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


Naked Needlepoint

Filed under: — adam @ 7:36 pm

Bee population being wiped out by vampire mites

Filed under: — adam @ 7:28 pm

Something foul in wordpress land

Filed under: — adam @ 9:57 am

The creator of Wordpress is apparently using the pagerank gained from every wordpress site linking to to game adwords by having thousands of unrelated articles cloaked on the site:

I can’t blame the guy for trying to make some money off of his wildly successful software, but this is the sort of thing that really ought to be disclosed to the community of people putting in their work for free.

Also, it raises the question (and I have no reason to believe that it’s the case) – “if the leader of this project thinks it’s a good idea to host a link farm, what other surprises may be lurking in the code?” It’s a GPL project, so of course, you can check the source code. But it’s a blow to think that you have to check for something that was widely considered a community-based project.


First perfect darts game caught on film

Filed under: — adam @ 8:31 pm

A small part of the Upper West Side has died

Filed under: — adam @ 6:38 pm


Williams Chicken, the kosher catering company with the best fried chicken I’ve ever had, a staple of my Upper West Side childhood, seems to be closed. A moment of schmaltz for these fine purveyors of golden poultry goodness paired with half sours and barley.

Williams Chicken is Closed!


Incredibly detailed account of fighting the man

Dude registers a domain to put up a fan site for a local mall, of all things. The lawyers attack, and he defends. Successfully. Bravo.

Very micro linux on an ethernet jack

Filed under: — adam @ 9:55 pm

Improv dancing in the new Whole Foods building

Filed under: — adam @ 9:53 pm

A crew of improv artists staged a dance-in in the windows of the Union Square Whole Foods building.

Musicmatch and Yahoo and broken things

Filed under: — adam @ 3:55 pm

I’ve been a Musicmatch user for many many years. They’ve always used Marimba to automatically download updates. But, unfortunately, version 10 is horribly broken, and it shit all over my music folder. There’s really no other way to put it.

The first time I ran the watchfolder update under the new version, it decided it knew where my files should go, rearranging the entire directory hierarchy, copying files around (to new directories organized by artist instead of album), and filling up the last 20GB of the disk. I lost a bunch of music in the chaos (not irretreivable, but this is a major pain in the ass to fix), and I never want to touch the thing with a 10 foot pole again. Stupid – this is why I hate iTunes!

I also recently discovered that Yahoo has purchased Musicmatch. I’d love to give Yahoo the benefit of the doubt for not destroying things they buy (read: flickr), but this is not the rosiest of starts.



Beautiful Mehndi gallery

Filed under: — adam @ 2:29 pm

Looks like has a contender

Filed under: — adam @ 11:49 am


T-rex excavated with soft tissue intact

Filed under: — adam @ 4:41 pm


Evidence that cells may be able to restore from ancestral genetic backups

Filed under: — adam @ 11:55 am


A study was was published this week in Nature that “suggests that plants, and perhaps other organisms including humans, might possess a back-up mechanism that can bypass unhealthy sequences from their parents and revert to the healthier genetic code possessed by their grandparents or great-grandparents.”


ourmedia seems ready now

I’ve been working on performance optimization for for the past day and a half or so (for those not in the know – performance optimization is part of what I do). I’d submitted some photos and done a very small amount of template development a few weeks ago, but wasn’t involved in the launch, which, as you’ve probably heard, didn’t go so well.

The site wasn’t able to stay up past about 300 or so concurrent users, let alone the 10,000 that slashdot brought. I did some emergency MySQL tuning on the current server to alleviate the load somewhat, but it was clear that the first priority needed to be migrating to a bigger dedicated server. This evening, we completed that move, and the site was brought back up.

There’s still a bunch of tuning that needs to be done in short order, but it should hopefully be fairly stable from here on in.

I think this is huge, and I’m glad to have been a part of it so far. Congratulations to JD and Marc on their launch.

Godaddy silence

Filed under: — adam @ 2:53 pm

So, I’m on hold for Godaddy support, and I hear the wonderful words of freedom:

“To hold without music, press # now.”




