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


How I came to love Jamie Zawinski

Filed under: — adam @ 11:22 am

I now feel compelled to share this, since many people have now discovered Jamie’s writing due to that¬†whole thing. But for me, it started long ago with just a single link. Time melts away in an instant when viewing web pages meant to be rendered in Netscape, and now it’s hard to believe that was 16 years ago. It’s a real gem, and for me it was one of my first exposures to both effective use of hypertext (as opposed to theoretical academic use) and internet oversharing.

Start here. Click click click.



My Huck Finn edit

“Jim was monstrous proud about it, and he got so he wouldn’t hardly notice the other dudes. Dudes would come miles to hear Jim tell about it, and he was more looked up to than any dude in that country. Strange dudes would stand with their mouths open and look him all over, same as if he was a wonder. Dudes is always talking about witches in the dark by the kitchen fire; but whenever one was talking and letting on to know all about such things, Jim would happen in and say, ‘Hm! What you know ’bout witches?’ and that dude was corked up and had to take a back seat.”


Something interesting about scarcity

We used to have a 6-at-a-time Netflix plan. We’d get 6 movies, but then sometimes we’d go months before watching them, or even just deciding that enough was enough and sending them back. And frequently, even among those 6 movies, there would be nothing we wanted to watch on any given night. And then an interesting thing happened. As part of a general cost trimming in our house, we dropped down to a 3-at-a-time plan. And suddenly we started watching a lot more Netflix movies. With 6 movies to choose from, there was always “something else” to watch, and we didn’t have to worry about clearing out all of the cruft to make room for something we really wanted to watch. As a result, we didn’t think as carefully about whether we’d really want to watch a new movie, because just renting something wouldn’t really block something else that we wanted to see more if it came along. But when we introduced a little artificial scarcity into the mix, a slot became something worth protecting from something we didn’t really want to see, and we started thinking more about which movies to put to the top of the queue, and then actually being more aggressive about watching them and sending them back.

This seems like a strange effect to me – we’re paying less, we’re technically using less (3 out instead of 6 out), but we’re turning over more, so the net effect is probably that we’re heavier users now than at 6-out. Because the pricing is only on the number out instead of the turnover, we’re unarguably paying less and using more, even though we’re technically on a “lower usage” plan. At this point, even if we wanted to spend the extra money, I have no desire to go back to a 6-out plan, because I like the extra sense of urgency that comes from having the out slots be a scarce resource, and it makes me want to use the service more.

I don’t know if this makes me a better Netflix customer or not, from their perspective. Obviously I’m paying less money to them per month and using more in mailing fees, but I’m also holding onto premium movies for a lot less time than I used to, freeing them up to be sent to other customers.

Anyone notice the same thing?


Cool photo roundup


Museum of Natural History:

400+ forms used by the NSA:

London Bananas:

How to make an inkjet print that will last 10000 years:


Dear Netflix

Dear Netflix:

I would very much like your website to stop redirecting me to a page that tells me that Im using an unsupported browser. I know I use Opera. I like it. I understand if you dont want to support it, but at least set a cookie so I can just tell you once that I dont care, instead of making me click through your tedious “only browsers we like are supported” splash page every time I want to check my queue.

Thanks. Have a wonderful day.

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Brilliant DMCA side effect

Crappy DRM company says the DMCA forces you to buy their technology instead of building your own because not buying their technology is a circumvention of an effective copyright tool.

The thing is, I think they’re right. I mean, it’s stupid, but then so is the DMCA.

There are some other provisions (which seem to not apply), but the crux of it is:

“No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof, that–

`(A) is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of
circumventing a technological measure that effectively
controls access to a work protected under this title;”

It explicitly does NOT say “copy the work”, it says “circumvent the technology”. “Circumvent” is not the word they were looking for.

In fact, now that I think about it, convincing someone that DRM is bad is also a violation, as that may be interpreted as offering a service that is primarily design for the purpose of circumventing technological protection. Crap.

(via boingboing.)

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Well that’s just about the strangest thing I’ve seen all day

Filed under: — adam @ 8:14 pm

“This work began on the day when we had made a extra big candy like a bowling ball by ourselves.
Since that day, we had been licking the candy day after day for about six months.’

