Adam Fields (weblog)

This blog is largely deprecated, but is being preserved here for historical interest. Check out my index page at adamfields.com 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 app.net.

1/29/2005

Paper Katamari Damacy Prince

Filed under: — adam @ 12:38 pm

A paper cutout of the Prince (Google apparently thinks the Japanese word for Katamari Damacy means “Lump Soul”).

http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Ffccafe.fc2web.com%2Fptamacy.html&langpair=ja%7Cen&hl=en&newwindow=1&safe=off&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&prev=%2Flanguage_tools

Also, some great screenshots of KD2:

http://216.239.37.104/translate_c?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&langpair=ja%7Cen&u=http://namco-ch.net/katamari_damacy_ps2/stage/index.php&prev=/language_tools


1/28/2005

“Easy” does not equal “Correct”

Filed under: — adam @ 12:23 pm

Bruce Schneier points out this EFF article on electronic voting machine recounts, which is good overall, but fails to hammer home the biggest point, I think. “Easy”, here is only a secondary goal, after “Correct” (or, more properly, “Verifiably Correct”). The first priority is that the count match the intent of the voters. Only AFTER that goal is met to the best of our ability can we start thinking about ways to make the processes of voting and counting easier or faster. “Easy” is being given too much weight, at the expense of “Correct”.

If you have a hole in your wall, it’s pretty easy to put duct tape over the hole to keep the wind out.

http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2005/01/election_recoun.html
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/002222.php


Clothing Labels

Filed under: — adam @ 10:04 am

“Failure to provide reliable care instructions and warnings for the useful life of an item is a violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act,”

http://coolgov.com/index.php?p=110


1/27/2005

Frying pan roll-up

Filed under: — adam @ 3:51 pm

Concept design for a rollable frying pan.

http://www.designboom.com/contest/view.php?contest_pk=3&item_pk=1211&p=1


Weyco no longer employs smokers

Filed under: — adam @ 3:50 pm

http://www.freep.com/news/statewire/sw110547_20050124.htm

http://www.lsj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20041030/OPINION02/410300314/1087/opinion


Prince of Persia in Flash!

Filed under: — adam @ 3:48 pm

http://www.princeofpersiagame.com/minigame/game/flash/Princegame.swf


How much milk do you take in your tea?

Filed under: — adam @ 3:47 pm

http://www.joshrubin.com/coolhunting/archives/2005/01/128_tea_mugs.html


1/25/2005

She’s starting to stabilize

Filed under: — adam @ 11:20 pm

My friend in the hospital is starting to stabilize. She’s had multiple open brain surgeries now, but it looks hopeful that she won’t need any more surgery. She’s got a long way to go, and she’ll still likely be in the ICU for a few months, but at least her condition isn’t currently actively life-threatening. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few days feeling relatively powerless, and putting a lot of my energy into just being there for her family, and helping to organize friends and family for getting news out and scheduling people to come visit.

Many thanks to the open source projects PHPScheduleIt and Wordpress.


1/23/2005

This is really brutal

Filed under: — adam @ 8:08 pm

A very close friend of mine is currently in very critical condition following multiple open surgeries to address a ruptured aneurysm and consequential cerebral hemorrhaging. Results are day by day, and it will be several weeks before there’s any inkling of the extent of the damage, which is certainly non-trivial. The best current projected scenario is that she’ll need a month in the ICU followed by a year or more of physical and cognitive therapy, and she has a chance to regain full mental and physical capacity. But the nature of these things is that anything can happen, and all possible outcomes are still on the table.

I don’t have any energy for blogging right now.


1/21/2005

bloglines exposed (in a little way)

Filed under: — adam @ 11:00 pm

Occasionally, I find a bloglines feed that I’m subscribed to that has only two people subscribed. Whenever I find that, I immediately look at the related feeds. Since there’s only one other person that likes that feed, I assume that those must have come directly out of that person’s blog list. So I’ve just stumbled on a trove of hand-picked feeds I haven’t seen before posted by someone who was the only other person “out there” to enjoy something I enjoyed. These picks are absolutely fucking gold.

Mark – here’s a free one for you. You should be capturing this as it happens.


Wrapping pages in a Dreamweaver template

Filed under: — adam @ 12:49 pm

This is a one-liner to add a very simple Dreamweaver wrapping template to all html/php files in a directory and all child directories. You’ll need to add a template called “template.dwt” with one editable region called “Content”. After you do this, you can make changes to the template and all of the files will be updated with the template changes. Of course, it’s also a model for a general universal string replace.
(more…)


A few thoughts on CPUs and concurrency

Filed under: — adam @ 12:27 pm

Kyle sent me this article on why concurrent programming is going to be the next big thing. It makes some interesting and valid points about how CPU speed gains have been trailing off.

http://www.gotw.ca/publications/concurrency-ddj.htm

A few random thoughts:

1) I mostly agree, but see point 3.

