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

Sadly it had to come because of yet another senseless tragedy, but I’m glad to see students and teachers standing up to the NRA and NRA-bought politicians. This image shows a brilliant tweet from a teacher.

Teacher doesn't want guns, could use dry erase markers

It can be harder to ice skate in Alaska than you might expect. This is the ice in the Turnagain Arm area, which is south of Anchorage, on the way to Alyeska, Seward, and Homer. (There are some very nice places to ice skate, but this isn’t one of them.)

Rough ice skating in Alaska

“Long, uninterrupted, alert practice is the firm foundation for restraining the fluctuations of the consciousness.”

~ Patanjali (via Iyengar)

“He who lives to see two or three generations is like a man who sits some time in the conjurer’s booth at a fair, and witnesses the performance twice or thrice in succession. The tricks were meant to be seen only once, and when they are no longer a novelty and cease to deceive, their effect is gone.”

~ A quote from Arthur Schopenhauer,
read by Steve Jobs,
as found in the book, How Google Works

Due to a potential security issue I’ve disabled new comments on this website. Hopefully they’ll be re-enabled next week.

“Oh, my goodness. You know sometimes I think that God gave you such a big heart that he just left no room for plain sense.”

~ a favorite quote from a favorite tv show

“Go out there and have huge dreams, then show up to work the next morning and relentlessly incrementally achieve them.”

~ from the book, How Google Works

Way back in 2013 — before my first fake heart attack followed by learning that I had thyroid cancer — I thought I was about to go “back to work”, and I decided to try to write another visual demo of Akka Actors before I went back to work. I gave myself 10 hours to write something, and at first I decided to just create some bubbles that would move about randomly on screen. But I got that working so fast that I decided to do something else.

Eventually I came up with the idea of a little “kill the bubbles” game, which turned into a “kill the characters” game. This video shows how it works:

I just found some notes from when I first began working with Scala, and I was working with the yield keyword in for loops. If you haven't worked with something like yield before, it will be helpful to know how it works. Here's a statement of how the yield keyword works in for loops, based on the documentation in the book, Programming in Scala:

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought,
the shame,
the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

~ The Guest House, by Rumi

My personal motivational speaker. I disccovered him on a trip to Los Alamos. (Sadly, the bookstore in Los Alamos where I found him is no longer in business.)

Albert Einstein doll

I went to the library and asked for a book on Pavlov’s dog and Schrodinger’s cat. The librarian said it rang a bell but she didn’t know if it was there or not.

I’m only about fifty pages into the book, How Google Works, but I can already say that if you think of yourself as an entrepreneur, it’s a valuable read. At first I thought the authors were patting themselves on the back a lot (which admittedly they deserve), but as I continued reading they clearly say things like “We’re not that smart,” “We screwed up,” and “Learning from our mistakes, this is why we created Alphabet.”

Some of their ideas, such as building businesses around their smartest people and greatest assets are things that I did in the past, but couldn’t articulate. Maybe it had to do with being in Kentucky at the time, but I always thought of it as “Get out of the way and let the thoroughbreds run.”

The Verge has two stories about Google, Android, and hardware. First, Google sold 3.9 million phones in 2017, increasing their market share from 1.8 to 2.8%. Second, they have a good interview with Rick Osterloh about Google’s hardware plans.

I wrote the Scala Cookbook for programmers looking for solutions to common Scala problems, and then wrote Functional Programming, Simplified for programmers looking for a simple way to learn functional programming. A few months ago I decided to finish my Scala trilogy and write a book for programmers who don’t know Scala and want a quick introduction to it. With that, Hello, Scala was born:

Hello, Scala

The book Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street is one of the most highly recommended books by Warren Buffett. He told Bill Gates about it in 1991, and Mr. Gates calls it “the best business book he’s ever read.”

As I wrote a few weeks ago, I’m tired of politicians saying after yet another shooting that they’ll pray for the victims and their families. Those words are hollow, and the United States needs gun reform. This tweet by Neil deGrasse Tyson echoes my feelings about politicians hollow words.

Neil deGrasse Tyson: Power of prayer isn't stopping the bullets

I’m told that this is a famous poster for designers that I just applied a lot of whiteout to. (The missing words seem to have been inspired by Samuel L. Jackson.) I like “Believe in yourself” and “Trust your gut.”

Design poster

Every March I feel like moving back to Talkeetna, Alaska, and this year the feeling has started early. This is a photo of Denali from the rivers in Talkeetna. If I remember correctly, Denali is 90 miles away in this photo. (Denali is kind of a big deal.)

Denali, from the rivers in Talkeetna