Roy Tang

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

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Weeknotes 2020-01-12

I’ve been thinking for a while about doing regular weeknotes. This is a type of post I’ve seen in some blogs where they recap the things that’ve happened to them during the past week. I’ve actually been doing these privately for a while, and now I’m going to try making them public. I think the advantages are obvious in terms of (a) having notes to recall what you were doing over a certain time period; and (b) guaranteeing regular writing output on the blog. One disadvantage over the private weeknotes is that in private I can usually include some more personal items (usually family visits and concerns, stuff like that), that aren’t part of what I usually make public. I may end up having both public weeknotes and private weeknotes? We’ll see. Another concern is for a lot of the examples of weeknotes I’ve seen, they usually write about work-related concerns/issues. I’ve never been inclined to be too specific about work-related concerns in public, mostly out of respect for my employers who usually don’t expect me to write openly for internal matters. In reality, I expect my weeknotes to lean less towards technical things, and more towards hobby stuff, movies and tv shows watched, and so on. Again, we’ll probably figure this out as we go along. Let’s get on with it then.

Last week, I was asked to give a presentation about a certain blockchain platform, mostly on the strength of me being a technical consultant on a previous blockchain project for a previous client. Two things were notable: (a) the audience was composed entirely of Chinese investors, mostly nontechnical people, so I had to have a translator, and I felt like most things I said went over their head, and it was weird being the only one in the room who didn’t understand what was going on when they did the Q&A in Chinese; I could tell that the Q&A wasn’t technical, and some of it was asking about my background; and (b) For some reason after the speech, the audience members all wanted to take photos with me, in groups, like a celebrity! It all felt a bit surreal. My contact who set up this talk said that happened with the previous project too, they always want to get pictures taken with the technical guy. I now consider this my first public speaking gig, which makes for an interesting story.

This week I did my regular backup of my data from third-party services (mostly social media), some notes:

  • Facebook has a decent data export tool, but one thing they don’t include is an export of photos I’m tagged in, which I’m sure I’d like to be able to keep if their service goes kaput or I get suspended or such. I had to use a Chrome extension (and I’m a Firefox user!) to export those pictures. The export isn’t in a format I’m too happy with, but I can worry about that later, maybe even modify the extension for my own preferences.
  • Google’s export was the largest as usualy, clocking in at around 38GB total, in 2GB chunks. (There was one whole chunk that was just one Youtube video!)

Speaking of Google, I’ve been meaning to taper off my reliance on them to “reduce my global surveillance capitalism footprint”, as I said to a friend. So this week I started a “great GMail exodus” to move my third-party services to another email instead of using my GMail account. I’ve been using the GMail as my primary since Yahoo Mail became terrible, so this has been a bit of a daunting task, involving updating dozens of accounts on various services. (It’s scary how many don’t even have email confirmation.). I suspect this will take the better part of the year, and even then I’d have to be using both old and new emails heavily in parallel to make sure I don’t miss any.

The weeknotes also provide an avenue to log some recent website changes:

  • One of my regular blog readers (are there more than one?) complained about my paragraphs not being justified so I added in text-align: justify in the CSS. I’m not sure it looks better though? I don’t think this is something bloggers usually do, but I don’t want to be accused to not be listening to my readership (no matter how small), so we’ll give it a try, and I’ll roll it back if/when I get annoyed with it.
  • general revamp of the pages under the About section. This includes a stats section. I love stats! As with everything on the site, this is an ongoing renovation. I’m generally thinking of adding more “static” pages to complement the “sequential” nature of the blog, since some things don’t align well with that model.
  • I added JSON feed support.
  • I imported entries from Nintendo’s now-defunct MiiVerse service. A lot of these are just random stamp images my niece posted, but whatever. Maybe someday I’ll run out of content from third-party services to import into this site, but not today!
  • A while back I got thinking about mortality again, and for some reason I decided that if something happened to me, I want this website to outlive me, so I set up on offsite mirror over on, in case I ever just forget to pay for the domain/hosting or something.

After discussing my top tens of the 2010s with friends last week, I realized I missed so many good movies over the past decade. I am planning on watching one movie per day this year, for a total of 366 movies. New movies, not any I’ve seen before. This effort hasn’t been going too well, as I’m only up to 4 movies so far, but that doesn’t seem insurmountable. I’ll put up a list somewhere when I feel like it.

The same friends also recommended I watch Kim’s Convenience, a sitcom about an Korean immigrant family in the US. I finished all 3 seasons on Netflix already, it’s pretty good. The great thing about sitcoms is that they’re easy to binge since you can usually watch them while doing something else.

This coming week I’m looking forward to:

  • new MTG set dropping
  • Arrowverse Crisis on Infinite Earths finale!
  • I feel like there’s some other new release/event this week I’m looking forward to that I’m forgetting about. Law of surprise!

That’s it for now. I actually managed to write more than I expected!

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