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

Laugh at the night,
at the day, at the moon,
laugh at the twisted
streets of the island,
laugh at this clumsy
boy who loves you,
but when I open
my eyes and close them,
when my steps go,
when my steps return,
deny me bread,
air, light, spring,
but never your laughter,
for I would die.

~ Pablo Neruda

CBS is reportedly working on a reboot of the Northern Exposure television series. The series had more of an impact on my life than any other tv series — I ended up living in Alaska — so more power to them.

This is a picture of me as a pitcher in high school. I don’t want to say that we were poor growing up, but I wore a large outfielder’s glove while pitching because I was afraid to ask my dad for a new glove, and the shoe on my right foot — the one way up in the air — was cracked in the middle.

(Many thanks to Dwayne Heidtbrink for the photo way back when.)

Alvin Alexander pitching in high school

Some people come into your life and even if they don’t stay in it for long, they make an impact that changes you forever. Happy birthday to two people this month, one who made my life miserable, and another who made it wonderful.

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

There are many nice cartoons/illustrations in Eckhart Tolle’s book Guardians of Being: Spiritual Teachings from Our Dogs and Cats, and this “Shtop Thinking” cartoon is one of my current favorites. (The book is a collaborative effort between Mr. Tolle and Patrick McDonnell, artist/illustrator/cartoonist who may be most well known for his “Mutts” cartoons.)

Shtop Thinking - Guardians of Being

I haven’t tried it yet, but from all of the images I’ve seen, Elementary OS looks like the prettiest desktop Linux distribution I’ve ever seen. I hope to install it this weekend and take it for a spin.

Elementary OS: The prettiest Linux desktop yet

Yesterday I just churned the numbers from the surveys, but last night I started thinking how cool it is that there are one million Scala developers in the world.

I remember when I was wandering around Alaska in 2011 and first stumbled upon Programming in Scala, I found that very few people knew about Scala, maybe numbering in the thousands or tens of thousands at most. I hope Martin Odersky & Company are having a little celebration this year for their success. (And on to two million!)

“Since I had started to break down all my writing and get rid of all facility and try to make instead of describe, writing had been wonderful to do. But it was very difficult, and I did not know how I would ever write anything as long as a novel. It often took me a full morning of work to write a paragraph.”

I was curious how many Scala developers there are in the world, so I did a little research. There aren’t a huge number of data sources, but here’s what I found.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s a thousand words about what the Republican and Democratic parties look like in the United States.

What the Republican and Democratic parties look like in the U.S.

This is probably the coolest and creepiest thing you’ll see all week: Baby owls in the loft.

Per Dr. Tania Dempsey, one of the leading researchers in the mast cell field, “MCAS/MCAD causes chronic inflammation in multiple organs/tissue/systems, with or without allergic-type problems and sometimes even abnormal growth and development in various tissues, and there can be acute flares of symptoms.”

Anyone who has seen the inside of my body through MRIs, CT scans, and ultrasounds will agree with that statement. (I write that with Surgery #8 coming up in about three weeks. As usual, a very experienced doctor used words like, “I’ve never seen that before,” “abnormal,” yada yada yada.)

MCAS/MCAD causes chronic inflammation in multiple organs

The most interesting story for me yesterday was that a mile-wide meteor hit Greenland, possibly as recent as 12,000 years ago, and created an impact crater 19.3 miles wide. The impact would have released 47,000 times the amount of energy that was released by the Little Boy nuclear bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. The impact crater was hidden by a half-mile thick sheet of ice until recently. (The image shown comes from the article I linked to.)

A mile-wide meteor hit Greenland and was hidden by an ice sheet

I just saw that the first person to take a chance on me out of college — and a person who would become a mentor to me — passed away last November. Frank Jordan, thank you for everything you did for me. You are missed, and I’m sorry we didn’t stay in touch.

“Since I had started to break down all my writing and get rid of all facility and try to make instead of describe, writing had been wonderful to do.”

“Better to be on the edge of a party, don’t you think?”

Better to be on the edge of a party, don't you think?

I’ve been working on a Kotlin book on and off for the past few months, and this morning I pulled a Steve Jobs on myself and canceled the project, even though it’s about 75% complete (by chapter count).

The problem with the book is that at this point it doesn’t contain anything unique, although arguably my way of explaining things might be better than other approaches. Unlike the Scala Cookbook, which provides solutions to common Scala problems, and Functional Programming, Simplified, which provides a unique approach to explaining functional programming in Scala, I don’t feel like there’s anything new here.

So, in short, without getting into the details of what’s next, the “vision guy” part of me decided that there are better things to do with my time. (And if you’ve ever been on a project that was canceled and you thought it was hard to take, imagine canceling your own project.)

“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology.”

~ Steve Jobs, as heard in this 1997 video