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

If you happen to be using Dotty (Scala 3) and find that the f string interpolator isn’t working, it’s a known bug. (It was implemented with a macro, and the old, experimental macro system has been dropped.) I’m writing this in January, 2019; I don’t know when it will work again. You can use the Java/Scala String.format method until it’s fixed:

val pi = scala.math.Pi
println( "%1.5f".format(pi) )

I was reading this post by Martin Odersky (Make the Scala runtime independent of the standard library) and came across this comment by Li Haoyi: “This would also make it more feasible to use Scala for tiny bootstrap scripts; current Mill’s launcher is written in Java because the added classloading needed to use scala.Predef (even just println) easily adds a 200-400ms of initialization overhead.” I haven’t written anything where the startup time of a Scala application was a huge problem, but that was interesting to read.

(Though I should say that I wish all Scala/Java command-line apps started faster. It’s one reason I occasionally think about using Haskell for small scripts, so I can compile them to an executable.)

“You become what you give your attention to. If you yourself don’t choose what thoughts and images you expose yourself to, someone else will ... and their motives may not be the highest.”

~ Epictetus

Back in the 90s I was a Unix admin on a NASA project. Rumor was there was going to be a 14% layoff. The next day my boss tells me to go to HR. I’m thinking, “Me???”

I get there, and they tell me they can’t print their Postscript layoff reports in landscape mode, ask if I can help. In the end I got a great Pico de Gallo recipe out of it. :)

One day a black bear walked into the Breeze Inn in Seward, Alaska, but was encouraged to leave.

Bear walks into the Breeze Inn, Seward, Alaska

If you ever need to convert Docbook to AsciiDoc, this Pandoc command seems to work well:

pandoc --wrap=none -f docbook -t asciidoc \
       DocbookFile.xml > AsciiDocFile.adoc

Nature.com has a great article, How ‘magic angle’ graphene is stirring up physics (Misaligned stacks of the wonder material exhibit superconductivity and other curious properties).

“Keep grinding man. If you’ve ever been down, misplaced, overlooked, just keep grinding baby. You’re dreams don’t die until you give up on them. Just continue to keep working.”

~ CJ Anderson, let go by the Broncos, Panthers, Raiders, and now a star in the playoffs with the Rams

Canadian street gangs will mess you up.

I’m glad to say that I’ll be going back to regular consulting work again very soon. If you’re interested in the gory medical details that led me to quit consulting work (and write five computer programming books and a couple thousand blog posts), here you go:

When you worry about where your words land or how others digest or perceive them, you are clinging (and not allowing space for more to come through the channel). Continually create, let go, surrender to more. Create, let go, surrender to more. It is a divine dance. Respect your own story. Remain inside the rhythm.

~ Victoria Erickson

“I met a dolphin down there, and I swear to God that dolphin looked not at me, but into my soul, into my goddamn soul, and said, ‘I’m saving you Megan.’ Not with his mouth, but he said it — I’m assuming telepathically — we had a connection that I don’t even know if I can explain.”

~ from the movie Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids movie dolphin quote

For folks in states like Colorado where marijuana is legal, per uchealth.org, edible marijuana seems to be causing a lot more health problems than inhaled marijuana. A few notes:

  • It can take up to four hours for the high from an edible to take effect
  • Edibles are 268 times more likely than inhaled marijuana to cause users in Colorado to seek help at an ER (despite the fact that many more people use the inhaled form)
  • Edibles have a more severe toxicity than inhaled forms and the effects are psychiatric in nature

I had it in my mind that the worst of the mast cell disease (MCAS) side effects didn’t kick in until later in 2015, but I just saw this memory on Facebook from January 3, 2015:

“The day started off with a bad dream, after which I woke up, threw up, and had the shakes for long time. Fortunately it got much better as the day went on, and I eventually enjoyed a belated Christmas celebration with friends and family.”

I remember the vomiting and shakes started long before this – I learned to keep a trash can by the bedside – so those symptoms would have been well back into 2014.

In this InfoQ Java in 2019 Predictions article, this line stood out the most: Java 9 and 10 saw virtually no deployment to production. Working alone I occasionally wonder what large companies are doing, and with these Java major version number releases coming every six months I was wondering how that was playing out.

Yesterday one of my doctors was struggling to give me a little bit of bad news, fumbling a little over his words and giving me a very lengthy explanation. After a little while I told him listen, I’ve been unconscious seven times, I’ve had three fake heart attacks (allergic angina), and I was once told that I had a 10% chance of dying during an operation. What you’re telling me right now, it’s okay, it’s not that big of a deal. He calmed down a little after that.

This photo of walking through a neighborhood in Wasilla, Alaska in the winter reminds me of a few walks I took here in Colorado in the last few days after our New Years snow.

Walking in Wasilla

This image shows symptoms of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, from this article. I can personally attest to abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, nausea, vomiting, difficulty digesting certain foods, muscle and bone pain, muscle weakness, nerve pain, headache, neuropathy, difficulty concentrating, reduced attention span, brain fog, itching, rashes, hives, inflammation, swelling, flushing, inflammation of the eye or conjunctivitis, trouble focusing eyes, itchy and watery eyes, a burning sensation, ulcers on the tongue or in the mouth, coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, sinus pain or pressure, enlarged spleen, elevated liver enzymes, high cholesterol, rapid heart rate, abnormal blood pressures (either too high or too low), fainting, anaphylaxis, chemical and environmental sensitivities (and more).

Symptoms of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS)

One day during a speech Hakuin said, “They say there’s a pure land where everything is only mind, and that there’s a Buddha of light in your own body. Once that Buddha of light appears, mountains, rivers, earth, grass, trees, and forests suddenly glow with a great light. To see this, you have to look inside your own heart.”

An old innkeeper who had meditated for many years was sitting in the audience, and when she heard this, she felt a strange understanding of his words. She later told her family, “I feel that happiness is as near as my skin.” When she was awake and asleep she kept his words alive: “Inside your own heart. Trees shine with a great light.”