So, what does this mean for bloglines?

Filed under: — adam @ 9:14 pm

Ask Jeeves bought bloglines. Now IAC has bought Ask Jeeves.

Where does this leave bloglines?

Ourmedia launches!

Filed under: — adam @ 10:43 am

It’s a good day for online media.

Ourmedia, a free, open repository for grassroots media, had a public soft launch today. This will be a fantastic resource. They’re providing free media hosting for Creative Commons licensed media, through the Internet Archive, in an attempt to aid the cause of preserving a shared internet culture. This is a goal I wholeheartedly support.

I contributed a verrrry small amount of coding to the site, and a number of photographs.

The site does seem to be having some performance issues on launch, but those should be ironed out soon.

Yahoo acquires Flickr

Filed under: — adam @ 12:29 am


New Hitchhiker’s Guide site is up

Filed under: — adam @ 11:50 am

With a new, very funny trailer (#3).

Everything I’ve seen so far about this makes me smile.

I get the general sense that one of the things they have coming is a Marvin replacement for the MS Word assistant paperclip. Now that, I’d actually use.


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?

George Lucas to remaster Star Wars films in 3d

Filed under: — adam @ 11:56 am


New version of Windows will include some nice screen reading fonts

Filed under: — adam @ 11:50 am


Bike Tree is secure city bike storage

Filed under: — adam @ 1:09 pm

That’s very cool. It locks up your bike and suspends it high above the ground, away from thieves and rain.

Of course, in NYC, that would probably just mean there would be a rash of clear-cutting…

13 things in science that make no sense

Filed under: — adam @ 12:29 pm

Tivo lives!

Filed under: — adam @ 10:39 am

Apparently, Tivo has signed a HUGE partnership deal with Comcast, stopping the Tivo Death Clock. The initial term of the deal is seven years. This is great, and I hope they sign a similar deal with the other cable companies. The idea of anyone out there using a Scientific Atlanta DVR and thinking “this is what it’s all about?” gives me the shivers. Congratulations to Tivo!

“On March 15, 2005, we entered into a non-exclusive licensing and marketing agreement with Comcast STB Software DVR, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Comcast Corporation, and Comcast Corporation, as guarantor of Comcast STBís obligations under the agreement. Pursuant to our agreement, we have agreed to develop a TiVo-branded software solution for deployment on Comcastís DVR platforms, which would enable any TiVo-specific DVR and networking features requested by Comcast, such as WishList^ô searches, Season Pass^ô recordings, home media features, and TiVoToGo^ô transfers. In addition, we have agreed to develop an advertising management system for deployment on Comcast platforms to enable the provision of local and national advertising to Comcast subscribers.”

The life of the converged device

Filed under: — adam @ 10:34 am

Chris Justus writes:

“Hundreds of companies – big and small – are all racing to replace your cellphone / MP3 player / digital camera / video camera / PDA / PC / gaming platform / etc with a single device. I’ve been waiting years for this device to emerge, and it finally occured to me that it is not ever going to happen. When did this epiphany occur? I was reading Wired magazine a month or two ago and somewhere in there, they recommended that small and/or home based businesses should go get combo fax/scanner/printers.”

He goes on to explain why converged devices inevitably fail to be really good at any of the converged functions, particularly multifunction printers.

I have to disagree. I recently bought a multi-function printer (Brother), largely because it seemed to be the cheapest way to get a sheetfed scanner for filing contracts and sending faxes (which I do on the computer anyway, not directly, as I have no land line). It’s no substitute for a good laser printer, but the ink jet performance is pretty impressive. Granted, I don’t ask much from it, but it works perfectly well.

However, that’s not really my point. Getting convergence to work well is probably one of two things:

  1. A shoehorn problem to stick together two things that don’t belong together (because they have different ideal form factors or different usage patterns or different failure rates)
  2. A design problem to work out the issues and present the proper functionality to the user

I think the TV/VCR combo fits into the former. People look at these units and say “what happens when the VCR breaks?”. The shoehorn is really an insoluble issue – these devices don’t belong in one box together. I’d much rather the entertainment industry focus on standardizing the AV connections to make components easier to connect.

