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


New $10 or something

Filed under: — adam @ 10:31 am

Can we please stop calling it “The New Currency” everytime we release a new kind of money? I’m getting confused about whether this is the new $10, the last new $10, or the one before that. They need version numbers or years or funny names like Hurricanes have.

Bonus points for scoring “” though!


Temperature-sensitive wall paint

Filed under: — adam @ 4:34 pm

That’s cool. It’s wall paint that changes color with temperature fluctuations.

Treo 700w

Filed under: — adam @ 4:33 pm

Can someone tell me what’s compelling in any way about a Treo running Windows CE (or whatever they’re calling it these days), especially one with only a 240×240 screen? Sure, it’s got EVDO and 64MB RAM, but you probably need that extra to run Windows, and besides, those are hardware enhancements.

Apparently, the Office integration was rewritten by Palm and it isn’t using the built-in windows mobile implementation (and one would assume they could just as easily have done so for PalmOS or Cobalt or whatever), so… what’s the upside here?

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.”


Amazingly comprehensive Canon SLR FAQ

Filed under: — adam @ 8:58 am

Wow, there’s all sorts of good info in this amazingly comprehensive Canon SLR FAQ. Mostly it covers film cameras, but almost all of that is applicable to dSLRs too.

Subservient Stewie

Filed under: — adam @ 8:49 am

Family Guy riffs on the subservient chicken.


Please stop telling people to “google it” in public forum posts

Filed under: — adam @ 12:09 pm

I’ve noticed that with increasing frequency, I’ll search for something on one of the search engines and be directed to some forum post where the answer is “google for the answer”.

How do you think I found you in the first place?!?!

If it’s possible that your page will turn up in the search results for the thing you’re discussing, please include the answer (or at least, a specific URL where the answer can be found).


What should I read next?

Filed under: — adam @ 9:50 am

Enter a book you liked, and it’ll make suggestions.

Quicktime sans warts

Filed under: — adam @ 8:40 am

Standalone quicktime installer without iTunes:


Pocketmod is a pretty cool paper template generator

Filed under: — adam @ 11:08 am

I don’t know if it’s really a PDA replacement, as they claim, or that PDAs have failed, as they also claim (my Treo takes that pretty personally). But this does seem like a useful little thing anyway, for shopping lists or whatnot. I like their paper folding method.


Nintendo announces new Revolution Controller

Filed under: — adam @ 10:47 pm

It looks pretty interesting. It’s a one-handed, modular, expandable (to two hands in various configurations), wireless, motion sensing, rotatable kind of stick thing.

That’s good. I like console games, but I really hate the standard console controller, and have pretty much since I ever picked it up. I’ve gotten used to it, but I still find it very clunky and unnatural for many kinds of games. My gut says this is a good move.


Robert Barada Nikto

Filed under: — adam @ 7:12 pm

Robert Wise died yesterday.

Forget the moment of silence, give me a few minutes of the opening theme against a flickering starfield.

SMS Spam

Filed under: — adam @ 7:10 pm

I just got my first piece of SMS spam (verizon wireless). Anyone know who I should be reporting this to? The VZW customer support people don’t seem to know.


Planned Parenthood turns picketers into profits

Filed under: — adam @ 2:13 pm


Here’s how it works: You decide on the amount you would like to pledge for each
protester (minimum 10 cents). When protesters show up on our sidewalks, Planned
Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania will count and record their number each day from October 1 through November 30, 2005. We will place a signoutside the health center that tracks pledges and makes protesters fully aware that their actions are benefiting PPSP. At the end of the two-month campaign, we will send you an update on protest activities and a pledge reminder.

If you pledge 30 cents per protester, and PPSP has 100 protesters in October and 160
protesters in November, your donation would be 78 dollars for the entire two-month campaign.


More on oil shale extraction

Filed under: — adam @ 8:35 am

Obviously, this won’t be an alternative to oil field extraction, and I believe we should move to alternative energy sources as quickly as possible. But infrastructure shifts like that take time, and this may provide a needed buffer to ease the transition.

Some counter comments on the original article are here:


In Situ Conversion is oil extraction from rock

Filed under: — adam @ 10:41 pm

Um. Holy shit.

Shell has come up with a way to extract oil from oil-bearing rock instead of oil fields.

Drill shafts into the oil-bearing rock. Drop heaters down the shaft. Cook the rock until the hydrocarbons boil off, the lightest and most desirable first. Collect them.

Please note, you don’t have to go looking for oil fields when you’re brewing your own.

On one small test plot about 20 feet by 35 feet, on land Shell owns, they started heating the rock in early 2004. “Product” – about one-third natural gas, two-thirds light crude – began to appear in September 2004. They turned the heaters off about a month ago, after harvesting about 1,500 barrels of oil.

