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

A software tool created by the NSA to hack into Microsoft Windows systems has been turned into a ransomware worm that has infected and disabled hundreds of thousands of unpatched Windows’ systems. Read more at bbc.com if you’re interested.

As a quick “note to self,” to get the Share Buttons module by AddToAny working in Drupal 8, I followed these steps:

- install the AddToAny module
- configure permissions so i could work with it
    - admin/people/permissions
- configure AddToAny as desired
    - admin/config/services/addtoany
- create a block, add it to a region (such as Content)
    - i actually created a block, then modified
      my theme to show AddToAny between the Contents and
      the Comments

The key to getting AddToAny was knowing to go to admin/structure/block and then selecting “Place Block” to create an AddToAny block. Not knowing that I had to do that slowed me down for quite a while.

To show how far my diet has come, on May 13, 2013 I wrote this on Facebook: “Huh, the doctor was right. They do have vegetables at my grocery store.”

These days (May, 2017), 80-90% of my diet is organic vegetables.

1-800-Flowers should be renamed to 1-800-NO-Flowers, because an order I placed on the Tuesday before Mother’s Day — which I paid extra to have delivered on Friday — won’t be delivered until after Mother’s Day. Either they or FedEx screwed up the delivery, and now FedEx won’t deliver the order until next week, so with 36 hours left before Mother’s Day, 1-800-NO-Flowers-For-You! won’t do anything to correct the problem.

Back in 2013, I attempted to grow a bonsai tree. It died almost immediately. I’d like to blame it on the high altitude here in Colorado, but I’m pretty sure it was me. Some day I’ll try again.

Bonsai tree

A visual image of the mathematical concept of “sets” using southern colloquialisms.

(I found this image on Twitter, but since I didn’t “like” it at the time I can’t find who created it, but I’ll link to them if/when I ever find the page again.)

Set theory explained with southern colloquialisms

This is a photo from May 10, 2011. The long bike-riding path in Palmer, Alaska was  one of my favorite things about living there. As you can see, it’s a nice, big path, separated from the road.

Bike path in Palmer, Alaska

Wow, that’s a scary coincidence. (Image from this tweet.)

People fired by Trump

Tomasita’s is a decent restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and they have a good description of the history of the margarita.

The history of the margarita
Table of Contents1 - The Teleport command2 - Teleport command help3 - For basic use, tp is just like cd4 - Basic teleporting5 - Listing your teleport history6 - Teleport by number7 - Bash completion with Teleport8 - Teleport aliases9 - Adding/creating a teleport alias10 - Using a teleport alias11 - Listing your teleport aliases12 - Removing an alias13 - Teleport command - summary14 - Teleport command - download

Summary: By keeping a history of the directories you've visited, the Teleport command is an improvement on the Unix/Linux cd command. By having a memory, Teleport lets you jump from one directory to any previously visited directory, easily.

January, 2015 Update: The Teleport command now supports Bash completion. For more details on this, see the Github INSTALL.md file.

“If we close our eyes (during zazen), the darkness may provide us some relief from visual distraction and give us a feeling of peace and calm. But in zazen, we keep our eyes open. If we want to close our eyes because we feel distracted by what our eyes see, we need to understand that it is our minds that are distracted, not our eyes.”

My method for trying to understand this fundamental essence – the presence of “something bigger” than me – was to examine intellectually all the reasons I could think of for the universe to exist and to try to envision what had “existed” before the universe came into being.

On the one hand, if there was nothing before creation, how could the “something” of the universe come from “nothing”? On the other hand, if there was something before the creation of the world, it must have always existed, without beginning. But how could “something” have no starting point, no first moment?

I was frustrated by these questions, and by not being able to envision the timelessness that went with “no beginning.” As a boy, I was continually preoccupied by such attempts to explain the world rationally. I was unable to recognize or accept the limitation of my logical mind, its inability to understand the nature of life beyond concepts of solid objects and linear time.

(I had these same thoughts back in high school, but these words are from the book, “Zen at Work.”)

I don’t remember the original source of this photo, but it shows an early attempt at using a sled to get around in Alaska. It worked well until that one day ...

First attempt at using a sled in Alaska

Polishing the Mirror by Ram Dass is the best book I know on spirituality, and this quote was posted on his Twitter page yesterday.

Who you are is more than who you think you are

I don’t know the original source of this image or quote, but I like it.

Impossible ... risky ... give it a try

It’s hard to believe it’s been this long, but ten years ago today I hopped in the car, aimed in the general direction of Alaska, and a little less than a month later I ended up in Talkeetna. Hopefully in another ten years The Squirrel and I will be sitting on the front porch again, eating popcorn, Cheerios, cherries, and PB&J sandwiches, and catching up on the last twenty years of adventures.

In daily life, each of us is a vehicle for something. Our choices of values determine the kinds of vehicles we are, the way we move in the world and relate to each other. All individuals (and organizations) are free to choose values that they feel are important, that express their vision.

(A quote from the book, Zen at Work.)

My oldest sister is five years older than I am, and when she was in high school she was involved in activities outside of school, like the foreign student exchange program. I was an extreme introvert and could never imagine myself doing those things, but she was very involved in making our community a better place, and I was proud of her.

Back then I didn’t know that I was free to choose my own vision ... the mental weight of being an extreme introvert kept me from seeing that. I may always struggle with being an introvert, but these days I understand that I can choose my own vision, and I do so consciously.

“Remember how weird it seemed when you first learned that a String in Java was immutable? Well, in functional programming it’s all like that. Everything is immutable.”

(From a discussion with a Java developer recently.)

“When I was very young, my spiritual awareness was limited to a foggy sense of the presence of ‘something bigger’ than me and my personal life. During grammar school years, I was intent on trying to discover this elusive something. I was convinced that ‘it’ was the primary source of life and of everything in the world. I hoped to end my spiritual confusion by understand this ‘source’ and clarify the meaning of my life. My method for trying to understand this fundamental essence was to examine intellectually all the reasons I could think of for the universe to exist and to try to envision what had ‘existed’ before the universe came into being.”

(A quote from the book, Zen at Work, which I found in a used book store yesterday.)

When I was young, I’d lay in bed at night, imagine traveling to the end of the universe, and then I’d remember thinking, “It can’t end, it must keep going, right? How can the universe come to an ‘end’ unless it’s a balloon, in which case there is still something outside of the balloon.”

It seems like there still aren’t many women in computer programming, but twelve out of my last eighteen doctors have been women, so that’s cool.