Scala, Java, Unix, MacOS tutorials (page 1)

I recently started reading the “spiritual classic” book, I Am That, by Nisargadatta Maharaj. The book is rated 4.8 stars on Amazon and 4.4 on Goodreads, so that’s pretty impressive.

After reading the first 100 pages or so, I’m glad to report personally that there isn’t anything significantly new here for me. Even though I never saw Ram Dass refer to Nisargadatta Maharaj, the words in this book are remarkably similar to those in Ram Dass’s best books, which I have already written about. That is, the words are a little different, but all of the concepts are the same, and they are consistent with what I know about meditation.

Yesterday I watched the very emotional music video for the Elton John song, Tiny Dancer, and afterwards I wanted to do some research on how the music video was created, the story behind it, and what its meaning is. To that end, here’s a summary of what I found out about the “Tiny Dancer” music video.

The story and meaning of the Tiny Dancer song

The short story behind the Tiny Dancer song goes like this:

the small man
builds cages for everyone
while the sage,
who has to duck his head
when the moon is low,
keeps dropping keys all night long

~ an old Persian named Hafez

Java double FAQ: How do I format Java double and float output to two decimal places, such as when I want to format its output for printing or to display in a user interface?

Solution: Java double formatting

There are at least two ways to round a double or float value to two decimal places in Java:

Java date FAQ: How do I get the current date (now, today) in Java? (Also, how do I get the current time in Java?)


With Java 8 and newer — i.e., Java 11, 14, 17, etc. — use any of the follow “now” methods on these Java classes to get the current data and time:

I just took a little time to share some old notes from my meditation practice about “The purpose of mindfulness.” Or, stated another way, instead of asking about the purposes of being mindful you might ask, “Why bother being mindful?”, or “What is the motivation for practicing mindfulness and meditation?”

The purposes of mindfulness

In the following sections I describe the reasons/motivations for practicing both mindfulness and meditation.

I don’t know how many people know Ram Dass or have read his writings, but I updated the first motivation here based on his work, because if you really get into mindfulness and meditation, what he states is the end goal.

In my earlier posts on the best Ram Dass book to start with and the best Ram Dass books I know, I didn’t mention his book, Grist for the Mill.

Since I forgot to mention it, today I’d like to note a few things about it. First, I think it’s a really good book, it’s just not the first Ram Dass book I’d recommend.

US Magazine has a little story on the separation of Coldplay singer Christ Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow, and it includes this quote about Rumi’s The Guest House and a book called Man’s Search for Meaning (by Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl) that I read almost thirty years ago. (I don’t know too many Coldplay songs, but I do like Clocks.)

Coldplay’s Chris Martin: So happy to be alive

Listen with ears of tolerance.
See through the eyes of compassion.
Speak with the language of love.

~ Rumi

My religion is love.
Love is the bridge between you and everything.
Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.
Be a witness, not a judge.
I am not this hair, I am not this skin, I am the soul that lives within.
Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life.
You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.
Past and future veil God from our sight; burn up both of them with fire.

~ Rumi

As a brief note today, the PDF version of my book, Learn Functional Programming The Fast Way!, is now FREE. I wrote this functional programming book for Scala, Java, and Kotlin developers, and you can now download it for free here:

If you’re interested in functional programming, or just want to learn more about data types, generics, pure functions, expression-oriented programming, and functional error handling, I hope this book is helpful.

Free functional programming book (for Scala, Java, Kotlin, etc.)

When I first started meditating in the 1990s, I often had a hard time getting into the proper meditative state when I sat down on the meditation cushion. My “monkey mind” would be jumping all over the place, and it would take me a long time to get it to settle down. Many times I couldn’t even get it to settle down before my 30-minute timer went off.

Because of that, and because I really wanted to become better at meditating, I began experimenting with different ways to get into the meditative state faster — as fast as possible.

As a result, this page is a summary of the best ways I know to help you get into a good meditation state when you take time to sit on the meditation cushion (or wherever else you sit). If you’re interested in getting into a deep state fast, these are the “best practices” I know, especially when you’re short on time.

