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

This won’t mean anything to anyone else, but while cleaning stuff off of my phone just now I ran across this photo of a house I once called home.

A house I once called home

The Native American woman I met last week had an aneurysm and brain surgery last year. (She showed me the scar, and she’s fine now.) Before the aneurysm was discovered, she went to a shaman who’s well-known among Natives here. He lit something, made some smoke, did whatever else he does, then looked at her, put his finger on her forehead and said, “You are blocked here.”

Unfortunately she assumed he was referring to a mental blockage, and thought, “No, I’m an open person, he’s wrong.” Shortly after this, doctors discovered the aneurysm right where he pointed.

This is the story she told me.

Back in March, 2010, I drove up to Alaska. This is the office of a little motel in Canada ... at the moment I can’t remember the name of the town, but I could find it again. :)

Cute motel in Canada in the winter

A moose at a coffee shop in Alaska. "I'd like a moo-latte please."

My cattle neighbors in Broomfield, Colorado.

My cattle neighbors in Broomfield, Colorado

I don’t know the name of this glacier (or even this area), but I can tell you that this is a glacier and mountain range somewhere near Anchorage, Alaska. I took this photo in 2007, so there’s a chance that this glacier doesn’t exist any more.

A glacier near Anchorage, Alaska

ExtremeTech has a good first article on the Nvidia Jetson Nano developer kit. (The image shown is from their article)

Nvidia Jetson Nano developer kit

Leia: Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.

Obi Wan: Sending thoughts and prayers.


When I saw this on Twitter it reminded me of two sayings I believe in: “Deeds, not words,” and “Hope is not a plan.”

The people at ARK Invest created this image that shows ad dollars spent in the U.S. in 2017 for each car/vehicle sold. The image is related to this Tesla story, Tesla’s new customer referral program.

Ad dollars spent in the U.S. in 2017 for each car/vehicle sold

March 24, 2014: Woo-hoo, I got my cool see-thru Japanese highlighter today. It's like Christmas for a highlighter nerd.

Christmas for a highlighter nerd

“The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.”

~ Vince Lombardi

March 24, 2013: After yesterday's snowstorm, about 5" locally, I woke up to completely white mountains. Twenty minutes later they looked like the top photo, and twenty minutes after that they looked like the bottom photo. Between the thin air (my apartment is at 5,800') and the sun, the snow disappears fast here, either by melting or ablation.

Snow melts fast on the mountains in Colorado

“So you’re a glass half-empty kind of guy?”

“Depends what’s in the glass.”

We were playing at our camp when my older brother — who was standing on higher ground than I — saw something in the distance. He stood upright, then perfectly still. After a few moments he turned to me in a look of panic I had never seen before, pointed in a direction opposite from where he was looking, and screamed, “Run! Run!” I was startled at his behavior but I knew that something was very wrong, so I ran. And I ran.

I ran as fast as I could, weaving through the brush and constantly changing my course as I was chased by a white man on a dark horse. I thought I might be close to safety when I darted through some bushes, but I ran right into a creek that was too wide to jump across. As I paused for a moment to decide how to continue, the white man shot me in the back.

In intense pain and sudden shock, I stumbled forward into the creek, bent over with one hand in the creek. As I attempted to stand up and regain my balance, I was shot in the back again. This time my body flew forward towards the opposite side of the creek. I tried to control my fall but could not, and my torso slammed against the land. The right side of my face was pressed against the ground, my eyes still open. My right arm was trapped under my body, my left arm was somewhere down my left side. My legs lay in the creek’s water.

Sorry I haven’t written much this week, I’ve been working on designs for the cover of a new book. But I can share one thing, my favorite song of the week, We Said Hello, Goodbye (Don’t Look Back), by Phil Collins. Some of the lyrics:

Well it really don’t matter much where you are
’cause home is in your heart
It’s a feeling that you wake with one day
Some people keep running all of their life
And still find they haven’t gone too far
They don’t see it's the feeling inside
The feeling inside.

contributors.scala-lang.org has become my favorite website this past week. It’s very interesting to read through the debates about new language features for Scala 3 (Dotty). For instance, in the Make concrete classes final by default discussion I think everyone agrees they wish they had gone that way with Scala 2, but it would cause too many problems if they tried to make this a new standard in Scala 3. The discussion — in addition to reading Effective Java — makes me wish I had used final before all of my classes.

In another discussion titled, Why does Scala need its own build tool (SBT), someone makes a claim that Martin Odersky and his team created SBT as a build tool solution, and Mr. Odersky replies, “Definitely not my answer. I was always very skeptical of SBT’s approach and remain so.”

I had read that Bloop was faster than Scala compiler tools like scalac and fsc, so I wondered if it was faster than SBT, and if so, how much faster. So I downloaded Eric Torreborre’s specs2 source code, which has 880 source code files, and compiled the entire project with both SBT and Bloop.

SBT performance

To test SBT’s speed, I ran all the commands from inside the SBT command prompt, which I usually do anyway to avoid the SBT/JVM startup lag time. I also ran clean and compile several times before recording SBT’s speed, because I thought that would be a better reflection of real-world usage and performance. I ran the tests four times, and the average time with SBT was 49 seconds, and that was very consistent, always coming in between 48 and 50 seconds.

Bloop performance

I saw this “SQL joins as Venn diagrams” image on this Twitter page. To give attribution to the original author, it appears to have been created by C.L. Moffatt and documented in this Visual Representation of SQL Joins article. However, this article makes the case that Venn diagrams are not an accurate description of SQL joins.

SQL joins as Venn diagrams

A funny thing about mast cell disease is when a 60+ year old doctor who is considered one of the best in his profession says to you, “I’ve only seen that once before in my life.” With MCAS, you get used to statements like that.

(This happened in 2016, but I was reminded of it again today.)

“The sooner you start to code, the longer the program will take.”

~ Roy Carlson (which I saw in this tweet)

In general, I’m a fan of that quote, meaning that the harder the problem is, the more I like to find a whiteboard or some index cards to work through the problem that way before I start coding.