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Odd Lots


  1. Erbo says:

    Lua has one interesting use out there: it’s an “extension language” for World of Warcraft, letting people write add-ons to the MMORPG client in a reasonably-safe manner. Its main strength is as an embeddable “little language,” something like you might use Tcl, Python, or JavaScript for, but much lighter in weight while sacrificing little in terms of power.

    1. One of the things a little browsing around suggested is that Lua is fast compared to other scripting languages, which fascinates me. Is it possible that people use conventional wisdom about interpreters as an excuse to just write inefficient interpreters? Turbo Pascal shamed the world’s compiler writers into doing better, because a build that everyone assumed required twenty minutes could now be done in twenty seconds. Python code seems slow to me. I’m looking forward to seeing how Lua comes across in terms of code execution speed.

    2. Lua is also used inside a sort of Lego-universe game called Roblox, which reminds me of a low-res version of my concept RAD Mars, the last idea piece I published in Visual Developer before the mag folded. See:

      1. Erbo says:

        And “RAD Mars” itself sounds a whole lot like a SF-y version of Second Life…which has its own “ErectorSet”-ish parts with which to build objects (in the form of prims, and, recently, mesh objects), and, indeed, its own “little language,” called Linden Scripting Language, for making constructed objects do stuff. (LSL is structured kind of like ActionScript or Java, and these days runs on the Mono runtime environment server-side.)

  2. Bob Halloran says:

    Jeff, on the MS/B&N deal, there’s a growing feeling on the open-source side that this is a payoff from Ballmer & Co ; B&N failed to roll over when MS demanded danegeld for supposed patent infringements by Android, B&N wouldn’t sign the NDA in negotiations and publicly called out the patents in their countersuit, they went to the DoJ claiming market strangulation by MS, and given the way the Oracle v. Google suit over Java patents has gone so far, MS may have figured it best to settle and avoid having *their* patents invalidated.

    Where the various Android cellphone manufacturers simply factor the MS royalties into their costs, B&N’s main business is selling media; the Nook is simply their enabler. As such they want to hold down the cost to encourage adoption, and had zero interest in playing along with MS.

    The deal also frankly opens up the non-US market for the Nook, and potentially gives MS a hook into the e-textbook market by giving them a share in the college-bookstore business B&N runs at numerous campuses nationwide. While I have no love for The Beast of Redmond, this may be a good thing for the Nook tablet in terms of marketing and expansion to the e-textbook market.

    1. Agreed, and thanks for the additional detail, which I was too spent to chase down myself. I love my NC and would really like to have one with a 10″ display, since a 7″ display isn’t big enough to show detailed technical art. If MS cash helps B&N to get there, I’m all for it.

      I think the pertinent psychology here on MS’ part is: “If you can’t beat ’em, buy ’em.”

  3. doknir says:

    BTW, LuaTeX is a TeX based computer typesetting system with Lua scripting engine embedded …

  4. Lee Hart says:

    Jeff, thanks so much for the “Tom Swift Lives” link. I looked at one, not expecting much. But then, the magic happened! I fell into the story. I was a kid again, reading under the covers when I should have been asleep. I *had* to read it to the end, and didn’t crawl into bed until 2am.

    You’re right; they really *are* wonderfully done. A true tribute to the originals.

    1. Scott’s work is that rarest of things: Fanfic that actually reads better than the originals. I’ve been paid that compliment a couple of times for my “new” Carl & Jerry story “Infra Redeye,” granting that it’s too large to ever have been published in a magazine.

      It makes me wonder what other such may be out there waiting to be discovered.

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