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

This photo from January 12, 2012 of the Rocky Mountains behind Boulder, Colorado made me feel like I was living on the Moon.

Rocky Mountains behind Boulder, Colorado

Lightbend has a good article by Jonas Boner and Viktor Klang titled Reactive Programming versus Reactive Systems. This quote describes the article: “looking at the differences between writing code in a Reactive Programming style, and the design of Reactive Systems as a cohesive whole.”

This is a nice article on the best Linux laptops of 2016, including what to look out for in graphics chips and other hardware issues. As I become more disgruntled with Apple and the direction of Macs and MacOS, I thought I’d start looking for a Linux laptop.

During a recent cross-country drive I listened to the book The Universal Tone: Bringing My Story to Light by Carlos Santana. I’m not a huge fan of his music — though I love this work with Faith Hill — but I am interested in him because he’s very open about his spirituality. Although I haven’t finished the book yet, I’ll give it a “thumbs up” rating. The book is his autobiography, and includes stories about playing professionally and hanging around in strip clubs when he was 13, everything related to the band Santana, growing up with a strict mother and abusive father, and much more.

Carlos Santana: The Universal Tone

I sometimes think the quality of the lucid dream environment (aka, the dream holodeck) isn’t quite like it is back here in the physical world, but during lucid dreams the last two mornings I’ve been walking around and exploring the details, and I keep saying,“Man, this is good.” The environment is so life-like I have to keep checking my hands to make sure I’m asleep.

A quote from this LionsRoar.com article:

“You know who said it best? Leonard Cohen. He meditated all those years at Mt. Baldy Zen Center, often for twelve hours at a time. In an interview, he said his storyline just wore itself out. He got so bored with his dramatic storyline. And then he made the comment, ‘The less there was of me, the happier I got.’”

January 5, 2011, Wasilla, Alaska: Our parking lot, a half-inch or more of ice, and black gravel they’ll sweep up and re-use come March or April.

A thick layer of ice in the parking lot, Wasilla, Alaska

If you add ScalaCheck to an SBT project like this:

libraryDependencies += "org.scalacheck" %% "scalacheck" % "1.13.4" % "test"

it’s only available in the SBT “test” scope. This means that when you start a Scala REPL session inside of SBT with its console command, the ScalaCheck library won’t be available in that scope.

To use ScalaCheck with the SBT console (REPL), don’t use its console command — use test:console instead. A complete example looks like this:

$ sbt

> test:console

scala> import org.scalacheck.Gen.choose

Note that after you type test:console your project may be compiled, so that step may take a few moments.

In summary, use SBT’s console command to start a “normal” Scala REPL inside SBT, and use test:console to start a REPL that you can run tests inside of. (Note that this same advice also applies to using ScalaTest or specs2.)

“Do not try to experience satori. Do not try to drive away illusion. Do not hate the thoughts that arise, and do not love them, either. Above all, do not entertain them. Just practice the great sitting, here and now. If you do not continue a thought, it will not come back of its own accord.”

If you think programming now is difficult, VisiCalc was written in assembly language for an Apple II. Here are a few words from this web page that describe this code:

VisiCalc was written in assembly language

Dan Bricklin, inventor/creator of VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet program for personal computers, has created this page of historical notes and images about his work. His work came long before my interest in computers and programming, so I enjoy reading about it from a historical perspective. He shows a TI calculator and very large state diagram on this page. I remember seeing calculators like that in stores, and the work he put into the state diagram looks like a modern mind map.

If you’re into history, it’s all very cool.

Dan Bricklin- the history of VisiCalc and other things

This bloomberg.com article shows a little bit about how and why solar energy may become cheaper than coal in the next ten years.

Solar energy to be cheaper than coal

I went to bed last night thinking that it would be cool if iPhones were made of gravitons configured to your body’s unique vibrational frequency, so if your phone was in the kitchen while you were sitting on the couch, you could hold your hand out and the phone would come flying over to you. (Pity anything between you and your phone, and I don’t know how the gravitons were configured to only activate on demand, rather than being in constant orbit around your body (or stuck to your body)).

Then in a dream in Santa Fe this morning I was driving along and realized that I needed to change lanes very quickly to make the turn from St. Francis onto Cerillos Road. From what I can gather, I did that so fast that I flew into another reality. I ended up in a forest where I first came upon some combination of a gorilla and a bear that was walking upright through the forest. Fortunately it was wearing a breathing mask of some sort and I thought, “It’s not threatening, it’s just out for a walk.” Then a skunk as large as a car came walking down the road. It freaked me out, and I quickly thought of that bear-gorilla’s breathing mask, but the skunk was actually quite pleasant and just wanted to be petted. A large four-legged animal was flying in the sky above me, but cows the shape of giraffes (and twice their size) inside 30-40' tall chain-link fences had my attention, especially when they all came over to the fence in anticipation that I might feed them.

After a few more quirky sightings, I arrived at my destination and went to get my dogs some water. The water came out of a fountain normally, but then when it hit my clasped hands it become a consistency thicker than jello. This was convenient, because it let me carry a large “bowl” of water over to my dogs, who were really thirsty. They initially thought they had to bite the water, but then they learned that they could lick it normally.

After that things got a little weird. (I don’t know words in the English language that I can use to describe most of what happened next, though there was a lot of telekinesis, and a few beings were training me in the possibilities of what *could* be done, as opposed to the limited set of things I normally do in the dream state.)

That moment where you’ve been working on something really hard at your desk, you solve it, then lean back, swivel your chair to the side, put your feet up on the desk in celebration, and then realize there’s a burning candle behind your head.

=:o

This morning I’m reminded of a favorite meditation tip: Some days when you try to meditate, it just doesn’t work. On those days just put in your time on the cushion, or try to make game of it. Get up when the timer goes off, have a cookie, but don’t punish yourself for being a “bad meditator.” New wrinkles in the brain aren’t easily made.

But then on those days when it comes easily and naturally, turn off the timer/alarm, think, “Surf’s up, dude,” and ride that wave as long and as hard as you can. Good rides like these make those struggles worthwhile.

Happy New Year & Namaste

This is a series of Facebook posts from an adventurous day in Alaska, December 31, 2010:

1) Hmm, more bad weather today. Adding “tire chains” to the grocery list, and I’m out the door. Driving to Seward to celebrate the new year!

2) Famous Alaska saying: “There’s old pilots, and there’s bold pilots, but there ain’t no old and bold pilots.” Meaning I’m stopping in Anchorage tonight.

3) So ... I was trying to get to Seward tonight, but got stuck in a steep, icy parking lot in Wasilla for a while. I finally decided to drive-slide the car to the edge of the parking lot where there was a small strip of frozen dirt and grass that went up the side of the hill. I got the tires on the right side of the car on that strip, built up as much speed as I could, and finally got my car up the hill. It took more than an hour to get out of there. After that I tried even harder to find tire chains but could not, so I decided to stop in Anchorage. They started the fireworks at 5pm (because of the whole darkness thing), and various shows went on all night, which was a really cool way to spend the evening.

bgr.com found a nice part of a talk by Steve Jobs in 1998 where he talked about products vs profits. I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks that Apple has lost their way in this regard. macOS keeps getting more and more clumsy, and both it and iOS have more bugs (that affect me) than ever. And then there’s the battery issues in the 2016 MacBook Pro and macOS, which is discussed in the bgr.com article.

Steve Jobs: Products vs profits

As a quick note about traits in Scala, this StackOverflow page makes a few good points about sealed traits:

Here’s a short article on dzone.com that explains why you might not need to use StringBuilder in Java any more.

You may not need to use StringBuilder in Java any more