(more…)


Using a car LCD TV as a monitor for your DSLR

Filed under: — adam @ 11:29 am

http://www.photo.net/equipment/portable_lcd/


1/20/2005

Cringely gets scooped in calling the Mac Mini for video

Filed under: — adam @ 5:44 pm

I like Bob Cringely’s writing, and I think he’s usually pretty on-target with respect to pointing out the hidden meaning. He posted this insightful article today, positing that the Mac Mini is a jump point for on-demand HD video:

http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20050120.html

Possibly true, but this article scooped him on the idea by two days:

http://osviews.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=3264


iPod Shuffle seems to favor the Beatles

Filed under: — adam @ 11:00 am

Good for them.

http://www.salathe.com/blog/music/applebeatles.html


This captures my take on nofollow exactly

Filed under: — adam @ 10:21 am

http://trenchant.org/daily/2005/1/20/


1/19/2005

Official Fantastic 4 trailer released

Filed under: — adam @ 3:02 pm

Looks pretty good to me. There was some concern that maybe the Thing wouldn’t be “bricky” enough, but it looks fine to me.

http://www.apple.com/trailers/fox/fantastic_four/


I really hope Episode III is long

Filed under: — adam @ 12:32 pm

I mean, on the order of 3.5 hours long. There’s a lot to tell, and this is the last shot. Mr. Lucas, don’t shortchange us!


Justin Hall puts his emotions on film

Filed under: — adam @ 11:50 am

This is moving, and I’m not sure what to say. I’m assuming that this is honest, although it’s in the nature of the internet now to question such things. Maybe that’s part of the problem. I’ve started to write a number of things, advice, useful suggestions, tips, platitudes, and I’m just giving up. Nobody asked for my opinion, so I’ll just do this one thing and tell you to watch it for yourself.

http://www.links.net/daze/05/01/pix/darknight.mov


Copyright is killing culture

In recent history, copyright and First Amendment issues seem to have had a relatively clear professional/amateur line drawn. There has been a lot of discussion lately about how the rise of amateur journalists, content creators, music publishers, producers, etc… are blurring that line, where now everybody wants the privileges that were previously reserved to select few “professionals” in particular fields. This is not that debate. This is about the “professional” documentary filmmakers, and their struggle with increasingly rigid copyright protections for archival footage that, if not arguably in the public domain, is at least of valid historical interest.

This is an interesting post on the growing problem of documentary filmmakers who secure limited-duration rights to archival footage, but then face the problem that they can’t legally reproduce or broadcast their films after the rights expire.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20050117/DOCS17/TPEntertainment/Film

The Eyes on the Prize documentary of the American Civil Rights Movement is cited as a classic example:

‘The makers of the series no longer have permission for the archival footage they previously used of such key events as the historic protest marches or the confrontations with Southern police. Given Eyes on the Prize’s tight budget, typical of any documentary, its filmmakers could barely afford the minimum five-year rights for use of the clips. That permission has long since expired, and the $250,000 to $500,000 needed to clear the numerous copyrights involved is proving too expensive.

This is particularly dire now, because VHS copies of the series used in countless school curriculums are deteriorating beyond rehabilitation. With no new copies allowed to go on sale, “the whole thing, for all practical purposes, no longer exists,” says Jon Else, a California-based filmmaker who helped produce and shoot the series and who also teaches at the Graduate School of Journalism of the University of California, Berkeley.’


1/18/2005

Google adds “nofollow” attribute for links

Filed under: — adam @ 11:27 pm

Google is now honoring the rel=”nofollow” attribute in link tags. Basically what this means is that links in comments, and links to your competitors, or links to things you hate can be eliminated from consideration in computing the page rank of the destination page.

http://www.google.com/googleblog/2005/01/preventing-comment-spam.html

MSN search and Yahoo are also adding this:

http://blogs.msdn.com/msnsearch/archive/2005/01/18/nofollow_tags.aspx
http://www.ysearchblog.com/archives/000069.html

On the one hand, I think this is a great idea and a long time coming – I’ve often complained that links aren’t all alike and should be treated differently.

But, on the other… I run a small blog, and I get a lot of my page karma from comments I put in other blogs. I don’t see that as necessarily wrong – my comments are always on topic, and if the owner of the blog doesn’t agree, they can always delete the comment or the link. Google isn’t tracking clickthroughs (yet), so they have no way to know if a given link in this context is actually popular or not. Automatically including this tag in the comments section may decrease the level of comment spam, but it’s also going to hurt a lot of small bloggers as well, I think. And if you’re reading the links individually to make the distinction, well… why not just delete the spam ones? This is obviously meant to be an automated measure, and it’s going to catch a lot of legit links too.

