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

My red pencil is one of my favorite possessions. When I get it out it means that I’ve just edited a print version of something and now it’s time to type up the corrections. It also means that I’m getting close to releasing a final version of whatever book I’m working on, which is also a good thing.

My red editing pencil

Last night I watched an episode of Father Brown where Mrs. McCarthy was judgmental about something her god-daughter did. (She was the girl’s godmother.) In my mind I thought, “Wow, she sure is judgmental and intrusive in the girl’s life.”

Then this morning I woke up and saw some photos on Facebook involving one of my young relatives that made my skin crawl. When I saw the photos I realized I didn’t know them at all, and I hated what they were doing. I wanted to grab them by the ear and yank them out of those pictures.

So it turns out that giving unconditional love is really hard when you see people you care about doing things that you think are really stupid.

I saw these Talk Nerdy To Me socks in a store window recently. For more information, it looks like they have them here on Amazon.

Talk Nerdy To Me socks

When you go to Alaska to get away from the heat and then need a break from eating fresh seafood all the time, ADN.com lists a few places where you can find a good burger in Anchorage.

I always find it confusing when people claim that the IO monad somehow makes an impure function pure. Frankly, I think that argument does a confusing disservice to people who are trying to learn functional programming (FP).

I’m a big fan of the book, Functional and Reactive Domain Modeling, and these are some of my notes (“CliffsNotes”) from the book, most of them coming from the first chapter.

This “Can someone explain to me the benefits of IO?” Reddit post makes for some interesting functional programming and referential transparency reading.

When asked, “If you could give one tip for reaching heights in tech today, what would it be?”, this was the initial response from Jonas Bonér, creator of Akka:

  • Work hard at minimizing your ego & attachment to identity
  • Learn deliberately, seek out weaknesses & work hard at them
  • Eliminate bad habits, replace them with good, one at a time
  • Read a lot, foundational stuff, not just latest hyped thing

Probably the most important lesson I learned from aimlessly wandering around Alaska and the Lower 48 for five years is that if you treat complete strangers as long-lost brothers and sisters that you’re meeting for the first time, the world magically becomes a better place.

When I met my mom, Sister #2 and her husband in New Mexico in 2017, I brought my mom a bunch of junk food. The Twinkies didn’t make much of an impact on her, but when Sister #2 gave her a chocolate cupcake, my mom’s approximate words were, “OMG, this is the best thing I have ever eaten in my entire life.”

When I was in New Mexico a few years ago I met a woman who suggested that I needed to quit fighting a particular feeling I have been experiencing. She said that it was my heart chakra attempting to open, but each time it started to open, my Little Ego wouldn’t surrender, it held on to things as they are for dear life. She said that if I would just let go, I’d be on the path to loving all humans unconditionally.

On the drive home I was rudely cut off by a woman in a Mercedes, who was quite literally driving in my lane. As I moved out of her way and we passed each other, she glared at me like I was doing something ridiculously wrong by driving in my own lane. “Humans are a hard species to love,” I thought.

After that experience I decided to start counting all of the people I love or have loved, and if you include Neil Diamond – I threw him in there because my mom liked him so much – I got up to 49.

Somehow I have to find a way to get from 49 to several billion, including the glaring woman in the Mercedes. I think I’m going to have to work on my technique, or perhaps on my definition of “love.”

“I’m going to have to resect the colon.”

~ pretty much every surgeon on M*A*S*H at some point

In late June, 2018, I had to have a colectomy surgery, which is also known as a colon resection. Here’s a diary of my experience.

I just ran across this chart from Morningstar that includes eight stocks with share repurchase programs. In general, I’m a fan of buying the stocks of companies that have share repurchase programs, but, you also have to look into the details of how and why they’re doing this, and you also have to understand the business behind each company. For instance, I’ve never heard of LB, so I looked them up, and I have no interest in investing in an apparel company, so immediately I scratch them off.

Other companies like CAH, MCK, and CVS (who suspended their share repurchase program to buy Aetna) are currently beaten down because of the threat that Amazon will enter their business space, so my first thought is that they’re buying back their stock because it’s at a significant discount. But again, you also have to look into their financials to see how they’re buying back their stock — is it from cash flow? Or are they borrowing money to buy their stock, and if so, how long will it take to pay off those loans?

Eight stocks with share repurchase programs

While it’s old news (March, 2018), I’ve often wondered why Siri seems to be getting worse, and how/why Amazon and Google beat Apple to the market for Alexa-like assistants. MacRumors has this article where they report several of the problems related to Siri’s development. (Their article is based on an article written by The Information, which requires a subscription.)

I just happened to look out the window last night (Sunday, July 15, 2018) at the right time and saw the Moon and Venus hanging out together.

The Moon and Venus

Looks like this airplane company might want to rethink how they place their slogan on their airplanes.

Airplane slogan: Longer, larger, wait, what?

July 15, 2018: A little less than three weeks ago I had a type of surgery known as a colectomy, a procedure where a portion of the colon is surgically removed. The background of the story goes like this: Because of pain I was having whenever I tried to eat, I haven’t been able to eat solid foods since October, 2017. After eight months of hoping the problem would heal itself, I was finally forced to give up that hope when it became apparent that surgery was the only hope for a relatively normal life.

From this AirBnB article about using React Native: “JavaScript is an untyped language. The lack of type safety was both difficult to scale and became a point of contention for mobile engineers used to typed languages who may have otherwise been interested in learning React Native ... A side-effect of JavaScript being untyped is that refactoring was extremely difficult and error-prone.”

The 90/90 Rule: “The first 90% of the code accounts for the first 90% of the development time. The remaining 10% of the code accounts for the other 90% of the development time.”

~ Tom Cargill