The Twelve Developers of Christmas: Sridhar “Srid” Ratnakumar, Urban Wanderer
by Isabelle Groc

Isabelle Groc, December 27, 2012

This month, we celebrate twelve Stackato ActiveState developers who share thoughts about the product, little known facts about them, and what they want for Christmas.

Sridhar “Srid” Ratnakumar, Software Developer, joined ActiveState in April 2009. Born in Chennai, India, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, and moved to Vancouver in 2008. At ActiveState, he works on various things on Stackato from Python support to Logyard and App Store.

He enjoys ambling along the streets of Vancouver, with no particular aim in mind. Perhaps that is why he feels close to the swans swimming on the Seventh Day of Christmas.

How did you become a developer?

Programming has been my primary pastime for a long time. Although I was persuaded to become a doctor—hence took the biology track as opposed to the computer science track in high school—my curiosity only grew every day upon watching my fellow students “create” new things in the computer lab. I convinced my father to pay for an hour at a nearby computer centre where I “played” with PowerPoint. It was my first taste for computing.

What was your first computer?

It was a PC running Windows 98 gifted in the year 2001 by my grandfather who was impressed with my academic performance.

Your favourite programming language(s)?

For the most part, it has been Python, I have been using it since 2002. My current favourite is Go. Go provides language-level concurrency, static typing and fast compiled code, beneficial features that are lacking in Python.

What gets you excited about Stackato?

Stackato being a distributed system is the most exciting aspect of it.

Who else in the industry impresses you?

Two things: Google, for the breadth of problems and challenges they tackle, and the Unix programming culture, for its simplicity.

What do people don’t know about you?

Seeing just how much of the strife in the world is being caused by the social identity (that which is being unwittingly sculpted by a lifetime of classical and operant conditioning by one’s peers), for the past years I have developed a mounting obsession in regards to the ruthless breaking down of this social identity via sincere introspective practices. Much of what makes my life fun these days comes from these practices.

What do you do when you are not developing?

A diminished social identity allows me to enjoy a low-key lifestyle. Whenever not currently engaged with computer programming (for hobby or work), I may unabashedly play computer games for hours, or find the least crowded coffee shop to read a particularly interesting book recently discovered via aimlessly browsing the internet.

I also have an active interest in studying all there is to know in regards to human nature. I’ve read works in evolution (The Selfish Gene), social psychology, affective neuroscience (The Emotional Brain), gender studies (Is There Anything Good About Men?), primate studies, and various cultural critiques (Against Love).

What do you listen to while you're working?

Groove Salad, because electronic genre tends to put me in a blissful trance easily.

Best movie you've seen this year?

Pulp Fiction. I watched many of Quentin Tarantino’s films this year, and I enjoyed them all. I gravitate towards watching black comedy or anything that makes fun of our much-cherished values—the TV Show 3rd Rock from The Sun comes to my mind.

What you want for Christmas?

If a genie were to grant me a wish, I would make humans relinquish all of their encultured cynicism. It is amazing to see even the utopian predictions permeated with dystopian undertones—Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World is a telling example of that. Hopefully the future of the human race will look nothing like the picture painted by these “great minds.”

Photo of Vancouver by Sridhar “Srid” Ratnakumar

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Isabelle joined ActiveState as a Technical Editor after several years as a freelance journalist, editor, and photographer, and has contributed to a variety of media outlets including PC Magazine, Canadian Geographic, Discover, Canadian Wildlife, Georgia Straight, and Scientific American.