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Cadbury got busted for reducing the size of the Creme Egg and then lying about it

Filed under: — adam @ 3:31 pm

I used to get a Cadbury Creme Egg a year about the same time I had my annual McRib. Since I’ve realized over the course of the past few years that you’re only supposed to eat food, I didn’t know that Cadbury reduced the size of the Creme Egg this year. And then they lied about it! And they blamed it on the increasing size of their consumers (possibly from eating too many Creme Eggs)! And then they got busted on National TV! At least they could have had the dignity to release the “New Creme Egg”, and then release the “Creme Egg Classic” in the smaller form factor when people complained about the new formula.

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Don’t look at the Fnords

Filed under: — adam @ 9:50 am

Robert Anton Wilson is dead.

I can’t say enough about the importance of his writing to our national culture of weirdness. He will be missed.

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This is a great video of the ZDNet Executive Editor explaining what’s wrong with DRM.

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Coffee cups with stamps in the bottom

Filed under: — adam @ 11:09 am

Instead of corporate logos, they leave behind pretty floral patterns.

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Paul McCartney is 64 today

Filed under: — adam @ 5:19 pm

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Oh, the hairmanity.

Filed under: — adam @ 5:01 pm

Some sort of canonical list of bad 80s videos on YouTube.

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Pink something

Filed under: — adam @ 1:43 pm

I have no idea what this is about, but it is… pink.

(Via Doc)

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Watch out for the, uh, oven door scam

Apparently, crooks have been breaking into vacation homes, stealing the >OVEN DOORS<, repackaging them in real flat screen TV boxes, and selling them to dupes on the street.

Words fail me.

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Retiring to a perpetual cruise

Filed under: — adam @ 12:11 pm

Interesting tidbit from Snopes, via (Kottke).

Apparently, it’s about the same price to take a perpetual cruise as it is to live in a nursing home, and at least a few people have been doing this for years.

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All cute, all the time

Filed under: — adam @ 1:52 pm


USPTO apparently grants patent for warp drive

I don’t remember who originally sent this to me, but I got it a few times. This is apparently a patent for a warp drive.

” A cooled hollow superconductive shield is energized by an electromagnetic field resulting in the quantized vortices of lattice ions projecting a gravitomagnetic field that forms a spacetime curvature anomaly outside the space vehicle. The spacetime curvature imbalance, the spacetime curvature being the same as gravity, provides for the space vehicle’s propulsion. The space vehicle, surrounded by the spacetime anomaly, may move at a speed approaching the light-speed characteristic for the modified locale.”

They’re off their rocker.,960,975.WKU.&OS=PN/6,960,975&RS=PN/6,960,975


MIT students study tinfoil hats

Conclusion: tinfoil hat makes it easier for the gummint to read your brain. It’s a conspiracy!


Using Sony’s rootkit to defeat Blizzard’s spyware

Filed under: — adam @ 3:08 pm

Well that’s just cute. Apparently, Sony’s DRM rootkit process hider can be used to circumvent Blizzard’s cheating spyware.

And, yet again, I feel the need to say that everything I said here still applies:


On World of Warcraft’s spyware

World of Warcraft was recently revealed to have a piece of spyware hidden in it called Warden, that tracks a large amount of information about other things running simultaneously on the machine, in order to prevent cheating.

There’s been some commentary on Dave Farber’s IP list that Warden was found by someone trying to hack the game, implying that that somehow justifies its existence.

I wrote the following in response to that:


The fact that this piece of spyware was found by someone trying hack the game is totally irrelevant to what it is, and the fact that there are people in an arms race over hacking the game doesn’t justify Blizzard’s raising the bar on that race to trample the privacy of legitimate users who are probably unaware that this is even going on.

As has been previously stated, Blizzard’s assertion that it’s not doing anything with the information is little comfort. What if the next round of arms race escalation is to hack Warden and release all of that information? How long will it be before Blizzard can properly respond? How much data will get out, because of the infrastructure that Blizzard has constructed?

The fact that this is justified by text buried in a long EULA is deplorable. The fact is, few people read EULAs at all, and even fewer read them for >games< . There ought to be full disclosure right up front in large capital letters - "If you want to play this game, you have to agree to let us spy on you, because we assume everyone's a cheater. YOU'VE BEEN ADEQUATELY WARNED. To agree, and be allowed to play the game, type: 'I UNDERSTAND THAT BLIZZARD IS SPYING ON ME TO CATCH CHEATERS'." Let's have no more of this "Press OK to continue" crap.


