The Weary Blues by Langston Hughes

The Weary BluesThe Weary Blues by Langston Hughes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There is a special feeling from reading poetry in a foreign language. Poetry uses very specific vocabulary and plays with sororities that are foreign to the reader.
But, I was taken by the beauty of some of the poems in this book. Troubled Woman really moved me, Sea Calm is beautiful, Pierrot is touching. Langston Hughes brings you in his world through his poetry and you learn as much in his verses as you would in a documentary about his era.

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L’Arabe du Futur par Riad Sattouf

L'Arabe du futur : Une jeunesse au Moyen-Orient (1978–1984)L’Arabe du futur : Une jeunesse au Moyen-Orient by Riad Sattouf

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Je crois à l’existence d’une forme de contrat moral entre un écrivain et son lecteur : L’auteur se doit de dire la vérité à son lecteur. Avec L’Arabe du Futur, Riad Sattouf est dans le vrai.
Chacune des scènes du récit semble être un souvenir qui a été gravé dans la mémoire du jeune Riad par la force des émotions ressenties ou la nouveauté des sensations (Le goût et l’odeur arrivent à se faire une grande place dans cette bande dessinée).
On retrouve dans ces vignettes les émotions qui peuplent les souvenirs de notre prime jeunesse: la honte, la peur, la fierté ou le plaisir de la découverte.
On sent que l’auteur ne s’est pas échappé et nous a offert une description fidèle de ses souvenirs d’enfance.

Je recommande.

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Hammer Head by Nina MacLaughlin

Hammer Head: The Making of a CarpenterHammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter by Nina MacLaughlin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hammer Head will not change the way you look at life or provide “aha” moments, but it provides some simple truth about work and life.

I enjoyed how Nina MacLaughlin shares with us her fears in changing career path, the strength of the social pressure that feeds her anxiety, or event the financial difficulties of taking a pay cut.

There is no destination to this story, but the travel is the important part. It’s a book about learning and taking risk, and it’s a book about the importance of the work well done.

If you love crafting objects, you will enjoy this book. If you are frustrated with your current job, it may you motivate to change something in your career and give you a sense of the difficulties ahead.

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WordPress and Slack integration using a Raspberry Pi

Purpose of the project

zapier is a awesome tool that allows you to create a form of collaboration between the services that you are using on the web.

It gives you an easy way to build workflows where actions on a given website will trigger events on another of your preferred websites. One of the recipes (zap) that you can find on zapier catalog creates a notification in a Slack discussion channel when a comment is posted on your WordPress website.

screenshotzapier
Zap description

The idea of this project is to use a bunch of Python tools (the Flask framework and the requests library mostly) to build the same functionality in a small web server running on a Raspberry Pi.

Pourquoi faire simple quand on peut faire compliqué.

Les Shadoks

Description of the workflow

When a new comment is posted on an article, WordPress sends a POST requests containing all the characteristics of the comment to a predefined URI.

Running on the Raspberry Pi, a Flask webserver receives the POST request that is sent by WordPress and automatically translates it in the format that is expected by the Slack incoming webhook API.

The webserver will use the requests Python library to send a POST request to the Slack incoming web hook API containing the message to be published in the discussion channel.

Final state of the tool

As you can see in the screencast below when a comment is added to the blog, a message containing all the characteristics of the comment is added in the target Slack channel. A notification is fired by Slack (Upper right side of the screen) and the message appears on the left part of the screen in the Slack conversation.

wptoslackfinalstate
Demo of the tool

And of course, the message can be viewed in all the different Slack clients.

slackscreenshotonandroid
Same conversation on an Android phone

What did I learn?

This project was my first project with my Raspberry Pi. I learned a lot on how to set up a web server on this small machine and how to forward ports from the router to the Pi.

It was also my first project with Flask. I learned some basic knowledge of how a REST API can be built using this framework.

I also learned that you can be really happy with a functioning application that is made of only 20 lines of code!

Resources

I started with the official Slack and WordPress API documentation websites.

Most of the resources on Python Flask have been found on Miguel Grinberg’s Blog.
In particular, I used his post on how to build a REST API.

For the installation of Flask on the Raspberry Pi, I started with Matt Richardson’s blog and I then used the Raspberry Pi official website

To teach myself how to use the requests python library, I used their official website.

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On Writing by Stephen King

On Writing: A Memoir of the CraftOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book gives a selection of valuable pieces of advice for young fiction writers. But, what I took from this book was a renewed love for the craft, for the act of focused and solitary work. It sparks love for the well crafted object.
I think that the subtitle “A memoir of the craft” tells a lot about what Stephen King’s intention with this book. Maybe, it wasn’t in the first draft, but it was in the finished version of the book that I read.

This short volume deserves to be read by anyone, and not only wannabe writers. I really enjoyed it.

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L’Opinion, ça se travaille… par Serge Halimi, Dominique Vidal, Henri Maler et Mathias Reymond

“L’opinion, ça se travaille … “: les médias & les “guerres justes” : Kosovo, Afghanistan, Irak by Serge Halimi

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Collaboration entre des collaborateurs du Monde Diplo et d’Acrimed, ce livre donne une description détaillée des mécanismes en exercice dans les médias pendant les périodes de guerre.
En particulier, les auteurs illustrent l’alignement des médias occidentaux avec les positions de leurs gouvernements et montrent par l’exemple comment les grands organes de presses ont délaissé un journalisme d’information pour adopter un journalisme de commentaire, faisant la part belle à la communication des gouvernements bellicistes.
Ce petit volume vaut vraiment la peine d’être lu en ce qu’il pousse à une lecture critique des médias, ce qui en ces périodes de troubles politiques est plus que jamais nécessaire.

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