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

“Your attitude is such an important topic, I want to end this book by getting you to look at yourself the way other people see you.”

A quote from the last chapter of my book, A Survival Guide for New Consultants.

Here’s one of my favorite lessons from my consulting book, titled “Who are your customers?

A decent article: Ten things Idris improved over Haskell. I noticed that Martin Odersky tweeted this, and mentioned that Scala made the same improvements.

One of my nieces got me this “Straight Outta Cookies” Cookie Monster t-shirt for Christmas last year. For a guy like me who once got paid in cookies to build a website, it’s a great gift. :)

Straight Outta Cookies - Cookie Monster t-shirt

In the next day or two I hope to finish moving my book, A Survival Guide for New Consultants, to this website. As with my other books, I like the idea of having all of my books on this website so I (and you) can easily search for them, and also easily find related content. published information about a scientific study to capture images of your brain on LSD. Quotes from the article:

“Nutt’s study ... was the first to use brain imaging to show the effects of LSD ... it showed that the drug weakens the rhythm of alpha brainwaves, which are known to be stronger in humans than other animals, and are considered a signature of high-level consciousness.”

“The study also found that LSD causes brain activity to become less coordinated in regions that make up the brain’s ‘default mode network,’ which is responsible for maintaining a stable sense of self. The greater the drug’s effect on the brain, the more participants experienced ego-dissolution, where the self melds with world around you.”

From the accompanying video: “LSD can also make people lose their sense of self ... as the higher-level network disintegrates, and normally estranged parts of the brain begin to interact, people’s thoughts and the outside world start to feel like the same thing.”

A scientific study to capture images of your brain on LSD

“Today I will live in the moment ... unless it’s unpleasant, in which case I’ll eat a cookie.”

~ Cookie Monster

“Could I have a glass of alcohol?” A favorite quote from the movie, Bridesmaids.

Could I have a glass of alcohol?

Photos of mom and cub polar bears. I hoped O’Reilly would use these for the cover of the Scala Cookbook — because of the whole “scalable” thing, and to help raise awareness about climate change — but whoever puts images on their book covers had something else in mind.

Polar bear photos (mom and cub)

The speed limit sign on the Dalton Highway, Alaska. If I remember right, this is the only speed limit sign you'll see when headed north. (I started off driving about 50 mph, then realized I was the only person on the road, and then began driving as fast as I could, typically around 90 mph.)


The speed limit sign on the Dalton Highway, Alaska has a great quote from Bruce Springsteen’s book, Born To Run:

The band was part of a four-band showcase; one band would get the chance to move on and perhaps get a recording contract. The Jersey guys went third and thought they killed it. The fourth band, though not as energetic, was very good. Via “Born To Run:”

“They got the gig. We lost out. After the word came down, all the other guys were complaining we’d gotten ripped off. The guy running the joint didn’t know what he was doing, blah, blah, blah.”

That night, Springsteen reflected, sleeping on a couch in his transplanted parents’ home in the Bay Area. “My confidence was mildly shaken, and I had to make room for a rather unpleasant thought. We were not going to be the big dogs we were back in our little hometown. We were going to be one of the many very competent, very creative musical groups fighting over a very small bone. Reality check. I was good, very good, but maybe not quite as good or exceptional as I’d gotten used to people telling me, or as I thought … I was fast, but like the old gunslingers knew, there’s always somebody faster, and if you can do it better than me, you earn my respect and admiration, and you inspire me to work harder. I was not a natural genius. I would have to use every ounce of what was in me—my cunning, my musical skills, my showmanship, my intellect, my heart, my willingness—night after night, to push myself harder, to work with more intensity than the next guy just to survive untended in the world I lived in.”

A favorite quote from an all-time favorite movie, Peaceful Warrior.

You need to start asking better questions

My doctor refused to prescribe sedatives for me to give other people when they’re stressing me out.

“To know love, be like the running brook, which deaf, yet sings its melody for others to hear. Feel the pain of too much tenderness. Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for yet another day of loving.”

~ Kung Fu

“Perfect wisdom is unplanned. Perfect living offers no guarantee to a peaceful death. Learn first, how to live. Learn second, how not to kill. Learn third, how to live with death. Learn fourth, how to die.”

~ Master Po, Kung Fu

“Do you hear the sound of your heartbeat?”


“Do you hear the grasshopper at your feet?”


“Old man, how is it that you hear these things?”

“Young man, how is it that you do not?”

Kung Fu: The Grasshopper scene

I’m spending my weekend moving the HTML version of my book, How I Sold My Business: A Personal Diary, over to this website. I had it on a separate website, but I’m trying to simplify my life, and I also like the idea of having all of my content searchable on this site.

This is a smart photo about impermanence from this Twitter page.

Sun Microsystems, Facebook, and impermanence

Scala 2.12.3 has been released, and compiler performance has improved significantly.

Dateline: March, 2010.

Not one of my better times. On the drive from the Lower 48 back to Alaska, I got stranded in Canada. The reports said the roads were clear, so I was hoping to make it through with my old tires, but “clear” has a different meaning in the winter in Canada than it has in the Lower 48. “Snow-packed with occasional ice” was a more apt description. My tires weren’t up to the task, and not wanting to die, I was forced to stop in Dease Lake, British Columbia, population 303, one motel, one gas station, one mechanic.

Stranded in Dease Lake, British Columbia