It’s just pushing the unknown down one layer, and substituting one set of unknowns (owner links vs. comment links) for another (legit comment links vs. spam links).


Scalable Enterprise Techspeak for Marketers

Filed under: — adam @ 5:05 pm

David Weinberger on AP Article on the failure of marketing terms to match up with reality, but the problem isn’t that these terms don’t mean anything, it’s that the products they’re being applied to don’t actually qualify.

Here’s a quick run-down.

Enterprise-class: You can use the same system for your whole company, and it will let different departments communicate/schedule/publish/whatever instead of just one small group.

Scalable: Yes, “scalable” means something! It means your architecture has no serious bottlenecks that would serve as obstacles to growth, and that it can scale gracefully, not just grow. If you have one database, and it can only handle 1000 concurrent connections, your solution is not scalable that way. Scalability is important when you’re – yep, you guessed it – designing and implementing enterprise-class applications.

Solution: Sometimes what you need is not actually a product. A solution can be a product, but more often, it’s a product plus some custom development plus a process plus some documentation about the process plus a way to tell if the process is actually working.

So, yes, tell us if what you’re selling is these things (but if it isn’t, don’t!), but also don’t forget to tell us what it does.

http://www.worthwhilemag.com/entry/2005/01/18/oh_why_cahnt_the_marketers_learn_to_speak.php


Capital of the World, Baby!

Filed under: — adam @ 3:55 pm

NYC City Council feels royally fucked by NYS, US… again ponders secession.

http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/38867.htm


Mini keychain plants

Filed under: — adam @ 1:42 pm

Apparently, the latest Japanese fad is little keychain plants. Marvels of miniaturization!

http://akiba.sorobangeeks.net/news_9086.html


All cheat codes for all PS2 games found

Some guy tore apart his PS2 controller, connected it to the parallel port on his computer, and wrote a script to press a large number of button combinations. He used it to figure out all of the cheat codes for GTA San Andreas (including some not released by Rockstar, apparently).

http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/01/17/1411251

This is a great example of a “class break” in systems security – the creation of a tool means that this same technique can be easily used on all games, and game developers can no longer rely (if they did before) on the codes being secret because it’s hard to try them all.

Here’s a picture of the hack:


1/17/2005

Comments feeds

Filed under: — adam @ 11:28 pm

I’ve noticed that some of the post comments feeds have been getting a lot of hits. It’s not clear that these aren’t bots of some kind.

If you are an actual human, reading the comment feeds, you must email me if you want to prevent me from removing them.


The P2P Manifesto

Filed under: — adam @ 11:11 pm

This is an interesting piece on the inevitability of P2P to survive. I’ve discussed this before.

http://montemagno.typepad.com/p2p_manifesto/2005/01/p2p_manifesto.html

Elaborating on the comment I wrote on that page —

“Content” cannot be protected from copying because it’s not a “thing”. Content is a pattern. If you can view it in any meaningful way, you can copy it. As many times as you want to. There is no difference between “usage” and “copying”. Anyone who can “use” content can “copy” it, if they so desire. It may be difficult, but it can’t be made impossible. Because of this relationship, any attempt to restrict copying will only serve to restrict usage instead, if even that.

(Update: A more concise English translation is here.)


You can’t just walk into Mordor…

Filed under: — adam @ 10:08 pm

Hehe.

http://chris.pirillo.com/_attachments/254100/mordor.gif


Why sensor size matters

Filed under: — adam @ 5:39 pm

This is a very good explanation of why digital sensor size makes a difference in imaging devices.

http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/digital/size_matters.html


Mac Mini vs. the G4 Cube

Filed under: — adam @ 5:32 pm

Gizmodo has a nice picture of a G4 Cube eating a Mac Mini.

http://www.gizmodo.com/gadgets/laptops-pcs/apple/mac-mini-versus-g4-cube-029907.php


1/15/2005

Old NYC ISP (Panix) has been hit by some serious domain problems

Filed under: — adam @ 6:05 pm

“Panix’s main domain name, panix.com, has been hijacked by parties unknown. Panix staff are currently working around the clock to recover our domain.

For most customers, accesses to Panix using the panix.com domain will not work or will end up at a false site. ”

Panix.net seems to be unaffected.

http://www.panix.net/


Six degrees of Snapper Carr

Filed under: — adam @ 5:00 pm

Pulpgeeks rejoice! Snapper Carr is the Kevin Bacon of comic books.

http://www.whiterose.org/howlingcurmudgeons/archives/007385.html


Freezepop @ Rare

Filed under: — adam @ 2:52 pm

I went to see Freezepop on one of their infrequent visits to NYC.

