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

As I was reading a blog post titled, What Makes Us Red Hat, I came across the article summary shown in the image where Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer refers to Linux as a cancer. Note that his description of open source license agreements is about as honest as today’s politicians.

Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer: Linux is a cancer

The best stories of the weekend are IBM buying Red Hat, and a dog that pretends to be a stray to get food outside a McDonald’s. Oh, and the Red Sox beat the Dodgers to win the World Series last night.

I started reading the book Walking Each Other Home by Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush a few nights ago, and if you like Ram Dass, you’ll like this book. This is an image from early in the book about a “pretty fierce journey.”

Ram Dass - Pretty fierce journey

A new Kindle version of my book, Hello, Scala, is now available. This update includes new chapters, new content within chapters, and small corrections to the previous version.

“I view spiritual practice as the freeing of awareness from identification with anything.”

~ Ram Dass (from this page on his website)

Some day I might write a book called, Random Conversations with Strangers While Aimlessly Wandering Around, and it will include stories like this:

Many years ago I walked into a favorite bakery in Alaska. Nobody was there, no customers or employees, so I took a few minutes to look over the cookies and donuts to decide what I wanted.

Finally a young woman came out of the back room. I knew from previous donut/cookie runs that she was born in Ohio, moved here about five years ago, was nineteen years old, and would be twenty in a few months. As she brought out a tray of something new, she said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you come in.”

I replied it was no problem, it gave me a chance to think about what I wanted. We chatted for another minute or two and then she looked around and said, “Can I be honest with you?”

Apparently I can’t sleep tonight so I’ll tell one of those stories.

A couple of weeks ago I’m enjoying the darkness of some quiet sleep, just kind of meditating in the darkness with nothing going on in my brain. Then as I’m laying there an image of a toilet in a closet appears. It’s a small closet that feels cramped, and the toilet/commode is sitting sideways in it. My brain isn’t in “just observe and report” mode – it starts thinking too much – so right away I crank my virtual head from one side to the other like a little puppy, trying to figure out this perplexing image, and wondering how you’re supposed to go to the bathroom with this toilet sitting sideways in this small closet. So my brain tries to grok that for a while, but it can’t figure out why the heck the toilet is the way it is.

“Only open your mouth if what you are going to say is more beautiful than silence.”

~ Zen quote

Microsoft has a nice interview with FP researcher and Haskell co-creator Simon Peyton Jones.

Simon Peyton Jones interview

When I first started learning Zen I didn’t understand the quote shown in this image, and I truly was a carpet to walk on. Then I woke up and thought, “You need to run your business. You need to find the middle way between accepting ‘just this’ and what you need to do to be successful at work.”

It would have been helpful if I had seen this quote then, but the book, Making Zen Your Own, wasn’t available then.

Zen: Accepting 'just this' has a nice story about Lisp titled, How Lisp became God’s own programming language. That page links to Paul Graham’s old Beating the averages post where he shares this Eric Raymond quote: “Lisp is worth learning for the profound enlightenment experience you will have when you finally get it; that experience will make you a better programmer for the rest of your days, even if you never actually use Lisp itself a lot.”

To make the online reading a little easier, I’ve put a free preview version of Functional Programming, Simplified on That website contains ~40 lessons from the book. For more complete previews, see my original Functional Programming, Simplified page.

It feels like I’ve been on the road for eight weeks, but this is a photo of the sunrise in Missouri yesterday morning during the drive back to Colorado.

Sunrise in Missouri, finally back in Colorado

I’ll guess that nobody in the U.S. Congress has read it, but the Scala Cookbook is in the Library of Congress, which is kinda cool.

Scala Cookbook in Library of Congress

“I imagine that one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, that once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”

~ James Baldwin (via this page)

Recent events remind me that people often have two reasons for doing something: a reason that they’ll tell you, and the real reason.

(I initially learned that when I read the 1947 version of this book by Frank Bettger.)

“You're the man now, dog!”

~ From the movie, Finding Forrester

When editing my own writing I like to write “constipated thinking” or just “constipated” on some of my text that clearly deserves it (as an homage to the movie, Finding Forrester).

Back when I owned my own business I had a philosophy of recruiting employees after we hired them. You know how it is, when a company recruits you they put on their best face, they buy you lunch, buy you gifts, they tell you why they want you, etc. My idea was to keep doing that after we hired you, to let you know how much we appreciated you. This was kindness/gratitude and also good business sense: it’s hard to find good employees.

I think marriage should be the same way. Rather than thinking, “You married me, now you’re stuck with me” — which is a dangerous thought — I think it’s important to keep recruiting your marriage partner in the same way.

Just a thought.