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


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.”

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).


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