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

September 26, 2010: I went down to Seward, Alaska for a short vacation this week, and woke up to a 5.5 magnitude earthquake one morning. True story: I was in the middle of a dream when I suddenly heard the song "Rock The Boat" playing as someone grabbed my left wrist. I then woke up to hear something rattling in the hotel room, and before I could think of who I was, where I was, or what to do, the earthquake stopped.

Alaska earthquake - September 25, 2010 - Talkeetna, Cantwell, Wasilla, Seward

A friend of mine is an honest reviewer of apps. When I asked her to use the AAA iOS app while we were driving back from Florida, she said, “OMG, please don’t make me use that piece of crap again.”

Sunrise from a road trip this morning, September 10, 2018.

Road trip sunrise

The paperback version of “Hello, Scala” is now available. The regular price of the book will be $25, but it’s introductory price is $17.76. Click here to view the book information on Amazon.

The PDF version of Hello, Scala is now available here on Gumroad.com. The regular price will be $20, but it’s currently on sale for just $10.

Here’s some information about the Boulder, Colorado Chautauqua, courtesy of the menu at the Chautauqua dining hall.

Boulder, Colorado Chautaqua information

“I didn’t understand it at first,” Jack says. “As I got older I understood. It’s so enriching to your life to have a brotherhood of guys that you know have your back.”

~ that quote comes from this article about football, but i find the same to be true when you’re working with a great team of men and women

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

~ Socrates

Before doctors figured out that I have a rare blood disease called Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), I went unconscious seven times, typically vomiting while I was unconscious.

Right before the first event I was stumbling around my apartment like I had been poisoned, splashing cold water on my face, and generally just trying not to die. Despite my efforts, I went unconscious.

Right before the second event I thought, “If I live through this one, I need to update my will.”

Right before the third event I thought, “Apparently I’m going to die soon. I just want other people to be happy, and if I live, I want to help them however I can.”

After that, for events #4 through #7, along with three subsequent cases of allergic angina — what I call “fake heart attacks” — I had no significant thoughts in my mind, just peace.

These days when something bad happens I recall those 7-10 events, and know that I could have died during any of them. When I think that way, all of today’s little problems seem insignificant.

A cow driving an old Volkswagen van, as seen in an ice cream shop somewhere on the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, Colorado.

A cow driving an old Volkswagen van

Sorry, it's a quiet week here on alvinalexander.com. I have family in town this week on vacation, and they're keeping me pretty busy.

Here are two good quotes about coaching from this Jon Gruden article:

“He had a good demeanor about him, the way he got his point across. He always told me it was always about your demeanor and how you get your point across. He said, ‘You have to be a car salesman.’ If you want to sell plays, you can’t be short on energy. People want to be associated with people that have a lot of energy and love what they do and show enthusiasm, not someone who just walks in there and kind of goes through the motions.”

“I always tell people,‘You’ve gotta have a why.’ If you have a reason why, you’re most likely going to succeed. ... And those are the types of things as a coach, when you know those things, those are the buttons you can push. When you’re not hustling, when you’re not doing those things, it’s like, ‘Is that the type of example you’re trying to set for your little brothers?’ When you don’t know those things, you can’t use those things.”

This is definitely not my thing, but if you’re interested in eating squirrel meat, head over to Bentonville, Arkansas for the World Championship Squirrel Cook Off (which I learned about while sitting at the Subaru dealership in Boulder a few days ago).

When planning my brother-in-law’s funeral with a woman at the funeral home (I don’t know if she is considered a funeral director or something else), my father-in-law decided to get a limousine for the immediate family members. The limo would take everyone from the funeral home to church, then to the cemetery, and finally back to the funeral home.

When we were told that the limo could hold seven people and we calculated there were eight people we wanted to get in, I was voted off limo-island, but the funeral home woman said I could ride in the hearse. After clarifying whether I’d be sitting in the front or laying in the back – she said the front – I asked if I could drive the hearse. While she never said “yes,” I think she said, “Um, sure,” and I know that she later told a co-worker that I would be driving.

Something I just realized when writing a friend is that after my parents were divorced, everyone but my dad was much happier. During my senior year of high school my parents were still married and my dad had a child with a woman who wasn’t my mother, which led to the divorce. He could be verbally abusive at times — extremely so — and in our high school photos we often looked like the most depressed family in the world. But after he left, everyone felt more free to be themselves without fear of reprisal.

If you like free things, here’s a link to a free preview of the new version of my book, “Hello, Scala.” The book is 257 pages long, and the free preview contains the first 120 pages of it, so I hope it’s a significant preview.

The new version of the book isn’t currently available for sale, but I hope to release print, PDF, and Kindle versions of it in the next few weeks.

Hello, Scala (free preview)

I doubt that most people know it, but authors always enjoy receiving letters of “thanks” like this one. Writing is often a lonely, solitary business, and to hear that your work has helped other people is always satisfying. If there’s a book you’ve read that you really enjoyed, I encourage you to write the author a brief letter of thanks. They’ll appreciate it more than you’ll know.

Author love letters of thanks

JMH is an SBT plugin for running OpenJDK JMH benchmarks. Per its docs, “JMH is a Java harness for building, running, and analysing nano/micro/milli/macro benchmarks written in Java and other languages targeting the JVM.”

They also recommend reading an article titled Nanotrusting the Nanotime if you’re interested in writing your own benchmark tests.

I just saw that this is a way you can easily determine the blocksize of a filesystem, at least a Mac/Unix/Linux filesystem:

$ echo foo > foo

$ du -h foo
4.0K    foo

I tried to do the same thing with touch foo, but that didn’t work. Without digging into it more, the key seems to be in having very little text in the file, at which point the du command shows the minimum block size for the file.

I drove back from Kentucky to Colorado today following the death of my brother-in-law, and got to enjoy a beautiful view of a full moon for much of the day, including a stop at a rest area in Indiana this morning.

Full moon over an Indiana rest area