While we were trying to do the math, O’Connor told us the answers. Upwards of a million barrels an acre, a billion barrels a square mile. And the oil shale formation in the Green River Basin, most of which is in Colorado, covers more than a thousand square miles – the largest fossil fuel deposits in the world.

And it gets much better than that. Go read the whole article.,1299,DRMN_86_4051709,00.html


Flying Spaghetti Monster: The Game

THANK YOU ADOBE – favorites in the open document window

Filed under: — adam @ 10:05 am

My most frequent complaint about the Windows interface, all flavors of it, is that the open file dialog has this little row of quick access icons, and they’re not programmable. My folder arrangement doesn’t match the default, so this makes me work just a little bit more than I should have to nearly every time I open a new file. I recently switched to using the Adobe open file dialog for CS2, and was stunned to find that it shares the defined favorite folder settings with Bridge.


Thank you!

(Activate this by pressing the “Use Adobe Dialog” button in the file open dialog – you can switch back anytime you like.)


Bounce Fresh Ideas messageboard capture

Filed under: — adam @ 3:31 pm

Bounce Fresh Ideas messageboard capture

Originally uploaded by Caviar.

On the Ipod Phone

Filed under: — adam @ 1:39 pm

I’m thoroughly underwhelmed by the ipod phone.

It might be useful if it would let you stream your itms songs to the phone without having to have downloaded them first, or even better, stream your whole collection to the phone.

As it is, it’s yet another example of “convergence” devices that are really two different things pressed together and not integrated.

The ipod nano looks cute though.

You never know what could happen.

Filed under: — adam @ 11:38 am

You never know what could happen.

Originally uploaded by Caviar.

My first save of the Deleteme Uncensored group

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”.

Schneier on lists for emergency tech

Filed under: — adam @ 8:23 am

Bruce Schneier has a link to the digital-er list, for discussion of technical solutions to emergency response and crisis situations. There are some other resources in the comments as well.

Having grown a spine a few months ago, the media’s balls begin to drop

Filed under: — adam @ 7:48 am

Keith Olbermann decides that Michael Chertoff’s mistaking Louisiana for a city is just one step too far.

You must watch this.

Transcript here:


Sploid on the Katrina response

Filed under: — adam @ 6:10 pm

Sploid has written a blistering critique of the federal government’s response to Katrina.

I still haven’t seen anyone come out and say “If you voted for Bush or you didn’t vote in the last presidential election, you virtually begged for this response, and we told you so.”. This, the complete and total failure to respond to an expected national disaster in a way that even approaches sanity, isn’t the fault of the administration – we knew they sucked. This is the fault of every single red dot on that election map, for letting them still be in charge (for whatever that’s worth) when another problem finally rolled around.

A rising tide lifts all boats, my ass. A rising tide strands and drowns those who can’t afford boats in the first place.

LAB color correction

Filed under: — adam @ 5:29 pm

This book has, quite frankly, revolutionized everything I know about dealing with color in Photoshop. If you do any kind of photo editing, you need it.

I don’t think it’s a substitute for understanding color and contrast correction in RGB or CMYK, but if you already do, it provides an alternate way of looking at things that yields MUCH better results very quickly, and in some cases does some things that single-color channel correction can’t really do.

If you don’t already have a solid understanding of how color channels work in RGB or CMYK, you’re likely to be confused by what’s being explained in this book. Learn that first, then come back to this.


It’s not enough to say you’re sorry

Filed under: — adam @ 12:52 pm

Bush tours gulf coast, says “the results are not acceptable”. I feel bad for the guy. I mean, he’s only one man, right?

If only there was something he could do to help out.

If only he could have gotten some advance warning.

If only there was some sort of trained, well-equipped organization that could begin to handle this sort of emergency.


Blogging from a datacenter in New Orleans

Filed under: — adam @ 4:48 pm

I heard mention of this yesterday, but didn’t see a link.

Here’s a link. He’s in an office building on the 27th floor, in the datacenter with generators and food and stuff. There’s also a live video feed out the window.

Amazon has a red cross donation page up again

Filed under: — adam @ 3:59 pm

Even more on looting/finding

Filed under: — adam @ 3:22 pm

Design your own lego bricks

Filed under: — adam @ 10:29 am


“LEGO is starting a new program called LEGO Factory where you can download a desktop application that allows you to create a custom brick design. You can take the designs you create using the LEGO Digital Designer software, upload them to the LEGO website, and actually order a kit of LEGO bricks that will make the design you spec’d out.”

Self-healing Mice

Filed under: — adam @ 10:26 am

“We have experimented with amputating or damaging several different organs, such as the heart, toes, tail and ears, and just watched them regrow,” she said.

Via my friend jdb:,5744,16417002%255E30417,00.html

Blistering observation of the non-science of Intelligent Design

Filed under: — adam @ 10:06 am

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