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


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.”

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.

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