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

What happens at the motor home stays at the motor home. (I don’t think I want to know what happens in the motor home.)

Sign in a store window, Palmer, Alaska.

What happens at the motor home stays at the motor home

“And so I wake in the morning
And I step outside
And I take a deep breath and I get real high
And I scream from the top of my lungs
What’s going on?”

I may have done that once or twice in the mountains of Alaska. :)

(P!nk also does a nice cover of this song.)

I enjoy Phil Plait’s writing style in this “Bad Astronomy” article, A 3 billion solar mass black hole rockets out of a galaxy at 8 million kilometers per hour. Yes, seriously. He clearly enjoys what he’s writing about.

Bonnie Eisenman perfectly captures the target market for my upcoming book on Scala and Functional Programming. How big that market is ... I don’t know ... I’m just trying to write a good book to explain functional programming in Scala in simple terms, and this is who I’m writing it for.

The target market for my book on Scala and Functional Programming

There’s a guy on a local radio station (104.3 The Fan) named Darren McKee (who guys by the name “D-Mac”), and he constantly uses a phrase that drives me crazy:

“To be honest with you ...”

As I wrote in my book, A Survival Guide for New Consultants, you should never use that phrase.

Why? Because using it for some sentences implies that you aren’t being honest with every other sentence that comes out of your mouth.

“Why am I always sick?” That’s a question I used to ask myself a lot. Other people asked it as well: “Why are you always sick?”

I remember one time I was in the same room as my wife while she was on the phone. She was taking to her sister, who was talking about her husband (my brother-in-law), and their conversation went on for quite some time. Afterwards I said, “Wow, I hope you guys don’t talk about me all the time like that.” My wife said, “No, we just say that you seem to get sick a lot.”

I’m amazed/saddened by people who are so afraid of making a mistake that they come up with a million different reasons as excuses to justify why something can’t be done. They always say, “I would do XYZ, but ...”

All I can think to say to them is, “Quit thinking and just do it.” Or, as Cher said in Moonstruck, “Snap out of it!”

Really, what’s the worst thing that’s going to happen? You’re going to die? Well, I have news for you, no matter what you do, you’re going to die anyway. (I’ve gone unconscious seven times over the last couple of years, and believe me, at that point there’s nothing you can do about it.)

When I was very sick in 2015-2016, I used to tell my doctors it felt like I had been “drugged.” When I could see that they couldn’t understand or believe that, I’d tell them that it felt the way you feel after surgery, groggy and woozy.

For the most of this year I’ve been eating very well, but yesterday I went to see a movie (Logan) and had some popcorn. Shortly after eating the popcorn I started to feel sick, and today I feel like I’ve been drugged.

This — as I have learned — is life with mast cell activation disease, known as MCAD or MCAS.

The Native American woman I met last week had an aneurysm and brain surgery last year. (She showed me the scar, and she’s fine now.) Before the aneurysm was discovered, she went to a shaman who’s well-known among Natives here. He lit something, made some smoke, did whatever else he does, then looked at her, put his finger on her forehead and said, “You are blocked here.”

Unfortunately she assumed he was referring to a mental blockage, and thought, “No, I’m an open person, he’s wrong.” Shortly after this, doctors discovered the aneurysm right where he pointed.

“So you’re a glass half-empty kind of guy?”

“Depends what’s in the glass.”

“If you care about someone you have to let them be the person they are, not the person you want them to be. Otherwise, what’s the point?”

(From an episode of “Death in Paradise.”)

One of the crazy things about having super-realistic lucid dreams goes like this:

Three times this morning I woke up, had a couple of cookies, made some coffee, and started doing things, only to realize each time that I was still asleep.

(The good news is that I had a lot of cookies, with no calories.)

Table of Contents1 - Summary2 - New Linode Server3 - Update Everything4 - Ubuntu Firewall5 - Add a New User6 - Disabling Root Login7 - Limit Login Attempts8 - Install Nginx9 - Adjust Firewall10 - Nginx Configuration11 - NOT what I used: Let’s Encrypt on Ubuntu 16.0412 - (1) Create a cert (openssl)13 - (2) Create a strong Diffie-Hellman group14 - (3) Configure Nginx to Use SSL15 - Adjust the Nginx Configuration to Use SSL16 - (Alternative Configuration) Allow Both HTTP and HTTPS Traffic17 - Adjust the Firewall18 - Enable the Changes in Nginx19 - Test in Browser20 - Nginx "default_server"21 - Can change to a permanent redirect (301)22 - More Security: Preventing Information Disclosure23 - More Security: Fail2Ban24 - Restricting Access by IP Address25 - See also

Without any introduction or discussion, here are the notes I made while learning how to get HTTPS working with Nginx. These are just for me, but if something helps you, cool.

Wesley Reisz also shared this image with the text, “Artist’s secret toolbox for creating art ... transformations.” The slide is from Brian Kane.

Artists secret toolbox for creating art ... transformations

Wesley Reisz shared this nice image titled, “The Rationale for Optional” (in Java). Optional in Java is similar to Option in Scala.

The rationale for Optional (in Java)

I was surprised to find out yesterday that you can change your Amazon email address without having to verify the change from your old email account. You only have to verify the new email address. That seems like a flaw.

I sit here on the stairs,
'cause I’d rather be alone.
If I can’t have you right now,
I’ll wait dear.

A. Rose, Patience has a good story on How to super-size your memory using techniques like a memory palace.

How to increase your memory has this story about newly restored nuclear test footage. From the article, “Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is in the process of restoring those films, and they’ve uploaded the first batch to YouTube.”