Wednesday Sep 05, 2007

Dark Star Modulo Lyrical Interpretations

I lived with a Dead Head for a year, and lived in his musical light cone for another year, so it's hard to say when exactly I first heard "Dark Star," one of the Dead's platforms for improvisation and fun (if you want a thorough treatment of the philosophical, metaphysical and less musical underpinnings of Dark Star, check out Steven Skaggs' essay on those very things).

Improvisation in code or in music needs a framework to carry it. It has to be accessible; it has to be easy to digest (at least for those not familiar with the rest of the author's work); and done well it both builds on the ideas of others and contributes new phraseology back. That's the end of the literal comparison between the Sun Labs gaming platform and its namesake Dead exploration.

In our latest Innovating@Sun podcast, I traded fours with Jim Waldo on how Darkstar hides some of the real-time and occasionally messy elements of building a game, how we can make it grow to "interesting" economies of scale, and why Java is well-suited for the highly charged (no pun intended) world of real-time development. Jim even runs with my obscure Grateful Dead references, which is fortunate since I was one step away from invoking the confluence of technology and John Perry Barlow by referring to Jim as the estimated prophet of Java.

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Hal Stern's thoughts on software, services, cloud computing, security, privacy, and data management

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