I took lots of pictures, which are here:

http://www.aquick.org/gallery/freezepop_rare_20050114


1/14/2005

The FBI wasted $170M on a failed collaborative knowledge sharing application

Okay, this is a whole bunch of subjects near and dear to me. Security, content management, collaborative workflow, information sharing. The FBI’s new collaborative case file system is being scrapped after spending $170 million with a result of less than 10% of the functionality being delivered.

This really bugs me. This kind of project is totally doable, and it could have (nay, should have) been done right. This wasn’t random chance, it wasn’t happenstance. Somebody fucked up bigtime, and somebody else fucked up in writing a check to that first somebody.

Maybe $170 million wasn’t enough to do this right – that’s certainly possible. But there’s no excuse for spending $170 million and getting nothing, or spending $170 million before you figure out that it’s not enough.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/14/politics/14fbi.html

(Yes, I’ll put my mouth where their money is. I think I could do better.)


The Schneier Virus is positioned to replicate sanity

Filed under: — adam @ 8:02 pm

Bruce Schneier has taken an advisory role in evaluating the Secure Flight initiative. He can’t talk about it. If it’s badly broken, we’ll probably never know. But at least he’s in there. I actually feel a little safer already.

http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2005/01/secure_flight_p.html


Should the ignorant be deprived of capabilities about which they don’t know enough to demand?

I think this is really important.

Technology has completely pervaded our society, and the complexity of these systems has increased to the point where important, sometimes critical, distinctions are very easily missed by an inexperienced populace. (Maybe this isn’t a new categorization – I’d welcome references for similar observations.)

This concept comes into play with the DRM debate – content companies are pushing for technological restrictions on copying. The tradeoffs in such restrictions are not understood by the majority of the populace. They just want to buy a TV. They don’t care, or don’t realize up front, that they’re being locked into a platform that may prevent them from watching TV the way they want to (timeshifting, recording, etc…), at some unspecified point in the future.

It struck me that this is exactly the same as the debate about whether VOIP service provides “911 service”. The general public has a very specific idea about what “911 service” means – “if I call, someone will show up and help me”, but they don’t necessarily know anything about how it’s implemented. They don’t know anything about how it’s staffed, how calls are routed, what other assumptions go into provding that kind of service on a 24-hour basis. The various VOIP services seem to offer a wide range of things called “911 service”, and not all of them qualify under the definition above. To be a little fair, this distinction is drawn in the fine print, but not necessarily in terms the average person can understand.

Does my grandmother really understand the distinction between a full-service 911 center and a “Public Safety Answering Point”? Should she have to, in order to get a phone where people will come when she dials 911?

Should the ignorant be deprived of capabilities about which they don’t know enough to demand? Should those who understand the tradeoffs stand by and allow it to happen without speaking up?

I’m not sure what the answer is (I’m thinking about it though), but one thing is clear – the nature of the transactions that people are being called upon to engage in, just to get by on a day-to-day basis, has recently changed drastically. I’m seeing more and more evidence that even the very technologically sophisticated are losing the ability to make these tradeoffs in an educated way.


The Compleat Sculptor Toy Maker’s Symposium

Filed under: — adam @ 2:40 pm

To coincide with this year’s Toyfair, my family’s store is running a symposium on Toy Making. Classes range from free to $35. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about how toys are made, there’s probably something in there for you.

http://www.sculpt.com/Toy_Fair_2005_Home.htm

Mention code ADAM05 for a free gift with a purchase!


Pudding cakes

Filed under: — adam @ 1:02 pm

This month’s Fine Cooking, my favorite cooking magazine, has an amazing technique / recipe section on pudding cakes. I made them last night, and they’re just divine. The technique is similar to a very liquid souffle, and results in a slight puffed spongy cake gradually merging into a pool of creamy pudding. The recipe was pretty easy to follow, with no serious danger points. Unfamiliar recipe, prep time about 35 minutes, 30 in the oven, and another 30 to cool before popping them in the fridge.

Definitely follow the suggestion and let them chill overnight. They’re dramatically better cold.


Computerized train service coming to the L line

Filed under: — adam @ 12:52 pm

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/14/nyregion/14subway.html


Elves Of Valinor Warn Of “Critical Security Flaw” In Palantír Browsers

Filed under: — adam @ 12:51 pm

Heh.

http://www.defectiveyeti.com/archives/001141.html


1/13/2005

Awww… poor widdle Wal-Mart, tired of being picked on

Filed under: — adam @ 10:25 pm

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6821580/


Early Elektra reviews are in!

