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

This morning Google announced their Google News Initiative, which is a number of things, but has these three objectives:

  • Elevate and strengthen quality journalism  
  • Evolve business models to drive sustainable growth
  • Empower news organizations through technological innovation

Talent is god given. Be humble.
Fame is man given. Be grateful.
Conceit is self given. Be careful.

~ John Wooden

In a previous article I shared a catalog of examples of Gimp filter effects. In this brief pictorial I’ll share examples of some of my favorite Gimp effects on a favorite image of a favorite dog. I don’t have a particular goal in this work, I just want to try out some different filters and effects and see where they lead.

Here’s a raw image of a Siberian Husky named Zeus that I knew very well:


LeBron James is a basketball player who’s had a back problem and now does a lot of hard work just so he can play basketball. As a former business owner and consultant who has a rare blood disease and is working to get back to a regular 40-hour work week, I found this espn.com story about LBJ’s training regimen inspirational. Two good quotes:

  • ...his thoughtful and ever-evolving approach toward training and recovery...
  • “It’s every day. Around the clock every single day, working on my body.”

And this:

Work hard.
Train hard.
Play hard.

“Every person in your company is a vector. Your progress is determined by the sum of all vectors.”

That’s a quote from Elon Musk. In this context a vector is what I know about from my engineering background, a company of both a speed and a direction, something like this:

case class Vector(speed: Double, direction: String)

The correct thing about that quote is that the worst employees I ever had pulled in a direction that was somewhere around 180 degrees opposite of the direction we were aiming for. For example, if nine out of ten employees are rowing a boat that’s headed east, an employee that’s rowing towards the west is going to slow everyone else down.

Unfortunately I never had much success turning those people around, so they were always fired or encouraged to find other work. Over the years we had everything from people whose work had to be completely re-done to people who had agendas during the 8-5 work hours that had nothing to do with the company’s agenda.

In an earlier vim color configuration tutorial I described how to have fine-grained control of your vi and vim color settings. In this article I’ll take an easier route and just show how you can use existing color schemes in your vi editor sessions.

Using a vim color scheme

Using a vim color scheme is actually pretty simple. If you’re in a vim editor session, just issue the vim colorscheme command from last line mode, like this:

“I have no idea who that guy was, but I know that he just reset our karmic destiny.”

(A quote from the book, Love Everyone, that makes me wonder how many times our karmic destiny is reset and we don’t notice it.)

The postal code in Stewart, British Columbia, is “VOT 1WO,” which the locals tell me stands for Very Old Town, One Way Out.

I fall in love once or twice a week, but I usually try not to bring anyone home.

How does one become loving awareness?

This is a great quote from my favorite book on spirituality about trying to change other people (and attachment and karma).

Create a space for people to grow, live in your soul

This is one of my favorite traffic signs in all of the world. You can find it if you drive north from Anchorage, Alaska towards Wasilla and Palmer. When I lived in Alaska in 2010-2011, I would take the exit to the right to go to Palmer. If you keep going straight you’ll go to Wasilla, then Willow, Talkeetna, and eventually Denali and then Fairbanks. (If you’re really gung ho, as I was, you can also drive to Prudhoe Bay, if you don’t mind 400 miles of dirt roads.)

And as you can tell from the highway numbers 1 & 3, there aren’t many main roads in Alaska. :)

Highway traffic sign to Wasilla and Palmer, Alaska

If you like signs, this signpost on the corner of 4th and F streets in Anchorage, Alaska shows the distance to many other cities in the U.S. and around the world.

Signpost in Anchorage, Alaska

“The great personal fortunes in this country weren’t built on a portfolio of fifty companies. They were built by someone who identified one wonderful business.”

~ Warren Buffett

If you ever wondered what the theme song is from The Dead Zone tv series, it’s a song called New Year’s Prayer, by Jeff Buckley. (I haven’t looked into it, but somehow the song New Year’s Prayer was released on an album almost a year to the date after Mr. Buckley died, drowning in the Misssissippi River.)

The minute I heard my first love story
I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was.

Lovers don't finally meet somewhere;
They are in each other all along.

~ Rumi

I had one of those Inception “dream within a dream within a dream” things last night. I kept trying to wake up, but each time I thought I was awake I looked at my totem and saw that I was still asleep. (Followed by, “Bah! I’m still asleep!”)

Then as I’m standing there in the middle of a dirt road in my dream, trying to think of how I’m ever going to wake up, I hear my heart monitor wailing in the distance. “Now look at what you’ve done,” I think. “You’re dead, and you’re never going to wake up.” Fortunately I finally woke up, and learned that the power just flickered.

~ note from March 16, 2014

A lot of people don’t believe it when they come to the Boulder, Colorado area, but there were very few, if any, trees in Boulder and other towns like Louisville naturally. As you can see in this image from the 1800s, there are a few trees on the left side of the image, which is west, and closer to the mountains. Louisville, Colorado is east of here.

This image comes from the City of Boulder Facebook page.

An interesting theory about designing buildings:

“If there is a beautiful view, don’t spoil it by building huge windows that gape incessantly at it. Instead, put the windows which look onto the view at places of transition – along paths, in hallways, in entry ways, on stairs, between rooms.

If the view window is correctly placed, people will see a glimpse of the distant view as they come up to the window or pass it: but the view is never visible from the places where people stay.”

~ from A Pattern Language, by Christopher Alexander

There's a good story on this concept at this link.

From this article:

“Shortly after starting the session, my mind became as sharp as I’ve ever felt it in my life. I was in complete control of a lucid, concentrated mind.

I became meta aware of this mental clarity. It’s how I imagine it feels to ’wake up’ in the middle of your dreams and control them. I directed my attention away from my body to a random thought. And then brought it right back. Then away. Then back. All by choice.”