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

zdnet.com reports that Samsung is developing an Android app that will let you use your Galaxy phone as a Linux desktop computer. Samsung’s “Linux on Galaxy” announcement is here.

The Fairbanks, Alaska ArcticCam shows snow on the ground this morning, October 19, 2017. The high today is 24 degrees (F), the low is 12. The high/low is 32/16 in Talkeetna as well.

The Fairbanks, Alaska ArcticCam (snow)

“Show me your flowcharts (source code), and conceal your tables (domain model), and I shall continue to be mystified; show me your tables (domain model) and I won’t usually need your flowcharts (source code): they’ll be obvious.”

~ Fred Brooks, “The Mythical Man Month

The Mythical Man Month

NPR reports that a new version of Google’s AlphaGo Zero software became a Go master by learning to play the game only by playing itself, i.e., only by using reinforcement learning (as opposed to supervised learning). Per the report in Nature.com, “AlphaGo Zero achieved superhuman performance, winning 100–0 against the previously published, champion-defeating AlphaGo.”

In case you want to know about squirrel behaviors, especially in the fall, National Geographic has this short article and video.

As a quick note today, I’ve been trying to build my own Amazon Kindle eBook using HTML and CSS, and yesterday I learned that I also need an OPF file as part of the process of creating both the eBook and the Table of Contents (TOC).

This morning I found that Amazon has a collection of sample books that you can use with Kindlegen, and the “Guide” project specifically includes the following example OPF file, which is well-documented.

In the “Good News” department, apparently a long time ago when I was pretty sick with the MCAS, I wrote a series of Scala scripts to help convert a LaTeX document into an Amazon Kindle eBook. As a result, my book on functional programming in Scala should be available as a Kindle eBook later this week.

Unix/Linux shell script FAQ: How do I write a Unix or Linux shell script where I "do something" for every line in a text file?

Solution: An easy way to process every line in a text file is to use a Unix/Linux while loop in combination with the Linux cat command, like this:

After finishing a yoga session at the cabin in Talkeetna, I decided to lay down in bed for the savasana part. So I’m laying there, relaxing, minding my own business, when someone sits on the bed next to me. I quickly open my eyes, but *nobody is there*. I jump out of the bed as fast as I’ve done anything in my life, then sleep on the couch for the next week.

A couple of years later I’m laying on my left side in bed at a friend’s house, waiting to fall asleep, when one of her dogs jumps on the bed, down behind my legs. The dog scratches on the bed, circles in one direction, stops, then circles in the other direction before finally plopping down against my legs. I think, “How nice, one of the dogs has chosen to lay down next to me.” Trying not to disturb them, I slowly lift my head, look down at my legs to see which one it is, and *there’s nobody there*.

(Boo)

If you’ve never heard of the story of The Two Wolves, here’s a good, short, illustrated version of the story.

The Two Wolves

If you like cartoon guides to Zen and philosophy, Zen Speaks and Wisdom of the Zen Masters are two of my favorites. I don’t remember which book this story comes from, but it’s one of those two. (It’s definitely the work of Tsai Chih Chung.)

Zen - Being Your Own Master

“A month ago I went on a juice cleanse. You know what it cleans out of you best? The will to live.”

Way back in 2009 I went on a yoga retreat in Sayulita, Mexico with about twelve other people. One night after dinner I met this black dog as we were walking around the town plaza area. I spent every evening in the town plaza, where I had watched this dog constantly be attacked by other dogs, so when she came up to me on this evening I petted her and then gave her my leftovers. I was reminded of this when I encountered another black dog while on a walk yesterday.

Yoga teacher Judi Rice — who organized the trip — was influential in my life, is standing behind my left shoulder. She passed away in December, 2014.

Today is a day off for me, so when I woke up and laid in bed with my eyes closed and noticed that the dreams were still playing, I decided to let them continue to roll on while I lay there awake.

After the same dream kept replaying itself in different ways, I noticed that an old woman was usually standing behind me and to my right, observing the dreams. I didn’t bother to ask her who she was, I just jumped right to my main question: “Why am I seeing these things?”

She answered, “You need to resolve these situations to your own satisfaction.”

So I laid there for about two hours — about the length of going out to see a movie, I figured — letting the dreams go on and trying to understand and somehow “resolve” them. The old woman was always there, so every once in a while I turned to her and asked her another question. She willingly answered everything I asked.

“When we choose to perform an activity, we make it a gift by dedicating our entire body-mind to it, by making it the only task we do in that moment. In that way, all activities are included in one, and all activities are unified. This is how our activity fills the universe, and how we express complete understanding in our work.”

(I don’t remember the source of this quote, but it sounds like something Shunryu Suzuki would say.)

This photo looks like a sunset to me, but it’s from a sunrise in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Sunrise in Virginia Beach, Virginia

In an effort to “Get rid of the crap,” I asked my editor if we could delete an entire chapter from the Scala Cookbook, and she said yes. I didn’t know if they’d allow that since the advance they paid me is based on a proposal of X chapters, but they’re all-in on just trying to create a good book, which is nice.

“Having a direct experience of seeing everything one looks at (including one’s own body) as moving subatomic particles alters the perception of ‘me’ and of the substantiality of what we regard as ‘normal’ reality.”