Microreview: Fahrenheit 451

The gist

Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which paper catches fire. The book presents a fictional universe in which reading is both illegal and irrelevant. Reading is a sin because it triggers thinking and questioning of authority in a world in which instant gratification and mindless entertainment is the norm. The main character of the book is Guy Montag. He works as a fireman, a person no longer in charge of putting out fires, but of burning books and the people who own them. Montag experiences an awakening when he meets his new teenage neighbor. This girl that makes an impression on him with her way of enjoying the simple things in life. From this point on he starts thinking on his own and seeing the value of books. He decides to do everything in his power to save the knowledge contained in them. Everything goes south from here, but I’m not going to spoil any further.

Context

Bradbury wrote this book in nine days, on a typewriter that he rented for a fee of ten cents per half hour at UCLA’s Powell Library. The reason for this is because he wanted the book to be as raw and unedited as possible. Bradbury did not consider himself very political. He did not see himself as belonging to any social or political groups. He wanted Fahrenheit 451 to be as little dogmatic as possible, to solely convey his deep love for books and the importance he attaches to them. I share his passion for lecture and to me it is amazing to see how prophetic the book is. There’s so little difference between the constantly chattering TV walls and their connected Seashells and today’s permanent connection to the Internet. Collective lethargy and neurosis is already emerging. The metaphor is aesthetically different, but its core message stays the same.

Verdict

I highly recommend this version of Fahrenheit 451, since it has an introduction by Neil Gaiman. The outro includes Bradbury’s words on how the book came to be, critical reception and movie impression followups.

Microreview: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

The gist

The title of the book is a bit misleading. This book is not about not giving a f*ck at all, but rather about being selective about the f*cks you give. It reads a bit like a stand-up piece on the art of saying no, accepting the temporary nature of your existence and enforcing your core values with your behaviour.

It combines personal anecdotes with snippets of stoic teachings, zen buddhism and psychology. It’s a very gentle introduction to taking up responsibility for who you are and who you want to become. If it feels too light and “fun”, it is because it is. For a deeper lecture, refer to some of the books mentioned in here. “The Denial of Death” by Ernest Becker or “Mediations” by Marcus Aurelius are both recommended for a deep dive.

Verdict

I totally recommend it if you haven’t read anything remotely similar before or you want to be mildly entertained. But if you are familiar with the concepts mentioned, you can safely move along to more comprehensive readings on the subject.

Heartfelt

My heart is like a big, fat, ripe pomegranate. Juicy, yet stale pieces of it fall off with every beat and every impulse of every common day, until nothing but a clean meaningless white crust of impressions remains. It’s an outward silence twisted inside into a rhythmic piñata of raw meat and regrets.

My heart is also an hourglass. Not because it is counting my life backwards. But because it is churning all my possible existences, all my potential me’s through a pulsating funnel of contradictions. With every beat my heart splits me sideways, shrugging off every meaningful me and rounding up this shattered self one grain of “nothing” at a time.

My heart is playing hop-scotch . And with every hop juice and sand mingle. And it reminds of blood, but it tastes rotten and ashen and rough. And I pray on that pebble to choke and trip my heart into another dream, where sandstorms rule the land of pomegrante trees.

Hive plays well with ElasticSearch

Using the Amazon Elasticsearch Service with Hive

Amazon launched the Amazon Elasticsearch Service less than a month ago to enable their clients to spin up scalable Elasticsearch clusters directly from the AWS Management Console and forget about about managing these clusters by themselves. While you can spin up and use an Elasticsearch cluster in several minutes, this ease of use comes with a small disadvantage: as opposed to a classic Elasticsearch setup, the Elasticsearch service only exposes the publicly accessible client gateway, making it impossible for Hadoop applications to connect to the nodes behind this gateway using discovery mechanisms.

Hive and Elasticsearch

To connect to the ElasticSearch service from any popular Hadoop applications (Hive, Pig, Spark etc.) you need to use the Elasticsearch Hadoop connector. This can be imported into your Java/Scala application using build tools such as Maven and sbt respectively. To use the connector in Hive though, you need to download the standalone jar package available on the Elasticsearch website.

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Using the AWS Flow Java framework with IntelliJ IDEA and Maven

Enabling AspectJ support in Java is a bit of a “love” story in itself. But making sure aspect weaving works for Amazon Simple Workflow in the Maven context (in which, I might say, any developer that operates in a production environment lives and breathes) is a challenge on its own. I’m sharing this article as a result of several days of research, sweat and hair pulling. In short, I am going to explain how to enable compile time weaving for the AWS SWF Flow Java Framework in combination with IntelliJ and Maven. So here goes…

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Simple fix for “Creative cloud desktop failed to install” error

“Creative cloud desktop failed to install” seems to be a very common problem for the Adobe CC users and that’s why I decided to share this simple fix. There is also an answer from Adobe but from my readings on different forum topics, that didn’t seem to work too smoothly. That is why I decided to try my luck with this very simple fix before making all those steps that Adobe thinks could help and fortunately I got rid of the Failed to install error the easy way.

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