possibly hope to maintain the Internet as a free and decentralized medium when a growing majority of the current userbase accept centralization of content and audience, as not only the status quo but as the way things should be? To such an extent that they make the perverse

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2017 June

  • Blogging and Social Media

    I haven't been blogging too much recently. I got busy for a while and had to skip a few weeks, and then general laziness prevented me from resuming a regular posting schedule. (Hopefully that ends now.) Most of the time my ranting was on social media, which got me thinking: Is writing on your own blog still useful in this day and age of social media? I've been blogging for a long time -- my archives say 2002 -- waaay before Facebook or even Twitter came around. If for some reason you felt like digging through my older posts you'd

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2017 February

  • Write Smarter, Not Harder

    There's this well-known idea that it takes ten thousand hours of practice to become an expert in something. But of course, it has to be ten thousand meaningful hours of practice. Meaningful here means that you are actually learning something from your practice. If you are repeating the same hour ten thousand times, that's not worth very much. Instead, we should be actively learning while we practice. This means identifying our weak points and learning how we can improve. It requires that we have a feedback loop that tells us whether we are doing well or not. It also means

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    Posted by under blog at #writing

    Also on: tumblr twitter / 398 words

2016 December

  • Nine Ways to Work Around Mental Blocks

    Posted by under blog at #writing

    Also on: tumblr twitter / 638 words