The ELF invades Sears

All this talk about plays written in the dark ages made me reread the skit I wrote in high school with my friend Tristan.

I give you The ELF invades Sears.

It still makes me laugh.

(It’s an homage. Read a book!)

Republic Dogs


My friend Nat’s screenplay “Republic Dogs”, a Plato/Tarantino mashup, is making the blog rounds:

There seems to be some contention over when it was actually written. I can personally attest to being present around the time of the original writing and presentation, at or near Columbia’s Philolexian Society (Columbia’s oldest student organization, founded in 1802), sometime between 1992 and 1996. Nat says 1994, and I believe him.

In fact, I made a poster for its theatrical (okay, in the basement of River) performance as part of a series of one-act plays, Onion Days and Starry Nights in the Zero-Sum Republic:

Republic Dogs


Katamari Damacy text adventure!

Filed under: — adam @ 10:44 am


> N

There is a PAPER CLIP here.


I do not know what a CLIP is.


You roll up the PAPER CLIP.

You are standing on the floor of a bedroom.


Your Katamari is 10.2cm.

And so forth.


Tracking stock spam results

Filed under: — adam @ 12:35 pm

A project to determine just how much money you’d lose if you bought every penny stock you got spam about.


Quicktime VR view from inside a water bottle

Filed under: — adam @ 10:10 pm

That’s pretty funny.


Sharks with frickin laser beams

Filed under: — adam @ 2:43 pm

“Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico.”



This is stupid.

Filed under: — adam @ 10:40 am

Kottke has a post about how to make microwave popcorn without a microwave. Letting aside the possibility that this is just a sick joke of some kind, it’s wrong for a number of reasons.

  1. Microwave popcorn is, itself, the hack.
  2. Microwave popcorn is a sticky glumpy mess because it’s full of all kinds of things you shouldn’t eat. Also, it’s far more expensive than just buying even really high quality popcorn, which it isn’t.
  3. This AskMe thread has some great suggestions for how to make stovetop popcorn, including how to make regular popcorn in a microwave without buying “microwave popcorn”.


NY Eye and Ear Infirmary

Filed under: — adam @ 1:24 pm

NY Eye and Ear Infirmary


Release your inner (outer) hipster asshole

Filed under: — adam @ 4:58 pm

On a mailing list I’m on, someone pointed out the ipodmyphoto site, which I won’t link to out of common decency. Someone else followed up with ‘I want an ipodded shirt that says “hipster asshole”. Orange and Black please. ;) ’.

I just couldn’t resist, and you shouldn’t either.


Intelligent Falling

Filed under: — adam @ 11:48 am

The Onion weighs in:

“Things fall not because they are acted upon by some gravitational force, but because a higher intelligence, ‘God’ if you will, is pushing them down,” said Gabriel Burdett, who holds degrees in education, applied Scripture, and physics from Oral Roberts University.


Scientists named Steve for evolution

Filed under: — adam @ 9:17 am

Project Steve is a collection of scientists named Steve who support evolution, to demonstrate the stupitidy of compiling lists of scientists who don’t. 580 so far!


Assless Panties

Filed under: — adam @ 2:47 pm

Cam and Damien are auditioning for reality shows and blogging it

Filed under: — adam @ 1:20 pm

Cam Barrett (one of the first bloggers) and his twin brother Damien are auditioning for The Amazing Race, some kind of reality show on that other medium. To boost their chances, they’re blogging the whole thing.


Sometimes I think Spamusement is written by me in my sleep

Filed under: — adam @ 9:48 am


Family Guy “Take on Me” spoof

Filed under: — adam @ 2:25 pm


The things people do to their pets

Filed under: — adam @ 3:04 pm

They missed a huge naming opportunity here – it should have been called Cat-amari Damacy.


Flying Spaghetti Monster created the Earth

“Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him.”


One-page PDF for sale for $1500 on Amazon

Filed under: — adam @ 7:54 pm

This PDF entitled “Sony to Include Blu-ray in PS3: HD-DVD Green with Envy” is $1500 on Amazon. It’s one page.


I’m not sure if the one page is the pictured cover page, or there’s another page after that.



Filed under: — adam @ 12:19 pm


No, this doesn’t seem like a good idea at all.

The Dark Side is the Best Sauce

Filed under: — adam @ 8:09 am

Funny little livejournal blog with cartoons mocking the Prequels. How can you go wrong?