Filed under: — adam @ 7:53 pm

My favorite so far:

“Elektra girds her loins with less intensity of purpose than if she were scanning the darkness for signs of copyright infringement.”

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/elektra/


Da Vinci’s hidden lab discovered

Filed under: — adam @ 7:29 pm

http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/story.jsp?story=599962


Bembo’s Alphabet Zoo

Filed under: — adam @ 7:26 pm

This is really cool. Each letter gets one animal that’s then made out of the letters in its name, by scaling, rotating, and repeating them.

Pretty.

http://www.bemboszoo.com/


Okay, “mini” is now over.

Filed under: — adam @ 1:19 pm

http://www.google.com/enterprise/mini/


Sodium-in-water explosions

Filed under: — adam @ 12:50 pm

I love sodium. It’s a great chemistry demo. (Warning: The movies load very slowly.)

http://www.theodoregray.com/PeriodicTable/Stories/011.2/


George Foreman Grill Webserver

Filed under: — adam @ 12:38 pm

“Why would I ever want to do this? Lots of people have asked me this, and I really have no idea why.”

http://www.igrill.co.uk/how.php


1/12/2005

Lossless compression of jpegs!

Filed under: — adam @ 1:58 pm

“Allume, the people who make the Stuffit archiver have created a new compression algorithm that will losslessly compress JPEG files by an average of 30% (they claim). This algorithm will be part of the Stuffit 9 software.”

This is huge!

http://compression.ca/act/act-jpeg.html


Hack a battery cover to serve as a CPU monitor

Filed under: — adam @ 11:41 am

This is a clever little hack!

http://www.hackaday.com/entry/1234000860026945/


Dates for the Gates

Filed under: — adam @ 11:24 am

I think this is going to be really beautiful. There’s lots of good info here, including the schedule:

http://www.christojeanneclaude.net/tg.html#anchor


Do the ipod shuffle.

Filed under: — adam @ 10:53 am

Apple announced a few new products today.

Some of them are interesting.

The Mac mini is a $500 sub-mac, no monitor, mouse, or keyboard. This, actually, is sort of exactly what I’ve been waiting for to tempt someone like me who has absolutely no use for a Mac as a general computer, but would like some of the benefits that the Mac has for dealing with, say, digital pictures. I think these will sell astonishingly well. This seems like a really smart thing in providing a gradual upgrade path from the iPod (or nothing) to this, to eventually one or more Macs.

Finally, I think they’re starting to get the producer/consumer nature of digital products and services.

http://www.apple.com/macmini/

The iPod Shuffle is a small (512MB or 1GB), low-cost iPod with no screen. You plug it in, and iTunes autofills it with a random assortment of songs (from your Mac mini, maybe). Then you can skip back and forth. That’s it. No choice. Simple. It’s tiny, it’s easy, it’s brainless. It’s missing something – you should be able to rate songs on it (even just a yes/no), so it learns (actually, so iTunes learns) over time what you want and don’t want on it. If you want to keep this really simple, have it register a “no” if you immediately skip past the song once it starts playing, or in the middle. That could even be rolled out with a firmware upgrade. I have a LOT of random crap on my music server. In its favor, it does include a warning right on the product page not to eat it.

http://www.apple.com/ipodshuffle/


There’s a distinction between customer data and company data

Filed under: — adam @ 8:21 am

I had a Sidekick for a short while when they were initially released. I sent it back immediately when I realized that all of my data would be stored on the server, and there was no way to use even rudimentary encryption (SSL) to access it. They actually had the balls to tell me that it was secure, even though it was unencrypted.

And yesterday, there was a story about how they were pentrated by an attacker who had access to their systems for over a year. It was inevitable. I’m not the least bit surprised.

http://www.securityfocus.com/news/10271


1/10/2005

Black “I did not vote 4 Bush” bracelets

Filed under: — adam @ 11:47 pm

Just the thing for the discerning Inauguration-goer.

http://www.popgadget.net/2005/01/dont-blame-me_110539552630277958.html


LED projectors begin to hit

Filed under: — adam @ 11:44 pm

I was just mentioning to Mayur that I hadn’t heard of any, but that I considered it inevitable that projectors would soon be using LEDs instead of lightbulbs for the light source.

And here we are.

http://hometheater.about.com/b/a/137964.htm


Rats can tell different languages apart

Filed under: — adam @ 1:26 am

Hey, good news! The rat brain plane can be used for international flights.

