Readings January 2022
I’ve decided note down the things I read every month - especially those I find interesting.
Each item has a summary along with it, as well as tags, depending on what it is related to. A 📝 marks a paper,
a 📚 marks a book, and 🌐 represents a site/blog.
It isn’t uncommon for me to skim something, rather than reading it thoroughly. This gives me an idea
of the topic at hand, but not in-depth knowledge. I note them here, marked with a ⏩ sign.
This page will grow week-by-week till February, when I will start another page.
- 📚 ⏩ Types and Programming Languages
This book, roughly, defines what type is, and tells how types are useful. This is followed by instructions
of how to define the syntax and semantics of languages, and how to type languages. I only read this upto
7-8 chapters - most of the content has already been covered in my undergraduate courses.
- 🌐 Ten Years of Logging My Life
An interesting blog post on recording day-to-day patterns and analyzing them.
- 🌐 ⏩ Lua: Good, bad, and ugly parts
A blog post on various aspects of Lua - I don’t know the language yet, but I read it to see if I want to learn it, or not.
I think I do.
[tags:programming-languages, lua, learning]
- 🌐 ⏩ Why git is so fast
Some of the optimizations git makes. Has special focus on why C is the language of choice (rather than, say, Java).
[tags:programming-languages, optimization, git, learning]
- 📚 Prisoners of Geography
A book I received as a gift - on geopolitics. It explains, in layperson terms, the complex political situations of various countries. Of course, as
you might have figured out, there’s special focus on how geography plays a part in influencing the actions of every nation. This book
was a great read, and a great gift from Santwana.
[tags:geography, politics, learning, non-fiction]
- 🌐 Introduction to the A * Algorithm
An interactive blog post about A* pathfinding algorithm, and comparing it to BFS and Djikstra’s algorithm. This is
specifically in relation to making games, maybe why I enjoyed so much.
[tags:game-making, algorithms, learning]
- 🌐 ⏩ Map representations
A blog post about how to split up maps into nodes and edges, and navmeshing - so the above algorithms can be applied. Tradeoffs
between path quality, speed are discussed. Again, this was sprcifically in relation to making games.
[tags:game-making, learning, algorithms]
- 🌐 How To Read A Textbook
An article describing a way to read textbooks for maximum retention - this was specifically focused on tests,
not just reading for the sake of reading. The article derives from a very old 1941 paper, and it seemed a bit
too test focused for me. But still, it may be worth a go.
- 🌐 The 5-hour CDN
An article describing how CDNs work by way of instructing the reader of a simple way to make one. I was introduced
to several concepts in this article - traffic direction to nearby servers, layered CDN, etc.
[tags:learning, cdn, web-server]
- 🌐 ⏩ Practical Web Cache Poisoning
A very in-depth look at cache poisoning with several exploits detailed along with the basic idea of cache poisoning.
I read it to get a basic idea of what a cache poisoning attack looks like - and I also enjoyed skimming through the
more complex exploits, though I did not understand them all.
[tags: learning, security, cache-poisoning]
- 🌐 In defense of complicated programming languages
An article on why languages evolve to have “complex” abstractions - because if we didn’t have these abstractions, it leads
to ad-hoc versions of these abstractions coming up in code anyway. Complex abstractions also help in increasing the ratio
of issues found at compile time, to issues found at run time.
[tags: programming, learning, complexity]
- 📚 How to Build a Car
An autobiography of Adrian Newey - the man behind the design of many, many championship winning Formula 1 cars. He provides an
insider’s view of the F1 circus, stories from his life, and easily digestible bits of many of his innovative designs.
[tags: autobiography, formula-1, non-fiction]
- 📚 The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
A fun read about Botswana’s only detective agency run by women - set in Botswana of I don’t know how many years. I can’t make out
whether it’s the 1960s, or the 1990s, but the book is an engaging read, and the characters drew me in.
[tags: fiction, detective]
- 📚 ⏩ The Guide to Lucknow
A book over 100 years old detailing the notable locations in and around Lucknow, providing a blow-by-blow narration of the effects
and events of 1857 sepoy mutiny in Lucknow, and recent history (recent, from the perspective of the book. So from the 1600s or so).
I skimmed through a large part of it because it was like reading a fact-sheet, and quite repetitive. Also, it really puts into
perspective how much the time and environment of publication influences who literature portrays as the “good guys” (in this case,
the colonial government are portrayed as “good” and “brave”).
[tags: history, non-fiction, lucknow]