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

December 10, 2017: I’m glad to announce that the final version of my new book, Functional Programming, Simplified is now available in three formats:

Functional Programming, Simplified book cover

From this Cornell University page, Google’s AlphaZero algorithm has been generalized to learn new games given only the game rules: “In this paper, we generalise this approach into a single AlphaZero algorithm that can achieve, tabula rasa, superhuman performance in many challenging domains.

Started the drive back to Colorado at 5:50am EST Tuesday in Kentucky. Waited out the morning’s nasty snowstorm with some old-timers and truckers at a McD’s in Georgetown, Indiana.

Got tired of waiting, so when the snow let up a little I got back in the car. Maneuvered through 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, the 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.

~ December 11, 2013

Table of Contents1 - Step 1: Insert a CD or DVD2 - Step 2: Find the CD/DVD identifier3 - Step 3: Unmount the drive4 - Step 4: Copy the DVD with the dd command5 - Step 5: Eject your media

If you want to make a backup copy (an ISO image) of a CD or DVD on a MacOS system using the dd command at the Mac Terminal command line, I’ll demonstrate the process in this tutorial.

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Step 1: Insert a CD or DVD

Assuming that you’re using an external CD/DVD drive, the first step is to connect your drive to your computer, and then insert a CD or DVD. If you insert a movie or music CD and an application automatically starts playing, quit that application.

A few days ago I ran into a woman who seemed very stressed out. I had a conversation with her that went like this:

Me: You seem to be feeling a lot of stress, may I ask why?

Her: Yada yada yada ... I’m trying to save my marriage! (Said loudly, with a lot of emotion.) (She starts crying.)

Me: Why?

Her: What?

Me: For as long as I’ve known you, you’ve said that you’re not happy, and now you seem very stressed out. So I’m wondering why you’re trying to save your marriage?

Her: ...

I thought it was a simple question — I thought she might say that she still loved the guy — but it turns out she had no answer for it.

She was crying, and tired of crying, so we talked about something else for a while. Then out of the blue she said, “I think I’m trying to save it because I always thought it was the right thing to do. Or maybe I never wanted to be divorced. But those aren’t very good reasons, are they? He really is a mean, selfish jerk, and he’s making my life miserable.”

Sunrise, December 10, 2013, somewhere in Kansas.

Somewhere in Kansas

These are my notes from the book, Jony Ive, The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products, by Leander Kahney. They may not make sense if you haven’t read the book yourself, but they are notes from the book I want to remember.

As I’ve written about before, I assumed that Apple’s Jonathan Ive had his hands full with the completion of the design of Apple Park, and that was affecting the design and quality of Apple’s recent product offerings. This quote comes from bloomberg.com: “With the completion of Apple Park, Apple’s design leaders and teams are again reporting directly to Jony Ive, who remains focused purely on design,” Amy Bessette, a company spokeswoman, said Friday in a statement.

fool.com has this blog post about the projected growth of various robot markets.

Projected growth of robot markets

I like the cover so much, I’m now up to three copies of Functional Programming, Simplified.

A little more seriously, I’ll be reviewing the third proof tonight. If all goes well, the book will be available on Amazon.com this weekend.

Third proof of Functional Programming, Simplified

The Republicans open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for drilling, led by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski. Image from this oilprice.com story.

Republicans open Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling

December 8th is recognized as the day of Buddha’s enlightenment. Tonight that makes me think of this scene from Haven. :) (I’ll meditate more tomorrow.)

Quoting the Buddha

Meanwhile, in Fairbanks, Alaska ... the ArcticCam shows snow on the roads. Temps are 24/30, freezing rain is likely.

Meanwhile, in Fairbanks, Alaska ...

“Bring your mind to one point and wait for grace.”

~ Ram Dass in Polishing the Mirror, on what the Maharaji told him

I came across this unusual looking cloud formation on the drive back to Colorado yesterday (December 6, 2017).

Strange cloud formation in Colorado

I haven’t tried it yet, but Pants is a build system that supports Scala and Java projects (and other languages).

The Pants build system

The beginning of this story about Lakers’ coach Luke Walton has a few discussions about meditation and a mindfulness app.

Another good tweet from Brian Greene: “Special Relativity tells us that nothing can travel through space faster than the speed of light, but this does not constrain the speed at which space itself expands. Galaxies can — and do — move apart at faster than light speed.”

This is the second proof of the print/paperback version of Functional Programming, Simplified. It should be ready for release by December 10, 2017.

Functional Programming, Simplified: Print version, coming soon

This morning I was thinking about something that I want to accomplish, and as I thought about it a voice in my brain said, “You can’t just wish for it, you have to put in the work.” That seems like good advice in general.