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

One philosophy I have about writing technical material is that I want to condense the material as much as possible, to the point where I want people who use yellow highlighters to mark most of what I write. I am one of those people who use yellow highlighters, and I look for that property in books that I read.

This isn’t necessarily true for blog posts that I write, because for these I usually write them pretty fast. But for books, I take the time to review them and look for this quality. This follows the design mantra, “reduce, reduce, reduce.”

As a short note, here’s some Scala source code that shows how to write a foldLeft function using recursion:

From a today.com story about a woman who has a more severe form of the illness/disease I have:

“Johanna Watkins, 30, is allergic to almost everything and everyone, including her husband Scott, 29. She’s been diagnosed with mast cell activation syndrome, a rare and progressive immunological condition.”

“She has a list of 15 foods she can eat and that’s it. Even those foods make her feel ill, it’s just that they don’t kill her. She’s eaten the same two meals for two years.”

(The image is from the today.com story.)

Rare disease makes woman allergic to everything, including her husband

Here’s a photo I took of a wind farm back in December. I think it’s related to the Wind Research Program at Purdue University.

Wind farm

Per The Register, “Advertising revenue flowing back to app developers from Android apps has exceeded the amount returned to developers by Apple for the first time.”

I eat mostly organic food because it seems to help dramatically with my mast cell disease, but it sounds like a lot of other people are going organic as well. Here’s a quote from this SeattleTimes.com article: “We cannot get enough organics to stay in business day in and day out,” Jelinek told the gathered investors.

One of my favorite albums of all time is Us, by Peter Gabriel. I discovered it during a period of existential angst when I was working on a $3B NASA project, and I learned that the entire project was created and would soon be destroyed because of politics. I started listening to the album again recently while practicing yoga at night. This song is Blood Of Eden.

I recently “made the switch” from MacOS to Linux Mint, and was lamenting the fact that I didn’t have Alfred on Mint. But then this morning I learned about Cerebro, which, if it’s not Alfred yet, at least it’s Spotlight for Linux. omgubuntu.co.uk has this good intro article on Cerebro.

Cerebro is written as an Electron app, and as a result it’s available not only for Linux, but Windows and MacOS as well.

Cerebro, Spotlight for Linux

Working with yoga is often interesting. You stretch and twist and focus, trying to be very conscious of your movements, and then one day in the middle of a twisting pose you see your left foot coming out from behind your right ear. At first that’s a real surprise, a shock. You think, “Well, that can’t be MY foot over there,” and then you realize it IS your foot, and with that comes a strong sense of accomplishment, and maybe a little smile.

Then you do the same pose in the opposition direction, but twist and stretch as you might, your right foot doesn’t come out from behind your left ear. You know you can’t push it any more, at least not while doing the pose properly, so you realize there’s a bit of an imbalance. You accept that there’s still more work to do, but it’s a good thing, so you push on.

I think life is like that too, or can be like that. If you enjoy the struggle, if it’s a worthy struggle — a path with heart — the effort comes willingly, and with its own rewards.

“Always stretch from the source, the core, the foundation of each asana. Keep your attention internal, not worrying about what others see, but what the Self sees. Each movement must be an art, an art in which the Self is the only spectator.”

B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Life: The Yoga Journey (with a few minor edits by me)

February 19, 2014: I passed out for the first time. Before then I knew I was sick, but that was the first day I went down.

*three years of hospital visits and dozens of doctors*

February 19, 2017: For the first time in many years I’ve been able to practice yoga on a daily basis. As usual, during the first several weeks it was difficult and I was sore, but these days all is well. Soon this body will be rock hard and incredibly limber. :)

I'll be back, I am back

“One must do asana not merely as a physical exercise but as a means to understand and then integrate our body with our breath, with our mind, with our intelligence, with our consciousness, and with our core. In this way, one can experience true integration.”

B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Life: The Yoga Journey

Today is an anniversary of sorts for me. After knowing “something” was wrong for a long time, on this day three years ago I passed out for the first time.

I’m told that this is a famous poster for designers that I just applied a lot of whiteout to. (The missing words seem to have been inspired by Samuel L. Jackson.) I like “Believe in yourself” and “Trust your gut.”

Design poster

I like this quote from Leo Buscaglia: Take responsibility and grasp it. Don’t be a victim.

Leo Buscaglia: Take responsibility

Tina Turner talks about the power of love in this LionsRoar.com article.

Tina Turner on love

“Successful design is not the achievement of perfection but the minimization and accommodation of imperfection.”

~ Henry Petrosky