Alvin Alexander | Java, Scala, Unix, Perl, Mac OS X

“A state of being is an experience. A description of a state of being is a symbol. Symbols and experience do not follow the same rules.”

~ The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics

This is a little RxScala example from the RxScala/RxJava Github docs:

object Transforming extends App
     * Asynchronously calls 'customObservableNonBlocking'
     * and defines a chain of operators to apply to the 
     * callback sequence.
    def simpleComposition()
            .map(stringValue => stringValue + "_xform")
            .subscribe(s => println("onNext => " + s))


If you like visual diagrams, this source code goes along with this marble diagram.

I’ll be including examples like this in my book, Functional Programming, Simplified.

This is a nice example of a marble diagram. I found it on this RxJava documentation page. In a related note, is a fun website. If it’s not obvious how they work, this page provides a formal description of how marble diagrams are drawn.

Example marble diagram

A friend was in Talkeetna recently, and sent me a picture of what this cabin looks like these days. Skipping over that, this is what it looked like in mid-September when I lived there.

The old cabin in Talkeetna

A long time ago I wrote about how to improve your iTunes song quality, but that article was about how to make the songs you already have in iTunes sound their best through a couple of tweaks.

This morning I was again listening to a song on YouTube, and then I checked it against the same song I have in iTunes, and the YouTube song quality sounded better than my song, which I purchased through In short, that led me to find this amazon page where they discuss the (poor) quality of their MP3s, part of which is shown in this image. IMHO, I don’t think people are that concerned about 5 MB file sizes and 56k dialup connections in most places. (They could make this an option.)

Poor Amazon MP3 quality

This image of “lessons learned” comes from an article titled, “Learning FP the hard way: Experiences on the Elm language.” (Elm is incredibly similar to Haskell.)

FP the hard way

“That’s someone’s opinion,” he said. “There are certain things in this world you can’t control. You’ve got to keep living without them.”

~ Jimmy Garoppolo, in this article

The song of the day is a fun little song called Goodnight Tonight, by Wings (Paul McCartney):

The next chapter of my new book, “Functional Programming, Simplied” is now online. It’s titled, “Benefits of Functional Programming.”

“On Venus it snows metal.” This image comes from the Google search results, with the story contents coming from

On Venus it snows metal

“I’m such a liar.”

Here’s a photo of the building I grew up in, in Chicago, Illinois. (Thanks, Google Maps.)

My old Chicago home

Here’s a side view of the building I grew up in, in Chicago, Illinois. (Thanks, Google Maps.) I used to throw a baseball or tennis ball against that garage for hours.

My old Chicago home (side view)

Zeus, the Best Dog Ever, passed away on August 21, 2010. In an unrelated event, I almost kicked the bucket on the same day in 2016. That would have been kinda cool in that regard.

I got really sick again yesterday and didn’t know if I’d make it through the night, so I did two things I wanted to do: one good, the other meant as helpful (you know how that can go). Somehow that leads me to making “Lonely Ol’ Night” by John Mellencamp the song of the day:

“I know there’s a balance, I see it when I swing past.”

I really like this quote about Ichiro Suzuki from this article. I never thought that way as a batter or as a pitcher, but as a batter I can see how that mentality would help. It’s like you’re in a mano a mano battle with a pitcher about four times a game. I reminds me of an attitude that you need in a sport like wrestling. It also reminds me of warriors yelling “Certain Victory!” before entering into battle, or yelling “Battle!” in the movie Michael.

Ichiro's samurai pose

“You can’t always do what you’re told, darlin.’”

(A quote from my favorite movie of the last five years, In Your Eyes.)

“It seems like there is a sound case for a ‘pure’ keyword in future C/C++ standards.”

(A quote from id Software co-founder and technical director John Carmack in this article. I wrote about using an impure annotation in Scala many moons ago.)

HER: What’s your cell plan?

ME: Bodily decay over decades until inevitable mortal collapse. You?

HER: ... V-Verizon.