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

Thanks to some ongoing abdominal pain from my colectomy surgery back in June, I’ve learned what a Trocar device is. Per Wikipedia (and also my surgeon), “Trocars are placed through the abdomen during laparoscopic surgery. The trocar functions as a portal for the subsequent placement of other instruments, such as graspers, scissors, staplers, etc.”

I have pain in the spot where a trocar device was placed, and the theory is that’s because of a combination of scar tissue and a nerve in that area. A backup possibility is that I may have a hernia in that spot, though the surgeon thinks that’s unlikely. I’ll be having a CT scan soon to see if that shows what’s going on.

Speaking as a guy, a nice thing about the local JC Penney is that nobody seems to want to help you. I went in there to look at suits, and nobody bothered me the whole time, which was nice. I’ll ask for help if I need it.

Conversely, I went to the local Dillards to look at suits, and right away someone was all over me trying to make suggestions. Personally I don’t like that. I don’t mind if someone introduces themselves, but then (IMHO) they should leave you alone. Personally I’m much more likely to buy something if you give me time to compare things and make up my own mind instead of trying to sell me on something. As I wrote in A Survival Guide for New Consultants, a good salesperson is really a buyer’s assistant, and sometimes that means giving the buyer space and time to think.

(I left the Dillards pretty quick when it became apparent they weren’t going to leave me alone.)

From this article on how to have lucid dreams: “Studies have shown that meditators have more lucid dreams, and for a true meditation master, all their dreams are lucid. We’re non-lucid to the contents of our mind at night to the extent we’re non-lucid to the contents of our mind during the day. Become lucid to your thoughts during the day by practicing mindfulness meditation and you’ll naturally become lucid to your dreams at night.”

I enjoyed this National Geographic article about the migrations of the first Americans.

“If you care about someone you have to let them be the person they are, not the person you want them to be. Otherwise, what’s the point?”

~ From an episode of “Death in Paradise”

“Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds.”

~ Shakespeare, Sonnet 116 (as heard in Midsomer Murders)

Apparently on this day in history I checked my mailbox for the first time in several weeks and found this excellent Halloween pumpkin squirrel card. :)

A great Halloween pumpkin squirrel card

Kudos to Samuel Axon of Ars Technica for writing a very good tech review of the hardware behind Apple’s new iPad Pro (2018). As I was reading it, it reminded me of the old style of solid writing that I used to get when I bought print copies of magazines.

One of the nuggets of the article is shown in the image I’ve attached here, where you can see that the 2018 iPad Pro is faster than every MacBook Pro in existence other than its 2018 model, at least in terms of the Geekbench multi-core performance tests. If you dig through the images in the article you’ll see that the story isn’t quite as powerful in the single-core benchmark, where the iPad Pro lags the 2018 MacBook Pro by up to 16%. But in those tests the iPad Pro is roughly the equivalent of a 2018 Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 model. (The older Macs use Intel Core i7 and Xeon W processors, and the Dell model uses an Intel Core i7. The 2018 MacBook Pro uses an Intel Core i9.)

These numbers — comparing a tablet to i7 and i9 processors — make one think that Apple will be using their own chips inside Mac computer systems some time soon.

Great tech review of Apple’s iPad A12X system

Tim Logan of Texas A&M University has a nice little article on Why you can smell rain.

One of my doctors has this photo/image of the altitudes of the mountains that make up the “front range” of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. I can’t read the signature on the lower-right of the image, but I appreciate whoever put this image together, as I can never remember the names and altitudes of the various mountain peaks.

Altitudes of the Colorado front range mountains

“We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”

~ possibly by Thomas Jefferson

Seeing that we had another snow storm here in Colorado, I thought I'd share another photo of El Sanctuario de Chimayo in the winter. (El Sanctuario de Chimayo, near Santa Fe, New Mexico)

El Sanctuario de Chimayo, candlelights in winter

Last week I did some research on whether Colorado judges were appointed by a Democrat or Republican, and I’ve been pleased to see that over 27,000 people have visited that page. Personally, I was never too concerned about judges in previous elections, but I think the current hostile political atmosphere in the U.S. and everything related to the Supreme Court nominees over the last 2-3 years makes people see how “political” the judge nomination process is (IMHO).

I was just reminded of a “funny” event from the worst of the mast cell activation disease days (before doctors knew what I had). I was just released from the hospital for something — maybe from my second fake heart attack, I don’t remember for sure — and I thought, “If I’m going to die before they figure out what’s wrong with me, I’d like to have a chocolate milk shake.”

So I drove to a placed called Sweet Cow in Louisville, Colorado, ordered a milkshake, and then began going unconscious before the order could even be completed. While the poor guy was making my shake I walked out of the store, sat on a bench outside, and put my head between my legs, hoping I wouldn’t pass out. The guy who was making my shake was probably only in high school, and he eventually brought the shake out to me while I sat there with my head between my legs. We had some sort of conversation, the gist of which was I was trying not to pass out and him saying that the milkshake was free.

With the help of a few people I eventually stumbled out of there and made it home. Such was life with the worst of the mast cell disease.

P.S. — These days I’m much better, thank you.

Per its website, Fury is an experimental dependency manager and build tool for Scala. It is still under active development, and is in private beta. You can learn more about it by checking out that website, or following Jon Pretty (@propensive) on Twitter.

I found these Lazy One “Beware of the Force” boxers at a local store recently. Might be a good Christmas/holiday gift idea for the Star Wars geek in your life. :) They don’t currently list this specific item on Amazon, but they do have a collection of other Lazy One boxers for sale, and they also have this design available on Lazy One pajamas.

Beware of the Force (Star Wars gift idea)

I just read this quote by J.K. Rowling, and it’s quite good: “Believe me, neither @RGalbraith nor I walk around thinking we’re fab. We just shoot for ‘writing better than yesterday’”.

(Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym she used for some of her other novels.)

Just days after two domestic terror attacks, here are two quotes I saw today:

Donald Trump: “There is great anger in our Country caused in part by inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news. The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People, must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly. That will do much to put out the flame...”

Dalai Lama: “Violence derives from anger and anger clouds our ability to think straight and properly assess what is happening. Anger in turn is related to fear and anxiety. What we need to learn is how to cultivate the positive emotions that counter destructive emotions like anger and fear. Compassion, for example, brings self-confidence and the ability to act transparently. It strengthens trust which is the ground for friendship.”

I just read a short chapter in the book Effective Java, and realized I was doing something pretty dumb in my own code by always creating my own custom exceptions instead of using other exceptions already intended to be reused in the Java API.

Here’s the view of Denali from Talkeetna, Alaska, courtesy of Sheldon Air Service in Talkeetna.

The view in Talkeetna this morning