One note

I start off with several tips that I have labeled “All Day.” The intent of those tips is that you can use them all day to keep your mind in a great state all day. If you follow these tips, you’ll be in a great state even before you start with your formal meditation session.

After those initial tips, I get into other techniques that you can use just as you sit down on your cushion (or however else you meditate).

“As a general principle, any positive state that you experience within the context of silent sitting practice (when you reach the state of samadhi), you must try to attain in the midst of ordinary life.”

~ Shinzen Young’s teacher

“Have you got any cookies?”

~ Frank Burns, in M*A*S*H

Frank Burns, Mash: Have you got any cookies?

Dear diary,

Annihilation of the ego continues to make progress, at least during sleeping hours. In recent nights I’ve gained awareness during the dream state to find “myself” as animals, women, and other men.

Last night I gained awareness as an older black man, talking to other black men about some of the discrimination and injustices we’ve gone through in our lives. We can laugh a little amongst ourselves about them now, but I could feel that under the laughter there’s also a deep sadness and pain.

Lately each nightly occurrence ends the same way: Eventually there’s a realization that “I” am supposed to be “Al,” and that realization startles me, pulls me from the scene, and wakes me.

Yours truly,
The Hopefully-Disappearing Self

P.S. — I don’t know if it’s more correct to say “black man,” “African-American,” or something else. To be clear, if it wasn’t important to the story I would not mention it at all.

In my experience, some “judgy” people will make up their own opinion about you — about what you should do or shouldn’t do — when they don’t know all the facts. I use the word judgy, because if you’re a Christian, Jesus was very clear on this point:

Judge not, that ye not be judged.

To wit, sometimes you just have to let people be wrong about you. (From this tweet by TinyBuddha.)

Sometimes you just have to let people be wrong about you

Some day I might write a book called, Random Conversations with Strangers While Aimlessly Wandering Around, and it will include stories like this:

Many years ago I walked into a favorite bakery in Alaska. Nobody was there, no customers or employees, so I took a few minutes to look over the cookies and donuts to decide what I wanted.

Finally a young woman came out of the back room. I knew from previous donut/cookie runs that she was born in Ohio, moved here about five years ago, was nineteen years old, and would be twenty in a few months. As she brought out a tray of something new, she said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you come in.”

I replied it was no problem, it gave me a chance to think about what I wanted. We chatted for another minute or two and then she looked around and said, “Can I be honest with you?”

Ram Dass FAQ: What is the best Ram Dass book to start with?

My answer: The best Ram Dass book to start with is ...

I wrote this in my earlier blog post, What Are The Best Books By Ram Dass, but I believe the best book you can start with is Polishing The Mirror.

I think this book is the best summary of all his work. It’s a relatively short book, it’s clearly written, and summarizes much of what you’ll read in his other books. I started reading this when I was in the hospital, and as bad as I was feeling at the time, it just blew me away. I like to underline and highlight text, and I felt like I could highlight most of the book.

Welcome! This page contains direct links to all of the videos in my 100% Free Video Training Courses. When I say “100% Free”, I mean that there are no ads and no paywalls — all of the videos below are completely free to watch.

My first three courses are listed here, and when I add more free video courses I’ll update this page.

As always I want to thank Ziverge for making this possible! This videos take a long time to create, and I wouldn’t have the time to create these without Ziverge being a sponsor. If you ever want to thank the people at Ziverge, be sure to give them a call when your programming team needs assistance on programming projects. They work with Scala, Rust, A.I., Python, and much more.

Functional Programming, Simplified — currently 5-star rated on, 4.5-star rated on Amazon, and one of the all-time best-selling books on functional programming — is currently on sale in three formats (prices shown in USD):

PDF Format
$15 on

PDF version of Functional Programming, Simplified

Paperback Book
Now $29.99 on Amazon

Print version of Functional Programming, Simplified

Kindle eBook
$14.99 on Amazon

Kindle version of Functional Programming, Simplified