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>Another strange thing about tonumber (which I have been told is a 
>feature) is that a string which is a large hex number is converted to a 
>negative number.  Now that's easy to fix with a little post processing 
>but I can't imagine wanting to get a negative number from a hex conversion.

This (and more) has been fixed in the next version. We now use strtoul for
conversion when the base is not 10, that is, we never get negative numbers in
this case.