This one’s my favorite so far:


Google will eat itself

Filed under: — adam @ 11:58 am


“We generate money by serving Google text advertisments on our website With this money we automatically buy Google shares via our Swiss e-banking account. We buy Google via their own advertisment! Google eats itself – but in the end we will own it!”


Dalek kidnapped, disarmed

Filed under: — adam @ 6:25 pm

Awaiting further instructions from the Doctor.


Maybe I’m just feeling a little childish today

Filed under: — adam @ 1:57 pm

There’s something deeply wrong with this product image.

Memory foam


Spamusement made me laugh AGAIN today

Filed under: — adam @ 10:01 am

That’s just too funny.


This homemade Prozac needs more ice cream

Filed under: — adam @ 12:22 pm

“Two Star Wars fans are in a critical condition in hospital after duelling with lightsabres made by filling fluorescent light tubes with petrol.”



Filed under: — adam @ 10:27 am

Underwear that moisturizes your skin while you wear it.


That cat looks like it’s wearing pajamas.

Filed under: — adam @ 3:06 pm

Oh no.


Spamusement tweaks my early adolescence wasted on chasing that devious bitch

Filed under: — adam @ 12:05 am


Rent a Dildo


(Given their rental model, I’d have gone with something like “NetPrix” instead of the name they chose.)


Honesty in fashion

Filed under: — adam @ 11:50 am

Josh Rubin found knockoff bags clearly labeled “FAKE” over the counterfeit designer pattern. I like it.


I don’t know how I missed this

Filed under: — adam @ 2:49 pm

Coming soon: The Grates

Filed under: — adam @ 2:26 pm


Buying John Malkovich

Filed under: — adam @ 12:27 pm

John Malkovich sells very stylish clothing on his website.



Entire Fiona album is now available for download

Filed under: — adam @ 12:06 pm

Apparently, the entirety of Extraordinary Machine is now available for download.

‘BigChampagne, which monitors songs available on file-sharing services, found that at any one time about 38,000 users in the United States are downloading songs from Extraordinary Machine. The most popular track is “Please Please Please,” with more than 20,000 simultaneous downloads, according to the company.’,1412,66926,00.html

Just what the hell is going on here?


Surprise inspection by Lord Vader

Filed under: — adam @ 10:21 pm

A bunch of guys are really into playing Storm Troopers in Star Wars Galaxies. The gamemasters decided to reward them for this, and sent them a virtual Darth Vader to give them a surprise inspection and pep talk. Of course, it couldn’t have been the real Vader, since no one got strangled to death…

Via boingboing:

Lego Batman!

Filed under: — adam @ 4:18 pm

CGI-animated lego batman starring Adam West, Mark Hamill, Courtney Thorne-Smith, and Dick Van Dyke.



Double Happiness

Ancient Chinese bronze dildos.

Miskatonic Acid Test

Filed under: — adam @ 11:14 am

Miskatonic Acid Test is an independent horror movie being made about a group of students in Arkham, MA in 1969 who try to recreate the swinging west coast acid scene, but instead fall prey to the unknowable evils of the nameless one as their professor tries to turn their experiment to his own twisted ends by dropping the radio in the tub just as White Rabbit is peaking, er… reading summoning incantations from the Necronomicon.


I think there’s a cultural divide here

Filed under: — adam @ 10:46 pm

Al Qaeda had plans to kidnap Russell Crowe as part of a “cultural destabilization plan”.,10117,12475653-26618,00.html

47 surfers ride 40-foot board

Filed under: — adam @ 12:24 am



Chicken Vac

Filed under: — adam @ 6:40 pm

The E-Z Catch is an industrial chicken moving machine.

Via boingboing:

“The video clip is a must see.”



The lyrics to Yellow Ledbetter

Filed under: — adam @ 6:00 pm

This is pretty funny, but maybe only if you’re a Pearljam fan:


Don’t walk, Rock!

Filed under: — adam @ 11:39 pm

New York Metro piece on “Thundercut”, the Brooklyn couple who deface the Walk/Don’t Walk signs downtown.

I’ve photographed their handiwork (without knowing who they were) before.

You can order a real pizza in Everquest II

“Real” meaning “physical”, of course. It is, after all, Pizza Hut.



Filed under: — adam @ 11:33 pm

Bugs Bunny to be reincarnated as a solarized time traveling martial arts expert who shoots laser beams from his eyes.

