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

“Do not fall in love with people like me. I will take you to museums, and parks, and monuments, and kiss you in every beautiful place, so that you can never go back to them without tasting me like blood in your mouth. I will destroy you in the most beautiful way possible. And when I leave you will finally understand, why storms are named after people.”

~ Caitlyn Siehl

Ubuntu is running great on my old 2008 iMac, but if you’re having Linux performance issues, here’s an ArchLinux page titled “Improving performance.”

I was laying in bed last night, waiting to fall asleep, and the power went out. As I laid there thinking about how cold it would get, a gray telephone we had many years ago began ringing in the closet. I wondered what it was doing in there.

Instantly the scenery changed and I flashed back to an event I didn’t know about twelve years ago. As I observed it, it made me sad.

Then I kept going back in time, first to one event and then another.

There seem to be a few different ways to type “smart quotes” on Ubuntu Linux, including using keys (keystrokes) like AltGr and Compose. In this tutorial I’ll document an approach that works best for me: creating simple macros I can assign to simple keystrokes rather than having to use more-complicated keystrokes.

I haven’t been feeling well the last few days, and this afternoon when I had the chills I decided to have a cup of tea to warm me up. I recently bought some new tea, so I thought I’d give it a try. A short while later I got itchy and started breaking out in hives. All of that is how life with mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) goes.

In a mostly-unrelated note, here’s a link to a July, 2016 research article titled, Intestinal cell damage and systemic immune activation in individuals reporting sensitivity to wheat in the absence of coeliac disease.

Had a dream in Spanish this morning. Unfortunately I didn’t understand too much of it. It felt like I had switched to a Spanish tv station by accident, and then the batteries on the remote died and I couldn’t change the channel.

“Hola. Buenos dias. Come se dice, ‘I don’t think this is supposed to be my dream?’”

“Every action in our lives touches on some cord that will vibrate in eternity.”

~ Edwin Hubbel Chapin

There used to be a magical mirror, called the Mirror of Truth. If someone looked into it and said a lie, they would die immediately. In the land where it existed, everyone from kings to merchants was subject to its justice. One day Mulla Nasrudin came to this land and was brought before the Mirror of Truth to test his honesty. He declared, “I am telling a lie.” Nothing happened. “I think I broke your mirror,” said Mulla.

(I don’t remember where I read this, but I just found it in some old notes and thought I’d share it here.)

Started the drive at 5:50 EST Tuesday in Kentucky. Waited out the morning’s snowstorm with some old-timers and truckers at a McD’s in Georgetown, Indiana. Maneuvered through the snow and ice induced wrecks between Corydon and Evansville. Wanted to kiss the ground when it finally got dry after 11am. Drove through the sunset in Kansas, then followed the truckers, Moon, and stars across the rest of Kansas and Colorado, arrived “home” at 12:20am MST Wednesday. Looking forward to seeing if the mountains are white whenever I wake up.

“Perhaps the most important principle for the good algorithm designer is to refuse to be content.”

~ Alfred Aho

A little moose eating a tree, Wasilla, Alaska.

I think I originally saw this “kindness changes the brain” quote in a pschologytoday.com article titled The Positive Psychology of Kindness.

Kindness changes the brain

“Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” ~ Babe Ruth

Diary entry from January, 18, 2011, Wasilla, Alaska: While on a walk this morning I came across a large moose. It was just standing there, eating a tree. I didn‘t bother it, and it didn‘t bother me.

One thing I learned about ten years ago is that when I need to memorize things, flashcards work really well for me. More recently, because I often bounce between many technologies, I have been making flashcards as a way of bringing me back up to speed after I’ve been away from a technology for a while.

The image shows one example of this, where I created a stack of flashcards to help me remember/relearn Android, which I haven’t used in several months. In this case I also have my Android cheat sheet to fall back on, but even then I still like using the flashcards. I think the theory is that rather than reading something passively, flashcards force you to try to recall something, and that’s a much more active way of using your brain and memory.

Android flash cards

As a short “note to self,” I just used this Scala code to (a) create a list that contains random strings of different lengths, then (b) shuffle the list of strings to create a more random effect:

I was just reminded of Rubber Duck Debugging. From this Wikipedia link, “The name is a reference to a story in the book The Pragmatic Programmer in which a programmer would carry around a rubber duck and debug their code by forcing themselves to explain it, line-by-line, to the duck.” For me, my rubber duck is Albert Einstein.

Rubber Duck Debugging

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other thing.”

~ Abraham Lincoln (born in Hardin County, Kentucky)

“I’m not a great programmer; I’m just a good programmer with great habits.”

~ Kent Beck

Here’s an adn.com story about how a little shop in Palmer, Alaska “invented a machine that is cleaning the decks of aircraft carriers all over the world.”