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

“The way we experience every part of our lives is affected by the qualities of our mind and by the coloring filters of our mental attitude.”

From the book, When the Chocolate Runs Out

My favorite line from this “Bear Safety” sign in Alaska:

“Play dead unless it starts to eat you, then fight back.

bear safety sign in Alaska

I just ran across this photo of my old apartment. I like using a shoji screen to add a temporary “wall” in different spaces, and I used to keep Christmas lights going for most of the winter evenings, as shown.

Shoji screen in my apartment

For many years I’ve dreamt of a basement with secret walls and hidden compartments. The basement is underneath a store, and I always assumed that someone lived in the hidden compartments, but I could never find who it was that lived down there, or find all of the compartments.

With my newfound ability to stay conscious most of the night I found all of the compartments this morning, and I was stunned to learn that dozens of people lived in them. I was further surprised that I “knew” most of the people from previous dreams.

At first a few of them tried to kill me. One of them stabbed me with a syringe of some sort. That knocked me down pretty good, and under normal circumstances I might have gone back to sleep, but a few people, including an advanced yoga instructor I met several years ago, helped me recover. When everyone learned that I wouldn't/couldn’t die, they gave up.

I watched the movie Deuce Bigalow a few nights ago, and ever since then I keep hearing the song Call Me by Blondie on the radio. I think the universe may be suggesting a new career path, though I could be reading it wrong.

As a quick note, this stackexchange.com page has some good background information on how to install a deb package file from the command line on Debian Linux (which in my case is Ubuntu 16.04). The short answer is that if you have a deb file named google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb, you’ll want to run these two commands, one after the other, as shown:

If you need to dump the contents of an array to the Android Log (Logcat) output, I can confirm that this approach works, at least with simple arrays of integers and strings that know how to print themselves:

Log.i("MyAndroidClass", Arrays.toString(arr));

If you’re trying to print more complicated arrays of custom objects you’ll probably need to implement good toString methods on those objects, and then this technique should work.

As a quick note, if you need some examples of the syntax of how to write a Java method that returns a generic type, I hope these are helpful:

As a quick note, here’s a Java method that will round a float to the nearest half value, such as 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, etc.:

/**
 * converts as follows:
 * 1.1  -> 1.0
 * 1.3  -> 1.5
 * 2.1  -> 2.0
 * 2.25 -> 2.5
 */
public static float roundToHalf(float f) {
    return Math.round(f * 2) / 2.0f;
}

The comments show how this function converts the example float values to their nearest half value, so I won’t add any more comments here.

As a quick note, here’s the source code for a Java “approximately equal” function that I use in an Android application:

I went of my diet a little last night by eating some mozzarella cheese and half a beer, and this morning I woke up extremely itchy with several bumps. That’s how I roll with my version of MCAS.

“As your practice proceeds you’ll be able to remain conscious as you transition from your normal waking state into the states of sleep ... once you can remain conscious like this, you’ll no longer sleep but merely pass through the night by going into deeper states of meditation.”

To those who know me that sounds like something I might write, but those words were published by Ram Dass in 1971.

This image shows a little more of his text. I deleted a few sentences that were repetitive or used obscure words.

Ram Dass on sleep and dreaming

From a Phys.org article titled The thermodynamics of learning:

“The greatest significance of our work is that we bring the second law of thermodynamics to the analysis of neural networks,” Sebastian Goldt at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, told Phys.org. “The second law is a very powerful statement about which transformations are possible — and learning is just a transformation of a neural network at the expense of energy. This makes our results quite general and takes us one step towards understanding the ultimate limits of the efficiency of neural networks.”

The thermodynamics of learning

Last week I was wondering how mechanical watches work, and this morning Erik Bruchez shared this ‘animated infographic’ article on how they work.

How a mechanical watch works

From a Reuters article titled, Apple seeks design perfection at new “spaceship” campus:

“But de la Torre ultimately saw that Apple executives were not trying to evoke the iPhone per se, but rather following something akin to the Platonic ideal of form and dimension. ‘They have arrived at design principles somehow through many years of experimentation, and they are faithful to those principles,’ de la Torre said. Fanatical attention to detail is a key tenet.”

HP offers 157 “business” laptops. (I have no idea how many “personal” laptops they offer, I didn’t look.)

When I searched Dell for 15” laptops, their search results showed 167 models.

Apple has one. Maybe as many as four, depending on how you count.

To create this graphic, someone Google’d all the queries for “Why is [state] so” (like, “Why is Illinois so”), and mapped the first Google auto-complete result onto each state. Makes me want to spend some time in the “haunted” states.

(They actually Google’d these queries in 2014. Makes me wonder what the current results look like.)

Why is state so (Google search results)

In dreams at night I jump off of buildings and balconies because it’s the fastest way to get to my next destination. I have to remember not to do the same thing during the day.

As a note to my future self: Take time to think!

*sigh*

Even at my advanced age, if I don’t think through an algorithm I can still waste an awful lot of time.

As an example I just started working on a complex algorithm for my Android football game based on the initial thoughts in my brain, and came to regret it. After recovering from that faux-pas I decided to write just a few simple notes like this to clarify my thoughts:

“It just tells you how tough this team is. Down 25 points, we just keep grinding and we finish on top again.”

~ Julian Edelman, New England Patriots