“What we’re doing is taking Bugs Bunny, a classic and changing him for the kids – making him fresh, cool and hip.”

But does he speak “leet”?!

Was this information useful, l33t h4×0r?

Filed under: — adam @ 11:32 pm

Microsoft instructional page on how to speak “leet”.


Rice to Riches owner busted for huge gambling ring

Filed under: — adam @ 10:53 pm

Awesome. I love Rice to Riches! Manmade Mascarpone, baby!–gamblingarrests0203feb03,0,467055.story


This captures my take on nofollow exactly

Filed under: — adam @ 10:21 am


Mini keychain plants

Filed under: — adam @ 1:42 pm

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


Six degrees of Snapper Carr

Filed under: — adam @ 5:00 pm

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


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.”


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.


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

Filed under: — adam @ 4:48 pm

Via Calista:


New York City Walk

Filed under: — adam @ 12:38 pm

A Columbia librarian walked every street in Manhattan between May 2002 and December 2004.

His website, with lots of pictures, is here:


The vice guide to everything

Filed under: — adam @ 11:35 am


She’s a flight risk

Filed under: — adam @ 11:22 am

“On March 2, 2003 at 4:12 pm, I disappeared.
My name is isabella v.
I’m twentysomething and I am an international fugitive.
My name is isabella v. But it isn’t.”

As jwz says: “Short version: heiress runs to escape arranged marriage; launders money, flees private security forces, hangs out with smugglers, blogs.”


Not the brightest marketing move

Filed under: — adam @ 10:19 pm

“Whole Foods Markets is reconsidering whether to continue selling a line of microwaveable stuffed animals that an educator said could lead children to believe there is nothing wrong with putting their pets in household appliances.”

How did this get past the focus groups?!?


Oh, it looks like just so much goodness

Filed under: — adam @ 2:39 pm

“I understand that in the movie, Zaphod’s second head is inside his nostril. And this all ties in with the increased prominence of the Church Of Arkleseizure in the movie (a race with fifty noses, and the first to develop the aerosol deodorant before the wheel) and their leader John Malkovich, who also has a second head, and Zaphod’s unwillingness to sneeze.” Update: I’m informed that this isn’t true. It still looks good!


Namco noodle park

Filed under: — adam @ 3:55 pm


If you like to throw your laundry on the floor…

Filed under: — adam @ 9:39 pm

" After wearing, clothes are chucked on the stylish Laundry Rug, where they will stay until wash-day comes around. At this point chords around the edge of the rug are pulled together to form a handy carry bag for transporting the lot to the washing machine. It’s a bedroom must have for lazy people everywhere!"


Apparently, boiling a lava lamp is not a good idea

Filed under: — adam @ 4:36 pm

Ummm… duh.

Anime mousepads (with ergonomic breasts!)

"This quality mousepad features a uh, CLEVER ergonomic wrist rest on a pair of gel boobs."

That’s just too funny.

Personalized happy ending Romeo and Juliet

Filed under: — adam @ 10:34 am

Via chrisd, who says "Please, please, make them stop this":


Man shoots cell phone into prison with a bow

Filed under: — adam @ 1:10 pm

"Authorities in Sweden arrested a man who shot mobile phones into the yard of a high-security prison with a bow and arrows, police said Saturday."



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.


Full back HTML tattoo

Filed under: — adam @ 10:59 am

Via Boingboing:


4000 people mysteriously move from Allegany to the Bronx

Filed under: — adam @ 1:57 pm



Ghost captured on film

Filed under: — adam @ 1:03 pm

"This is is a car advertisement from Germany . When they finished
filming the ad, the people who made it, noticed something moving along
the side of the car, like a ghostly white mist."


Tanks get caught in the middle of antiwar protest in LA

Filed under: — adam @ 11:50 pm


Warplane accidentally strafes NJ school

Filed under: — adam @ 10:03 am


A bright shining light of sanity

Filed under: — adam @ 4:35 pm

"Blendie is an interactive, sensitive, intelligent, voice controlled blender with a mind of its own. Materials are a 1950’s Osterizer blender altered with custom made hardware and software for sound analysis and motor control. People induce the blender to spin by sounding the sounds of its motor in action."

You have to watch the video.

(Via Popgadget.)


Former supermodel paints with cremains

Filed under: — adam @ 12:01 pm


Giant sunfish

Filed under: — adam @ 6:06 pm


Via Anne:,2106,3070756a10,00.html

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