The latter problem is a more interesting one. There are devices that go together, but there are “minor” issues to resolve. The multifunction printer/fax/scanner is actually, I think, a great example of three devices that should go together. A fax machine is just a scanner with a sheet feeder and a printer – so why not be able to use any of the functions independently, and make them better than you’d expect out of a normal fax machine? I think this is just a matter of getting the components cheap enough so that when you buy all three, it’s still cost-effective (and we’re just about there, now that the still-usable-but-still-pretty-crappy bottom of the ink jet and single-page scanner markets are around $30-$40). Complaining that the multifunction fax machine doesn’t give you adequate feedback about the fax is a design issue, not a convergence failure.

I’m reasonably happy with my Kyocera Palm/Phone. Granted, there are some design issues, but a palm and a phone should go together. I want to have my calendar and contacts with me all the time, and the fewer devices I have to carry, the better. With a decent set of headphones, there’s no reason why this can’t be an MP3 player, too (although I have a standalone one from wayyyy back which I’ve never felt the need to replace). I’ve never been terribly interested in portable video, so TV on my phone seems like a bit much, but I think a standard KVM connector for portable devices would be really handy – so you can use the same machine through whatever kind of interface you have handy, but it all lives on the device you can take with you.

Maybe it won’t be the next big thing, but there’s value is getting our devices to not just do as many things as possible, but also to do them all well. For many applications, I see no reason it can’t be possible.


Apparently, today is the 80th anniversary of nudity on film

Filed under: — adam @ 12:46 am

Hooray for nudity on film!


Clothing vs. Naked

Filed under: — adam @ 11:39 pm

I find clothing/naked side by side photographs very interesting, boobies aside.

(Update: apparently, there are a lot more of them here:

You’ll burn in the fires of Mount Doom for this

Filed under: — adam @ 11:22 pm

It’s pretty near the top of the list of things we didn’t need – the Lord of the Rings musical.

DHTML drag and drop image library

Filed under: — adam @ 10:38 pm

That’s totally cool.

It’s a javascript library that lets you make images and blocks on the page draggable and resizeable. And it’s cross-platform/cross-browser.

Butler turns the tables on Google Autolink

Filed under: — adam @ 3:16 pm

Butler is a user script for Greasemonkey, that autolinks Google results to competing services. I’m curious to see how they like it, given that they think it’s okay to do to others.

ICANN blames MelbourneIT for panix domain hijack

Filed under: — adam @ 10:43 am

“ICANN considers this to have been one of the more serious breaches of its policies by an accredited registrar. We are also very concerned by Melbourne IT’s explanation that the incident happened because Melbourne IT had purportedly ‘delegated’ to a reseller the critical responsibility for obtaining the consent of the registrant prior to submitting a transfer request to the registry [...] While we appreciate Melbourne IT’s report that it has withdrawn the offending resellerís ability to independently initiate transfers, Melbourne IT has indicated that it intends to continue to operate under agreements with other resellers that provide that Melbourne IT will not directly and independently verify the intent of registrants prior to initiating transfer requests.”


Very high production values, very low acting ability – it’s a Star Wars Fan Film

Filed under: — adam @ 11:07 pm

Why, oh why, are every single one of these fan films populated by people with the same stilted “Skinemax” delivery style? I mean – it looks GORGEOUS – great ships, great sets, great costumes. great effects, but… no Alderaan.

Oh wait, it’s just like a real Star Wars movie.

Bonus points: which planet in the Star Wars universe gave rise to the Long Island accent?

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.


Buy Adam launch – product reviews

Filed under: — adam @ 2:33 pm

I’ve launched a new blog dedicated to product reviews of things I use. Check it out!

From my about page:

“I am an expert consumer.

