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

This “People don’t want to use your software” quote by @SHL seems pretty smart. And Gumroad does a pretty good job of keeping their software simple.

I was actually thinking a little bit of the opposite yesterday; I thought, “I could care less about Apple hardware, I just like MacOS, or at least I used to love what it used to be.” But in the end I don’t really love the software, I just like that it works how I think an OS should work, and it has a Unix terminal that I keep open all the time.

People don’t want to use your software

“Hi, I’m Al.”


“Um, no, Al. A-L. As in Alvin.”

“Oh, we thought maybe you meant, EL. E-L. As in, Elvis.”

~ a conversation with two girls from Mississippi many years ago

I don’t know the origin of this “moon in a barrel” image, but I like it.

Moon in a barrel

I don’t remember the original source of this image, but I like it: “I need to find more people who will sit and talk about the universe and souls and consciousness with me for hours.”

When I saw this again today I was reminded of the time I ended up in Vail, Colorado.

I need to find people who will talk about the universe and souls

“To be perfectly honest with you, I really feel that I have average physical ability, but when I get my psych and my self-hypnosis going, I can compete with anybody in anything.”

~ Al Hrabosky

Back in the day it was fun to watch “Mad” Al Hrabosky pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals. He would psyche himself up behind the mound and appear to get very angry, and indeed, he ended up in at least one brawl. Here’s a TWIB Note video of him pitching and talking, and here’s him talking years later about what he was doing behind the mound.

Mad Al Hrabosky pitching

“Humans without romance become curmudgeons and predictable with misery.”

~ Carlos Santana

If you can’t explain something in simple terms, you don’t understand it.

~ Richard Feynman

Me think, “What is friend?”

Cookie Monster - What is friend?

I recently had an infection which caused my heart to race a little bit, so my doctor wanted me to wear a heart monitor for a little while, which led to a scene that was too close to this scene from The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

40 Year Old Virgin waxing scene

“I’m that one.” I suspect that anyone who has ever wanted to write a book knows this scene and movie.

I'm that one

When I first moved to Alaska I had a chance to forget who I was and become who I wanted to be. Nobody knew me, so I didn’t have any baggage, such as being a guy who used to own a small business in Kentucky.

I didn’t think about it much beforehand, but in retrospect I think I wanted to be like Chris Stevens — at least the philosophical part — but as it turned out, sometimes I was Ed, sometimes I was Dr. Fleishman, and many times I was Holling. These days, with hives all over my legs due to an allergic reaction, I feel more like Mike.

Scientists are simply adults who retained and nurtured their native curiosity from childhood.

~ Neil deGrasse Tyson

What did Pierre Trudeau say after learning President Nixon called him an asshole? “I have been called worse things by better men.”

Reminds me of our current president calling people names.

(Tweet by Jacquie McNish.)

I have been called worse things by better men

“Mutable state is fine but needs to be contained and non-observable.” A quote from Jonas Bonér, which I saw in this tweet.

Mutable state is fine but needs to be contained and non-observable

The Book Thief is a favorite story of the last few years. I listened to the audiobook (hence this image) while driving around the United States. I know some people complain that the story isn’t original, but the writing style is very creative.

The Book Thief

This article shares the source code for a Monte Carlo simulation that I wrote in Scala. It was inspired by the movie Minority Report, as well as my own experience.


For the purposes of this simulation, imagine that you have three people that are each “right” roughly 80% of the time. For instance, if they take a test with 100 questions, each of the three individuals will get 80 of the questions right, although they may not get the same questions right or wrong. Given these three people, my question to several statisticians was, “If two of the people have the same answer to a given question, what are the odds that they are correct? Furthermore, if all three of them give the same answer to a question, what are the odds that they are right?”

“In reality, programming languages are how programmers express and communicate ideas — and the audience for those ideas is other programmers, not computers. The reason: the computer can take care of itself, but programmers are always working with other programmers, and poorly communicated ideas can cause expensive flops.”

~ Guido van Rossum, in this 2016 article

August 13, 2019 Colorado weather forecast: Thunderstorms, rain, and egg-sized hail.

Thunderstorms, rain, and egg-sized hail