My name in the Devanagari script

This is the personal web-site of Ranjit Mathew.

There are many other web-sites like it, but this one is mine.

Learn more about me.


[2021-12-31] “The Complete Maus”

Maus” is a biographical graphic novel by Art Spiegelman. It tells the story of Vladek Spiegelman, the father of the author, as he and his family survive the horrors of the Holocaust as Jews in Poland persecuted by the Nazis from Germany. It is the only graphic novel so far to have won a Pulitzer Prize. In my opinion, the accolades it has received so far are all justified.


[2021-12-28] “La Belle Sauvage”

La Belle Sauvage” is the first book in the “The Book Of Dust” trilogy of fantasy-fiction books by Philip Pullman. It is based in the same fictional universe as the previous “His Dark Materials” (HDM) trilogy of books by the same author. I had immensely enjoyed reading the HDM books, so I was looking forward to reading this trilogy. So far, I am not disappointed.


[2021-12-27] “C Interfaces And Implementations”

C Interfaces And Implementations” is a book by David R Hanson that shows you how to create interfaces and their corresponding implementations in the C programming language in a way that minimizes the coupling between a module and its clients, while enforcing a well-defined contract. The author demonstrates this by building a small library of useful data-structures and helper-fuctions that is freely available under a liberal license.


[2021-12-19] “Microprocessors”

It has been more than thirty years since “Microprocessors: A Programmer's View” by Robert Dewar and Matthew Smosna was published and I still have not come across another book on the topic that has a similar breadth and depth. I first read this book in 1995 and enjoyed it immensely then. I read it once again recently and still found it quite insightful despite its age.


[2021-11-21] “Persepolis”

Persepolis” is a biographical graphic-novel by Marjane Satrapi that was later adapted into a much-awarded eponymous film. The book (and the film) are poignant tales of coming-of-age and self-discovery of a woman, which is drawn in a simple, but effective style. I got to read the book as well as watch the film this weekend and I would categorize both as “good, but not great”, despite all the hype accompanying the release of the film.


[2021-11-09] Making console8x16 Work With mrxvt

mrxvt is my favorite terminal-emulator to use on Lucifer because it is fast and supports multiple tabs. I like to pair it with the bitmapped font console8x16 from Konsole because that font looks good in my opinion while giving me the nostalgia kick of using an OldSkool PC font. Unfortunately, the two do not work well together when it comes to displaying box-drawing characters. Until now.


[2021-10-25] Boiling The Ocean On Lucifer, Once Again

Over the past three weeks or so, I have been updating the installation of Linux on my old desktop PC Lucifer to use newer software. This has been a painful, yet quite educational, process by which I was finally able to achieve what I had set out to do. Reasonable people would have long ago just upgraded their machines and then used a package-manager native to their distribution to achieve what I did, but where is the fun in being a reasonable person?


[2021-09-26] “Once Upon A Time In The North”

Once Upon A Time In The North” is another short book (after Lyra's Oxford) by Philip Pullman set in the fictional universe described by the His Dark Materials trilogy. The hero of this book is the aeronaut Lee Scoresby and the book tells the story of his first meeting with the armored bear Iorek Byrnison.


[2021-08-01] Silver Jubilee

Today marks the completion of 25 years in the IT industry for me. Just as with the increasing number of silver hair on my scalp, I hope that this silver jubilee marks a certain maturity on my part rather than just the passage of time. While I do not have pearls of wisdom to offer on this anniversary, I would like to reflect a bit on the journey so far.


[2021-07-19] ICFPC 2021

I took part in ICFPC 2021 last weekend. I was somewhat hesitant going into the contest this year after having been weirded out by last year's task, but I am happy to report that the task this year was a “classic” no-nonsense ICFPC task with a concise and straightforward specification. That did not mean that it was an easy task to fulfill – going by the write-ups from other teams, it seems I was not alone in thinking that.


[2021-06-12] “Lyra's Oxford”

Lyra's Oxford” is a short book by Philip Pullman set in the universe described by the fantastic His Dark Materials trilogy. I had immensely enjoyed the trilogy when I first read it, so I was looking forward to reading this book to reinhabit that universe.


[2021-05-25] “A Philosophy Of Software Design”

A Philosophy Of Software Design” is a book by John Ousterhout that aims to teach a set of principles by which one can learn how to design software-systems in order to reduce the overall complexity. This is a tall order for a relatively slim book, but I am happy to report that it lives up to its expectations. I had read many good things about the book from people whom I respect, so I was somewhat prejudiced in its favor before I started reading it. That said, almost all practitioners in the field will find something or the other in this book with which they will disagree.


[2021-04-30] Ten Years Of iPad 2

I bought an Apple iPad 2 ten years ago to the day and it is wonderful to see it still going strong with regular usage throughout this period. In an era where electronic devices have such short shelf-lives due to either being designed with planned obsolescence or being manufactured using bad-quality components, it is a shining testament to Apple's focus on good quality and a respect for its customers. (It is not just the iPad 2 – my iPhone 4S from later on in 2011 worked well for six years, after which I reluctantly replaced it in 2017 by an iPhone SE, primarily due to its inability to run 64-bit applications or to keep up with ever-bloating web-pages – the iPhone SE is still going strong though.) Unlike the pricing of its devices recently in India, Apple sold the iPad 2 at quite a reasonable price at the time, which has made this iPad 2 deliver an exceptional value for the money I had paid for it.


[2021-03-30] Twenty Years Of Blogging

It has been twenty years since I started blogging on this web-site and elsewhere. Initially, I used to post separately on this web-site, on Advogato, and on BlogSpot. After a while, I consolidated all my blog-posts on this web-site, as there was no clear separation of themes for the posts across these platforms and it was simpler to have a single soap-box. Over the years I started posting more and more, but ultimately the posts have become a sad trickle, mostly about book-reviews and the odd ICFP Contest in which I took part. I should really fix this by posting more regularly and on more diverse topics.


Older Posts