Iím that guy that all of my friends go to for advice before they buy things. Iím picky. I wonít keep something unless Iím satisfied with it. I routinely buy things, find I donít like them for some reason or another, and return them. But, even through all that, there are a lot of things I do like, and I see no reason to keep that to myself.”

Paper thin metal furniture

Filed under: — adam @ 2:23 pm

Very cool. Flat, yet not flat. Laser cut sheets of metal folded into furniture:

Astronaut’s dirty laundry

Filed under: — adam @ 2:21 pm

In space, no one can hear you clean.

Interesting story about what astronauts do with their laundry:

How to get Firefox to check cache misses on each page request

Filed under: — adam @ 1:30 pm

It’s been bugging me for a while that Firefox doesn’t let you easily adjust the cache request frequency by default (i.e.: it doesn’t check for new content on every request, which sometimes makes using and debugging web apps difficult).

Here’s a good page on how to fix it:

Listed at Master Blogs

Filed under: — adam @ 12:53 pm

I’ve been listed at Master Blogs.

This seems like a good collection of blogs, judging by the ones listed that I know. I’ll have to check the others out.


Spout Ladles

Filed under: — adam @ 11:52 am

I posted a review of spout ladles for Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools list. (The review hasn’t been posted to the site yet, just the email list.)

Basting Spoon (Spout Ladle)
Spout Ladle Side View

To be honest, I don’t remember at which store I got mine – I picked it up years ago. Sorry about that.

There are a large number of restaurant supply stores in Chinatown (NYC). I’d try one of those. Here’s a big long list of some of them:


Naked in Barcelona

Filed under: — adam @ 5:29 pm

I’m told this is a series of pictures of people who walk around naked all over Barcelona.

In-game photoblogging in Second Life

Filed under: — adam @ 11:29 am

Second Life has added in-game photoblogging, so you can snapshot what you’re seeing and post it. I’m torn on whether this qualifies as “moblogging” or not.

I had this idea a few months ago watching Anne play World of Warcraft, and I’m really glad someone’s done it. I think it’s really cool.

Video Store inventor George Atkinson dies

Filed under: — adam @ 11:21 am

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.

Search and Replace with a perl one-liner and find

Filed under: — adam @ 11:08 am

If you’re on a linux/unix or Windows machine with perl, you can do search and replace in multiple files with a perl one-liner:

perl -p -i.bak -e 's|oldtext|newtext|g;'

If you want to do multiple substitutions, you can add more -e arguments. The example above also makes a backup copy of each file with a .bak extension. Just use -i if you don’t want that.

If you want to do multiple recursive directories, and you have find, you can do this:

find /path/to/top/dir -type f \( -name "*.htm" -o -name "*.html" \) -print0 | xargs -0 perl -p -i.bak -e

Again, if you want more matches, you can add more -o -name arugments (-o is the find syntax for “or”).


BitTorrent goes 4.0

Filed under: — adam @ 4:54 pm

ChoicePoint exploit is probably far worse than anyone knows

Filed under: — adam @ 12:33 pm

Bruce Schneier points out that the ChoicePoint exploit is probably far worse than anyone knows:

“Catch that? ChoicePoint actually has no idea if only 145,000 customers were affected by its recent security debacle. But it’s not doing any work to determine if more than 145,000 customers were affected — or if any customers before July 1, 2003 were affected — because there’s no law compelling it to do so.”


Google nailed for using sleazy SEO tactics

Filed under: — adam @ 9:42 pm

Does Google really need to stuff keywords to increase their own rankings?

And the dominoes begin to tumble

Filed under: — adam @ 9:40 pm

LexisNexis loses data on 30,000 customers to data thieves. We apologize for the unfortunate… well, you know how it goes.

Even worse, it was pointed out to me that LexisNexis does not allow you to opt out of their data collection under most circumstances, and only at their discretion with proof of an exploit:

I wonder if the LexisNexis exploit counts.

“10 Things I Have Learned”

Filed under: — adam @ 9:31 pm

Interesting read. Basically, be true to thine own self, be honest with others, and some people just suck.


