Adam Fields (weblog)

This blog is largely deprecated, but is being preserved here for historical interest. Check out my index page at for more up to date info. My main trade is technology strategy, process/project management, and performance optimization consulting, with a focus on enterprise and open source CMS and related technologies. More information. I write periodic long pieces here, shorter stuff goes on twitter or


Print your own dodecahedric calendar

Filed under: — adam @ 9:34 pm

What the fans want

Filed under: — adam @ 8:35 pm

This was originally posted to someoftheanswers, but I stumbled upon it again, and I feel it’s worth repeating.


A few days ago, Farscape was cancelled.
I’m loathe to pick up an episodic series in the middle, because it makes me feel like I’m always missing something, so I’ve been watching the shows, in order, as they’ve been released on DVD. And it’s great. I have more than two years to go, but I still lament its passing. I love sf, I love sci-fi, and I love sf/sci-fi television. And I’ve watched as show after show has been ruined. Sometimes it’s by straying from the original concept in an attempt to pick up a wider audience, which always results in the original audience that made the show popular fleeing as fast as they can. Sometimes it’s just not understanding what the fans want.
So, I’ll lay it out for you:

1. Put the show in a timeslot, and keep it there. We, the public, are busy. We like TV, but we don’t have time to check your often-wrong website to find out when the shows we like will actually be on. Moving shows around does not successfully introduce them to new audiences, it alienates the old ones who knew when and where to find it and now no longer do. It’s disingenuous to run a show for three months without running any two episodes in the same slot in a row (or at all), then decide that people didn’t like it and kill it.
2. I have a pet peeve about pre-empting regular shows for long-running sports events, because I don’t watch sports. I understand, however, that some people like sports, and advertisers like to pay money for those slots. If you have to bounce a show, then you should do two things: 1) apologize at least a little bit to the fans of the show and 2) air the show in its entirety in some other timeslot. “We join XXXX already in progress…” is not acceptable, especially for a first-run show that may never again be aired uncut.
3. Keep your website up to date and easy to navigate. If it’s Saturday, don’t make us look for your Sunday shows in “next week’s lineup”. Post prominent notices that shows have been moved. Make it easy for us to find the shows we like. Make the listings correspond to what’s actually on. Make this part of your syndication contracts.
4. If your show is watched by hordes of intelligent fans who are drawn to your multi-season plot arcs, interesting characters, and politcal tension, don’t suddenly turn the show into “Kevin Sorbo’s Action Hour”. Television action cannot compete with the movies for long periods of time. It just ends up being boring and repetetive if you focus on it.
5. Hordes of intelligent fans are drawn to multi-season plot arcs, interesting characters, and political tension. Don’t underestimate the intelligence of your fans, and don’t play down to the lowest-common denominator – raise the bar! Your viewers are smart. Treat them that way.
6. Make the plot dependent on earlier episodes, and make it possible for people to see them. Either rerun them in order on a periodic basis or make them available on VHS/DVD (but not VHS-only). Make this part of your syndication contracts.
7. Invest in good writers. Ply them with caffeine and chocolate.
8. Ensemble shows can work very well, if they’re balanced.
9. Don’t cancel a good series in the middle to try out something slick and shiny where the show is just a vehicle for a main character who is a desperate loner trying to find (his wife’s killer | his killer | the people who stole his memories | the people who stole his identity | aliens).

Thieves steal 911 equipment by accident

Filed under: — adam @ 5:28 pm

That’s great. They go into a Verizon building to steal telephony circuit boards, but inadvertently disable large chunks of the 911 system, so the cops come over to investigate, and catch them in the act.

Smart cars cleared for US sale

Filed under: — adam @ 5:12 pm

Okay, I like gentoo

Filed under: — adam @ 2:48 pm

I’m most of the way through installing my first gentoo build, and
there’s a lot to like about it.

- emerge makes sense, at least on the surface

- the rc system is far more logical than any other I’ve used

- it follows a very important rule: "where things are configurable, offer sane defaults that won’t be wrong, even though they may not be as finely tuned"

The install process is completely unguided, but there is VERY good step-by-step documentation. I’d like to see some of these common tasks packaged up into an installer for less technical users, but for those so inclined, it’s really nice to be doing the install inside a running linux system instead of having to drop out of the installer when you want a shell.

So far, thumbs up.

Tinted carrots offer health benefits, colors

Filed under: — adam @ 12:05 pm

Selective breeding yields carrots high in healthy and colorful compounds:

"Xanthophylls give the yellow carrots their golden hues and have been linked with good eye health. Red carrots contain lycopene, a type of carotene also found in tomatoes that’s believed to guard against heart disease and some cancers.

Purple carrots owe their color to anthocyanins. In a class all by themselves, these pigments are considered to be powerful antioxidants that can guard the body’s fragile cells from the destructive effects of unstable molecules known as free radicals."

Two more on exit polls

Filed under: — adam @ 12:01 pm

No, we’re not done with that yet.

How to make sushi videos

Filed under: — adam @ 11:58 am

Panasonic ultralight vehicle runs on two AA batteries

Filed under: — adam @ 11:52 am

Seems like more of a gimmick, but still pretty cool.

“Weighing 18.5kg, OxyRide can drive for 1.23km with a 50kg passenger, or travel 65m in 74 seconds on fresh cells, claims Panasonic.

Developed to promote the firm’s AA Digital Xtreme Power (DXP) disposable camera batteries, the cells use a modified alkaline chemistry, with nickel hydroxide and other undisclosed ‘active elements’ added to the standard manganese dioxide electrode.”

Look forward to that call

Filed under: — adam @ 11:49 am

Someone finally invented the cellphone-driven vibrator.

"When your phone receives a text message or phone call it will switch on the Vibrating stimulator for a set period of time."

It seems like the next natural step is to combine this with the Audi-Oh.

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