Roy Tang

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

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Weeknotes 2020-05-10

My Stuff:

  • Early this morning I took a walk outside for the first time since the lockdown started. Previously I had only gone out for groceries and meds. Only for less than 30 mins, and only in our subdivision, walking up and down the street. It’s good to be walking again, although this short and limited route is quite boring and full of neighbor’s dogs barking at me, so I’m not too fond of it, but it’s better to get the habit started again since I’ve been feeling the fatness piling on due to the quarantine and the lack of exercise.
  • Work: A few consultation meetings here and there, but starting next week I may need to do some actual coding work for other people.
  • Watching: Watched a few movies this week, The Siege (caught it on TV during my lunch break), Skull Island (because Brie Larson), Ready Player One (it’s Cyclops!), and also watched Ang Huling El Bimbo the Musical (Not really a movie, but ok). I also ended up watching the 2 episodes of the Battlestar Galactica miniseries; apparently I had not watched this before watching the 2004 series. I also watched the hilarious Middleditch and Schwartz improv comedy specials on Netflix, fun times.
  • Gaming: Played a bunch of Divinity Original Sin 2 this week, though I guess I’m still not that far along in the story? I also purchased the Humble Asmodee bundle, for more boardgames-converted-to-PC-games that my weekend playgroup can do.
  • Site Updates: Been putting up some content elsewhere on this site. You can find it easily if you look around, but nothing to announce publicly yet. Need to think about how to present properly, good permalinks, etc.

Recent Links of Interest:

  • I’m thinking of starting a separate regular type of post where I just post links to things I found on the internet. Kind of like the links page, except with more commentary? I know people like Doctorow, Kottke, or Waxy have been doing this kind of thing for a while, thinking of something along the same lines I guess? Something I can maybe turn into some kind of newsletter later on? We’ll see if it pans out. For now, let’s keep it in the weeknotes.
  • Somewhat related to the first bullet: Great post from It’s too late to collect sand. Basically saying if there’s something you regret not being able to start earlier on, it would be a trap to think that you can’t just start it today. I say somewhat related to the first bullet because as I was reviewing some older blog entries during the past few weeks I was wondering if I could have made it as a “successful blogger” like the people mentioned above if I had only been more consistent with my content. Such regrets are ridiculous, as the post implies, because I could always just ramp up my linkblogging now if I wanted. Anyway, I’ve also scanned a few of the other posts on, and many of them are fairly good reads, so this one might end up being added to the regular follows and the blogroll.
  • AirBNB is laying off one-fourth of its staff and refocusing its priorities. This is not exactly unexpected given the current situation and the bleak outlook for the travel industry in the near term, but what I found exceptional was CEO Brian Chesky’s message to their employees. Announcing layoffs is obviously a feel-bad, but this note was handled extremely well, walking through the rationales and the painful decision and giving their staff clear expectations on what will happen moving forward.
  • One tech company that hasn’t been treating their employees too well however, has been Amazon. Last week, a post from Amazon VP, Senior Engineer, and XML spec-writer Tim Bray made the rounds as he publicly declared he was resigning from his position (costing him around a million dollars) because of how the company has fired whistleblowers who were complaining about Covid-19 safety concerns at their warehouses. Good for Bray, and boo for Amazon. One may also find the links he posted in the “Responses” post of interest as well.
  • Great article in the NY times (Annoying paywall warning!) about what it’s like owning and having to shutdown a restaurant in these times.
  • 68 bits of unsolicited advise from Kevin Kelly
  • I’ve been enjoying Tom Scott’s Youtube channel recently (unsurprisingly, he’s a very popular Youtuber). I recently found out his background is actually in linguistics! Anyway, here’s a video from him about confusing differences in numbers across languages.
  • In Singapore, they have a robot dog making sure people are social distancing in public. This is why the creator of Black Mirror isn’t even bothering right now, reality is just too much already.

Hoping we have a good week incoming, despite the current situation!

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