Social Networking is the new email

Filed under: — adam @ 2:37 pm

Just as every program will attempt to expand until it can read mail, all web apps will expand until they become social networking hubs:


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

Prion-inactivating detergent

Filed under: — adam @ 10:01 pm

For cleaning surgical instruments potentially contaminated with vCJD and other prions.

CF card for Apple II

Filed under: — adam @ 8:05 pm


Are people just stupid?

Filed under: — adam @ 8:01 pm

Would someone please explain to me why the very public exploitation of T-mobile’s notably bad security has resulted in an increase in sales of the Sidekick II?

Do people go shopping for a cell phone and think “Hmmm… today, I’d like to be like that Paris Hilton. Maybe my data will end up on the internet and people will gather round and just throw piles of money at my head and I’ll get to have sex.” ???

They keep your data, they take poor care of it, and THEY’RE SELLING LIKE HOTCAKES.

I don’t get it. I’m completely at a loss. What’s the motivation here?

Star Trek rant

Filed under: — adam @ 5:24 pm

This guy is pissed off because of the “surprise” ending planned for Enterprise. He’s right that Rick Berman and Brannon Braga are the reason that Star Trek sucks. But personally, I don’t think Enterprise ever even had a chance to be good, and getting mad at them because they ruined a failed endeavor with a stupid predictable twist is misplaced anger. Be mad at them because they made it in the first place.

Spoilers, if you care about Enterprise:

My optimization services

Filed under: — adam @ 3:57 pm

I launched the first of my optimization kickstart consulting packages. This one focuses on MySQL. If you use MySQL, and you’re having performance issues, need a tuneup, or just aren’t getting the performance you need, I can help you.

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:

The New Nude

Filed under: — adam @ 2:59 pm

Petter Hegre, nude photographer extraordinaire, has started a new magazine.

Why I don’t like Google Autolink

Filed under: — adam @ 11:33 am

Kottke thinks that the Google toolbar is a good idea. Here’s why I disagree.

I have a strong visceral reaction to this because it disturbs the decentralized nature of the web. It’s the same reason people got upset about DoubleClick tracking visits from one site to another through a shared cookie. It’s because a lot of what makes the web the web is that there are disparate competing resources from LOTS of different sources, and Autolink gives that the finger.

For me, the issue isn’t about modifying layout or even content, it’s about Google standing between the user and every other site and saying “you go here now”. Some things are bad just by being ubiquitous. In a sea of Amazon and Google Maps links, everything else will start to look out of place.

As for reasonable intelligent adults being able to make their own decisions, as I’ve said before, I think that technology has gotten to be too pervasive for the non-technical to have enough information and perspective to make these decisions, and the informed experts need to take a stand against what we perceive to be detrimental trends being enforced without full and knowledgeable consent.

Jason thinks this isn’t like DRM, but it is – it’s about centralized control. Don’t think for a second that this “puts the power in the hands of the user”.


Visual baby name navigator thingy

Filed under: — adam @ 1:01 pm

Via my friend Mark:

Wists is a new visual bookmark engine

Filed under: — adam @ 1:00 pm

Still is beta, and there are some bugs and performance issues.

It’s a visual alternative to that lets you mark the bookmark with a thumbnail of one of the images on the page, or a screen snapshot if there are no images.

Pretty nifty.

Superhero motivational posters

Filed under: — adam @ 12:59 pm



This is the best photography advice I’ve ever read

Filed under: — adam @ 5:46 pm

” Most amateurs are so bad at editing that they don’t have to look any further for the reason why their photography is not as good as it could be.”

And then a long post with some suggestions on how to fix that.

Comprehensive guide to configuring mailers for plain text

Filed under: — adam @ 9:50 am

“HTML is meant for the WWW; not for mailing lists, Usenet newsgroups postings, proper business E-mail correspondence and preferably not for personal E-mail unless the recipient is expecting it.”

I wholeheartedly agree.

New Fiona songs!

Filed under: — adam @ 8:58 am

Haven’t listened yet, but here you go:

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