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

Chris Robinson, former lead singer of The Black Crowes — who I first saw perform in a high school gym in Alabama — and now with the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, talks about my two favorite states in an Alaskan newspaper.

Chris Robinson talks music and Alaska

The Anchorage Daily News has a nice story about a 78-year-old who climbed Denali, and the life lessons the reporter learned from this man and other elders.

From a story of how an 82-year-old woman with dementia improved significantly by changing her diet:

“A change in diet, which was comprised of high amounts of blueberries and walnuts, has proven to have had a strong impact on Sylvia’s condition that her recipes are now being shared by the Alzheimer’s Society ... Sylvia also began incorporating other health foods, including broccoli, kale, spinach, sunflower seeds, green tea, oats, sweet potatoes and even dark chocolate with a high percentage of cacao. All of these foods are known to be beneficial for brain health.”

“Mark and Sylvia devised to diet together after deciding that the medication on it’s own was not enough, they looked into the research showing that rates of dementia are much lower in Mediterranean countries and copied a lot of their eating habits.”

Last night (May 22, 2014) was one of the “hell nights” I experience once or twice a year. It started with a dream straight out of Carrie or The Exorcist where everything in a room, including me, was being levitated by something, and whatever that thing was, it was not a good thing, it was evil.

After something went flying out the window near the end of that dream, a voice kept saying a two-word phrase over and over again. At 4am this morning I could have told you those words easily, but I can’t remember them now. They were old, Christian/Biblical words, and in short they meant, “Atone for your sins or go to hell.” The two words were something like, “contrition, damnation”, but those aren’t right; I just wanted to be clear that he kept using only two words, over and over again.

Bill Gates has a great story about Leonardo da Vinci. I haven’t bought Walter Isaacson’t book on da Vinci yet, but Isaacson is a terrific writer, and I will either buy the book or audiobook soon.

I created a vision board many years ago during a retreat, and I have to say, everything on the board came true. I was thinking recently that it would be even more true if I didn’t have health problems for several years, and more recently providing financial support for family members. If it weren’t for those things I’d probably be living in Talkeetna or Palmer, Alaska today, writing more books.

This page contains a large collection of examples of how to use the methods on the Scala List class.

The Scala List class as an immutable, linear, linked-list class. It’s very efficient when it makes sense for your algorithms to (a) prepend all new elements, (b) work with it in terms of its head and tail elements, and (c) use functional methods that traverse the list from beginning to end, such as filter, map, foldLeft, reduceLeft.

This page contains a large collection of examples of how to use the methods on the Scala Seq class.

Important note about Seq, IndexedSeq, and LinearSeq

As an important note, I use Seq in the following examples to keep things simple, but in your code you should be more precise and use IndexedSeq or LinearSeq where appropriate. As the Seq class Scaladoc states:

This page contains a large collection of examples of how to use the Scala Vector class, including most of the methods that are available on a Vector. (Currently over 170 examples.)

A farmer plowing a field in Palmer, Alaska on May 20, 2015.

At 10:30 pm.

A farmer plowing a field

I have The Dancer Upstairs playing while I work today. I don’t remember how/where/why I saw it the first time, but I remember when I saw it I thought, “That Javier Bardem guy is really good.” Other than the dog scenes, it’s a very good movie.

“Technology is our superpower. Inequality is our kryptonite.”

~ Tim O’Reilly

I’ll add that not caring about the planet we live on is also our kryptonite.

Java Design Patterns FAQ: Can you provide an example of the Factory Pattern in Java?

Sure. In this article we'll look at a small-but-complete example of the Factory Pattern ("Factory Design Pattern") implemented in Java.

I’m not a huge believer in certain types of karma in this world, but Jack Kornfield offers this discussion about karma related to speech, and intention:

“Speech is one area in which karma can be seen in an easy and direct way. For this exercise, resolve to take two or three days to carefully notice the intentions that motivate your speech. Direct your attention to the state of mind that precedes talking, the motivation for your comments, responses, and observations. Try to be particularly aware of whether your speech is even subtly motivated by boredom, concern, irritation, loneliness, compassion, fear, love, competitiveness, greed, or whatever state you observe ... Simply notice the various motivations in the mind and the speech that flows from them.”

“Then, after discovering which motivation is present as you speak, notice the effect of the speech. If there is competitiveness or grasping or pride or irritation behind the speech, what response does it elicit from the world around you? If there is compassion or love, what is the response? If your speech is mindless, as if you were on automatic pilot, what is the response? If there is clarity and concern, how is this received and responded to?”

It brings up an excellent point: What motivates your speech?

If you’re coming to Boulder, Colorado, the website looks like it might be a useful resource.

Back in 2013 I read the book Clean Code by Robert C. Martin, and in an effort to keep that book alive with me a little while longer, I decided to make my own “Cliffs Notes” version of the book on this page. One of my favorite notes from below is that a language named LOGO used the keyword to in the same way that Scala uses def, so a method named double would be defined as to double... instead of def double..., which seems like it would help developers name methods better.

I don’t know the origin of this “Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace” Dalai Lama - Homer Simpson cartoon, but I like it.

Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace

“Wherever you have friends, that’s your country; wherever you receive love, that’s your home.”

~ an old Tibetan saying, as read in The Book of Joy

Today’s mindfulness “lesson of the day” (mostly for myself) is a reminder to keep practicing, even when you don’t feel like it. You don’t get to choose when moments of enlightenment happen, so the best thing you can do is keep practicing so those moments will be possible when the right circumstances (karma?) come into alignment.

What happens is that over time, both the mindfulness and the enlightenment bits change the wrinkles in your brain, change your perspective and attitude, and cleanse the environmental conditioning of whatever happened to get you to this point. With continued practice you evolve (think “metamorphosis”) into a new person over time — this time a person of your own choosing, rather than a person conditioned by where and when you were born and lived.

Namaste. ;)

I just learned about Hanlon’s Razor, which states, “we should not attribute to malice that which is more easily explained by stupidity.” I have often been guilty of the malice assumption, so I found this interesting.

In a related note, Wikipedia’s definition of philosophical razors is also interesting.