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa003&articleID=0002E500-0464-11DF-846483414B7F0000


1/9/2005

Numbered recommendation systems are missing some semantic meanings

Filed under: — adam @ 8:08 pm

Netflix asks me to rate a movie on a scale of 1-5. Where’s “I really wanted to like this movie, but it just dragged on and on” (Hero) or “I wasn’t in the right mood, but I could have liked it” (Hero), or “blah blah blah really pretty, but where’s the plot” (Hero), or even “it really sucked, but at least we got a good laugh – had I watched it alone, I might have clawed my eyes out” (King Arthur).

These indicate that I might like other movies in the same karass, but I feel bad giving them a high rating, because I didn’t actually like them.


Linux is based on text files

Filed under: — adam @ 1:41 pm

Jeremy is putting aside his Mac for 2005, and notes in the process:

“More importantly, the open source software I want to use (vim, emacs, firefox, thunderbird, gaim, the gimp, etc) are all first class citizens on Linux. On the Mac I always feel like they don’t quite belong�they are second class citizens. It’s very difficult for me to articulate why this is or exactly why I feel this way. I’m hoping someone else who’s had this experience can do a better job than I can.”

http://jeremy.zawodny.com/blog/archives/003868.html

I know exactly what he’s talking about. I think it’s because Linux (and unix before it) is based around simple text files. Most things are text files, with the expectation that you can change text files, and that if you change a text file, you don’t have to worry about anything else. In some cases, this doesn’t hold – maybe you have to re-process the text file after you change it – but, for the most part, this is how things work on a Linux machine. The files are self-contained (even if they’re not, there’s still a design sensibility that says that this is the wrong behavior, and they should be).

(more…)


1/8/2005

Circadiana

Filed under: — adam @ 2:53 pm

Circadiana is a new blog about sleep and the impact that technology has had on our sleep patterns. Interesting! (Via boingboing.)

http://circadiana.blogspot.com/


Music licenses should be cross-platform

Filed under: — adam @ 2:24 am

Assume: The music companies want to make money by selling more music.

Grant: There are a few downloadable music companies, and they’re not going away.

(more…)


Urine Charge!

Filed under: — adam @ 12:00 am

I haven’t read the book, but I imagine that a lot of the advice consists of:

Step 1: Pee in the plants.
Step 2: …
Step 3: Profit!

Really – It’s a book about recycling your urine to grow your plants. Seems like a fine idea, I suppose. Not having read the book, I can’t see how this requires a whole book. But I guess I could be wrong.

http://liquidgoldbook.com/


1/7/2005

White house paid commentator to promote No Child Left Behind

Filed under: — adam @ 7:28 pm

$240,000 of taxpayer money paid to commentator Armstrong Williams to promote the No Child Left Behind act.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=676&e=2&u=/usatoday/20050107/ts_usatoday/whitehousepaidcommentatortopromotelaw


Internet rules

Filed under: — adam @ 3:12 pm

I’ve started collecting simple rules for safe use of the internet.

http://www.internetrules.info/


Holy crap – Elektra is going to suck

Filed under: — adam @ 1:20 pm

‘And so bringing, you know, muscles built during The X-Files and X-Files movie and Reign of Fire, I thought, ‘I understand how to make this film.’” ‘

http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire2005/index.php?id=30110

Newsflash, dumbass – you’ve made two of the most confusing, pointless pieces of sf crap to hit the screen in the past ten years, and you’re just driving nails into the coffin of your credibility by mentioning them in public.


Bed

Filed under: — adam @ 12:54 pm

Last night, we were invited for drinks at a preview opening for Bed NY, a new restaurant opening tonight. The space is a pretty impressive loft. The bar is in the middle, flanked by a speckled curved wall onto which video can be projected. A number of bed/dining lounges lined the edges of the room. I was a bit surprised to see the central space largely taken up by a few giant tables instead of keeping with the “dining in bed” motif.
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Shoes with interchangeable heels

Filed under: — adam @ 12:42 pm

Popgadget found these shoes with interchangeable variable height heels.

http://www.culturelab-uk.com/site/templates/issue1/item_culturelab.asp?ID=187


Important facts about AGP

Filed under: — adam @ 11:43 am

If you’re trying to match an AGP video board to an existing AGP slot, this page has a lot of helpful information:

http://www.ertyu.org/~steven_nikkel/agpcompatibility.html


Mozilla custom keywords

Filed under: — adam @ 1:42 am

Firefox has a little-known feature called custom keywords – they’re sort of like macros with parameters for urls.

This is the only documentation I could find about it (there may be more functionality that’s not listed here):

http://www.mozilla.org/docs/end-user/keywords.html

Essentially, you can define a short string and use that instead of the full url, plus a substitution.

