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

Me: Alexa, play 70s folk music.

*Alexa starts playing a James Taylor song*

Me: Alexa, never play songs by James Taylor.

Alexa: Shuffling James Taylor playlist, on Amazon Music.

I love this short video of a primary school principal leading his students in a dance, in an effort to get them exercising and off their computers.

If you’d like to donate some money to a worthy cause, my niece is studying to be a nurse, and she’s helping to raise money for sick and injured children. Here’s a blurb from that page:

“I'm on a mission to help sick and injured kids in my local community and I need your help. My local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital treats thousands of children each year, regardless of their illness, injury, or even their family’s ability to pay. These kids are facing scary stuff like cancer, cystic fibrosis, and injuries they may get from just being a kid.”

Any help is appreciated!

“By a lie a man throws away and, as it were, annihilates his dignity as a man. A man who himself does not believe what he tells another … has even less worth than if he were a mere thing … makes himself a mere deceptive appearance of man, not man himself.”

~ Immanuel Kant (via Dan Rather)

Once upon a time I was recommended for a college baseball scholarship.

Once upon a time I was recommended for a college baseball scholarship

I don’t know if it was just coincidence, but I went to Lowe’s yesterday for the first time in seven months, then I had a Lowe’s ad on Twitter first thing this morning. So “Allow some” is now “Off.” (See the Location and Personalization settings in the images.)

On Twitter privacy settings and personalized ads

“If you try to drive through Canada in the winter with those summer tires you’re going to end up as a statistic.”

~ A nice RCMP person, after looking at my car, March, 2010. She was very close to being right, as I got stranded for five days in Dease Lake, British Columbia.

If you happen to be using Dotty (Scala 3) and find that the f string interpolator isn’t working, it’s a known bug. (It was implemented with a macro, and the old, experimental macro system has been dropped.) I’m writing this in January, 2019; I don’t know when it will work again. You can use the Java/Scala String.format method until it’s fixed:

val pi = scala.math.Pi
println( "%1.5f".format(pi) )

I was reading this post by Martin Odersky (Make the Scala runtime independent of the standard library) and came across this comment by Li Haoyi: “This would also make it more feasible to use Scala for tiny bootstrap scripts; current Mill’s launcher is written in Java because the added classloading needed to use scala.Predef (even just println) easily adds a 200-400ms of initialization overhead.” I haven’t written anything where the startup time of a Scala application was a huge problem, but that was interesting to read.

(Though I should say that I wish all Scala/Java command-line apps started faster. It’s one reason I occasionally think about using Haskell for small scripts, so I can compile them to an executable.)

Back in the 90s I was a Unix admin on a NASA project. Rumor was there was going to be a 14% layoff. The next day my boss tells me to go to HR. I’m thinking, “Me???”

I get there, and they tell me they can’t print their Postscript layoff reports in landscape mode, ask if I can help. In the end I got a great Pico de Gallo recipe out of it. :)

If you ever need to convert Docbook to AsciiDoc, this Pandoc command seems to work well:

pandoc --wrap=none -f docbook -t asciidoc \
       DocbookFile.xml > AsciiDocFile.adoc

Nature.com has a great article, How ‘magic angle’ graphene is stirring up physics (Misaligned stacks of the wonder material exhibit superconductivity and other curious properties).

“Keep grinding man. If you’ve ever been down, misplaced, overlooked, just keep grinding baby. You’re dreams don’t die until you give up on them. Just continue to keep working.”

~ CJ Anderson, let go by the Broncos, Panthers, Raiders, and now a star in the playoffs with the Rams

I’m glad to say that I’ll be going back to regular consulting work again very soon. If you’re interested in the gory medical details that led me to quit consulting work (and write five computer programming books and a couple thousand blog posts), here you go:

When you worry about where your words land or how others digest or perceive them, you are clinging (and not allowing space for more to come through the channel). Continually create, let go, surrender to more. Create, let go, surrender to more. It is a divine dance. Respect your own story. Remain inside the rhythm.

~ Victoria Erickson

“I met a dolphin down there, and I swear to God that dolphin looked not at me, but into my soul, into my goddamn soul, and said, ‘I’m saving you Megan.’ Not with his mouth, but he said it — I’m assuming telepathically — we had a connection that I don’t even know if I can explain.”

~ from the movie Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids movie dolphin quote

For folks in states like Colorado where marijuana is legal, per uchealth.org, edible marijuana seems to be causing a lot more health problems than inhaled marijuana. A few notes:

  • It can take up to four hours for the high from an edible to take effect
  • Edibles are 268 times more likely than inhaled marijuana to cause users in Colorado to seek help at an ER (despite the fact that many more people use the inhaled form)
  • Edibles have a more severe toxicity than inhaled forms and the effects are psychiatric in nature

I had it in my mind that the worst of the mast cell disease (MCAS) side effects didn’t kick in until later in 2015, but I just saw this memory on Facebook from January 3, 2015:

“The day started off with a bad dream, after which I woke up, threw up, and had the shakes for long time. Fortunately it got much better as the day went on, and I eventually enjoyed a belated Christmas celebration with friends and family.”

I remember the vomiting and shakes started long before this – I learned to keep a trash can by the bedside – so those symptoms would have been well back into 2014.

In this InfoQ Java in 2019 Predictions article, this line stood out the most: Java 9 and 10 saw virtually no deployment to production. Working alone I occasionally wonder what large companies are doing, and with these Java major version number releases coming every six months I was wondering how that was playing out.