For example, if you wanted to search my blog, you could add a bookmark with the url “http://www.aquick.org/blog/index.php?s=%s&submit=Search” and a keyword “aquick”. Then, typing “aquick copying” in the address bar would give you all of the posts on copying.

Personally, I find this incredibly useful.


1/6/2005

Maeda on “The Color of Black”

Filed under: — adam @ 1:58 pm

Becoming a photographer has really tuned me in to subtle shades of black, white, and grey, as well as the effect that throwing a little blue (cooler) or red (warmer) into the mix has on what we perceive. This is a nice little piece on that:

http://weblogs.media.mit.edu/SIMPLICITY/archives/000085.html


The Future of Concrete

Filed under: — adam @ 1:25 pm

Via boingboing, a nice article about various improvements that have been made to concrete recently.

http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20050101/bob9.asp


Human Rights First is blogging the Gonzales confirmation hearings

Filed under: — adam @ 12:32 pm

http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/blog/


Fox has a Family Guy blog

Filed under: — adam @ 12:30 pm

Tracking Family Guy news until the triumphant Return of Family Guy, and possibly even continual Family Guy news on an ongoing basis.

http://www.fox.com/familyguy/


Museum of Food Anomalies

Filed under: — adam @ 11:43 am

Not much here yet, but they claim that there’s more coming. I like the spelling potatoes.

http://www.hanttula.com/exhibits/freakyfood/index.htm


1/5/2005

Conyers report finds massive irregularities with Ohio election

Filed under: — adam @ 5:03 pm

“With regards to our factual finding, in brief, we find that there were massive and unprecedented voter irregularities and anomalies in Ohio. In many cases these irregularities were caused by intentional misconduct and illegal behavior, much of it involving Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio.”

http://www.truthout.org/docs_05/010605Y.shtml


Physics of BMX

Filed under: — adam @ 1:09 pm

Physicist uses computer models to predict the limits of BMX tricks, then arranges a road show to demonstrate them and get people interested in physics, as part of “Einstein Year”.

Nice.

‘The stunt was created by Cambridge physicist Helen Czerski in collaboration with professional BMX rider Ben Wallace. Ms Czerski claims the stunt is “pushing the boundaries of what it is humanly possible to do on a bike”.

Mr Wallace, 18, a competitor in extreme sports events around the world, will launch off a 1.8m (6ft) high ramp and spin backwards through 360 degrees while simultaneously folding his bike underneath him in a move known to BMX devotees as a ‘tabletop’.

At one point, onlookers should see him upside down, travelling at 15mph, with his head almost 4m off the floor.’

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1383137,00.html


How to build a moneywallet

Filed under: — adam @ 1:25 am

http://www.moneywallet.org/


1/4/2005

How much would it take for you to kill a puppy with your bare hands?

Filed under: — adam @ 4:48 pm

Via Calista:

http://oldeenglish.org/puppy.html


Why copying isn’t the same as shoplifting

DRM doesn’t work to prevent copying. It cannot work to prevent copying (it can only work to prevent legitimate users from using content in the ways they’d like to, and to turn them into criminals when they do it anyway). Therefore, file trading will continue. It can be made illegal, but then, you have to define the illegal behavior. In the case of a store, that’s easy. There’s a physical item you’re not allowed to walk away with. In the case of a piece of content, it’s not so easy.

(more…)


Mayur’s extended screed on Social Security Privitization

Filed under: — adam @ 2:25 pm

Mayur has written an extended piece against Social Security privitization. With permission, I include it here in its entirety:

(more…)


“Hey Ballmer, why don’t you suck my tiny yellow balls?”

Filed under: — adam @ 1:21 pm

Er, yes.

As Warren Ellis says, “WIRED’s interview with Nintendo’s Hiroshi Yamauchi is one of the greatest interviews in the history of interviews ever”:

http://www.gamerah.com/noticias.php?bias=180#180


Mr. W ate my balls

Filed under: — adam @ 1:14 pm

An interview with Jeanne L. Phillips, who seems to be “chairwoman of the 55th Presidential Inaugural Committee”. Get it now, because the Times Archive Pay Hole Countdown is ticking.

As an alternative way of honoring them, did you or the president ever discuss canceling the nine balls and using the $40 million inaugural budget to purchase better equipment for the troops?

I think we felt like we would have a traditional set of events and we would focus on honoring the people who are serving our country right now — not just the people in the armed forces, but also the community volunteers, the firemen, the policemen, the teachers, the people who serve at, you know, the — well, it’s called the StewPot in Dallas, people who work with the homeless.

How do any of them benefit from the inaugural balls?

I’m not sure that they do benefit from them.

Then how, exactly, are you honoring them?

Honoring service is what our theme is about.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/02/magazine/02QUESTIONS.html


Judge Posner on copyright economics

Filed under: — adam @ 12:24 pm

cdh points me to this article by Federal Judge (and blogger!) Michael Posner on the economics of copyright, and why copying should always qualify as fair use if the copyright holder has not expressed “enough interest” in retaining copyright.

http://www.bepress.com/ev/vol1/iss1/art3/

Or jump straight to the PDF:
http://www.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1003&context=ev

Also, there’s Judge Posner’s blog, which he shares with Nobel Prize winner Gary Becker:

http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/


Corporate Consumer Contacts

Filed under: — adam @ 11:46 am

Very useful page of corporate contact numbers, courtesty of the GSA.

http://pueblo.gsa.gov/crh/corpormain.shtml


Top (female) nude performances of 2004

Filed under: — adam @ 11:43 am

http://www.fakes.net/top10_2004.htm


Remember that beetle bug?

Filed under: — adam @ 11:03 am

“Five years after the hoopla and warnings about Y2K, many dismiss it as a hoax, scam, or non-event. Not only was Y2K a real threat narrowly averted, but it is still having major effects on the economy. It also continues to change how we look at technology. For the fifth anniversary of Y2K, we look at the history and the legacy of the millennium bug.”

http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/y2k/index.html


Michael Pollan on why cows should eat grass

Filed under: — adam @ 11:00 am

We were having a conversation about “what’s wrong with our food production system”, relating to obesity, the availability of cheap, unhealthy food, the abundance of corn, and eventually corn fed vs. grass fed beef. The question came up about why cows need massive antibiotics doses, and I had remembered reading an article by Michael Pollan describing that it was directly related to the change in diet from grass to grains/corn. I couldn’t find the original (actually, I think it’s buried in the NY Times Magazine archive), but here’s an interview with him that has substantially the same content:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/meat/interviews/pollan.html


1/3/2005

Katamari Damacy 2 screenshots

Filed under: — adam @ 8:48 pm

Mmmm… Katamari

http://www.the-magicbox.com/0412/game041220b.shtml


For some reason, jwz is fascinated by giant floating heads

Filed under: — adam @ 5:56 pm

http://www.jwz.org/bigheads/


(XXX) 867-5309

Filed under: — adam @ 4:54 pm

The collected results of calling Jenny in every area code:

http://danstheman.com/Jenny.htm


Extreme Public Monitoring

Interesting post from Cringely, about what it might take to make a grassroots tsunami early warning system.

Obviously, the Government approach is The Cathedral:

“We can’t rely on governments to do this kind of work anymore. They just take too darned long and spend too much money for what you get. Besides, since governments are almost totally reactive, what they’ll build is a warning system for precisely the tsunami we just had — a tsunami bigger than any in that region since the eruption of Krakatoa eruption of 1883. One could argue (and some experts probably will) that it might even be a waste of money to build a warning system for a disaster that might not happen for another 121 years.”

http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20041230.html

The Extreme in the title of this post is a reference to Extreme Programming (XP), a very interesting and sometimes blindingly effective development methodology based around collaboration, communication, the philosophy of as-little-documentation-as-needed-but-no-less, and frequent testing and rebuilding of small, modular, pluggable pieces. It was designed to accomodate frequently changing requirements in a highly dynamic environment. One of the aims of XP is to be able to walk away from the project at any given release (typically spaced two weeks apart), and still have a working system, even if it doesn’t meet all of the feature requirements. This is exactly what’s needed here – get something up and running quickly, and build on it over time.


Safe Eggs

Filed under: — adam @ 1:54 pm

“Safe Eggs” are eggs that have been briefly pasteurized in the shell. Apparently, they’re indistinguishable in cooking from regular eggs, and safe for raw egg usage with immuno-compromised individuals.

It seems to me that the salmonella scare is a bit overblown – a lot of people think you’re automatically going to get sick if you eat a raw egg. But, if you have a concern salmonella poisoning or a suppressed immune system, these may be the eggs for you.

http://www.safeeggs.com/


Normally I love puns in headlines

Filed under: — adam @ 1:35 pm

And that’s a doozy – “Say Halo 2 My Little Friend”. Nice.

http://www.radosh.net/archive/2005_01_01_radosh_archive.html


Rings made out of your own bone (not that bone).

Filed under: — adam @ 1:30 pm

Biojewelry is a UK company that makes custom jewelry out of cultured bone. Specifically, wedding rings made from the bone of the opposite partner. It’s not clear if this is currently being done, or if this is just a concept.

http://www.biojewelry.co.uk/


Tivo to Go launches

Filed under: — adam @ 12:58 pm

http://www.tivo.com/4.9.19.asp


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