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


Informal comparison of organic ketchups

Filed under: — adam @ 3:33 pm

I don’t really enjoy the taste of high fructose corn syrup, which seems to have worked its way into all kinds of places. The only kinds of ketchup that I’ve been able to find that are made with sugar instead are all organic, and I’ve tasted a bunch of them.

Here’s an informal summary of my findings:

  • Heinz Organic ($2.49/15 oz = $.17/oz) : Tasty. Almost exactly like Heinz ketchup, but without the HFCS twang. But even at this reduced price from Amazon Grocery (it was about $1 more for the same size bottle at my local supermarket), it’s the most expensive of the choices. Not worth the extra money.
  • Tree of Life Organic ($4.69/36 oz = $.13/oz) : Very good, but a little fruitier than I like. Still full bodied, and a perfectly acceptable choice. Sort of like getting Hunts if you like Heinz.
  • 365 Organic – Whole Foods ($1.89/24 oz = $.08/oz) : This was my favorite of the four, and also the cheapest. Very well balanced, good acidity. Tastes like Heinz, for the most part, but with a brighter, more persistent flavor.
  • Annie’s Organic ($2.79/24 oz = $.12/oz) : Not good. Very reminiscent of tomato paste, and too thick.


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Step by step instructions on how to set up a webcam for security monitoring

With an open source monitoring program – Dorgem.



The state of Adobe RAW processing for the Canon 400D

Filed under: — adam @ 5:01 pm

Camera RAW 3.5 doesnt support it. Camera RAW 3.6 will be out “soon”. My results with the Canon DPP processor have been pretty dismal. Lightroom Beta 4 is out, which does support it, but I haven’t really played with it yet, as it got a bit choked up (but hasn’t crashed yet) when I threw my 30,000+ photos into its library.

Some comments from Thomas Knoll (the man):

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Explaining RSS feeds the Oprah way

Filed under: — adam @ 11:51 am


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GOOD Magazine

One of the projects I’m working on is GOOD Magazine. We have some incredible things planned for their site in the next few months, and there will be future updates about that. In the meantime, the magazine itself is pretty good. The first issue has come out, and it’s an interesting read. These guys are genuinely interested in the phenomenon of doing good, and they’ve uncovered some great stories.

For a $20 subscription, you get a year’s subscription (six issues), and 100% of your subscription fee goes to your choice of 12 partner organizations.

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Amazon Unbox is a travesty

I was going to write something about this, but Cory beat me to it.

Amazon Unbox has the worst terms of service I’ve seen in a long time. Like Cory, I’m a longtime Amazon supporter, and I think their customer service is outstanding, and this is a travesty. Way to fuck over the people who won’t actually read the terms because they just want to download a movie.

I only really have one thing to add with respect to the “if it has value then we have a right to charge money for it” proposition. Does the MPAA reserve the right to charge more retroactively if you enjoy a movie more than you expected to? That’s hidden value, right? This madness has to stop.

Mr. Bezos, you should be ashamed of yourself, and also whoever you put in charge of this.

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Advice for the Democrats

Filed under: — adam @ 9:36 am
  Everyone expects you to win Everyone expects you to lose
You win. Well, everyone expected you to win. No one’s surprised. Yay, you win. OMG! You overcame all of the odds and pulled it out!
You lose. What?? You lost?!? How could that have happened? Oh, well, no one expected you to win. Try again next time.

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Why Johnny Can’t Code

Filed under: — adam @ 9:19 am

Interesting article by David Brin from Salon today on the lack of an educational consensus on what constitutes “the learning language”, or indeed >any< learning language at all.

It used to be BASIC – textbooks of other subjects had BASIC programs in them to try out, and it was installed everywhere. Even my Intellivision, one of the early game consoles, had a BASIC module.

Sure, it’s not good for teaching you about any modern programming concepts, but that’s less important in the beginning than understanding how computers fundamentally work.

There’s been a lot of ranting recently about how kids these days can’t program because all they learn is Java and they never get near the guts of the computer itself (because why should they learn something they’re never going to use?), but I think I agree with Brin’s point – it’s deeper than that. The prevailing opinion is that languages that force you to understand what they’re doing are not only useless but obsolete. The analogy to eating your seed corn is apt – we’re cutting off an entire generation from the hacker tools they need in order to learn how to do interesting stuff with technology instead of just put other people’s pieces together (and people who have never learned the basics are far more likely to be stumped when something doesn’t behave as they expect).

I’m not sure what the answer to this is, really, but it’s definitely worth discussing.

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Wikipedia refuses to censor in China


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Who writes Wikipedia

Filed under: — adam @ 10:46 am

Aaron Swartz, as part of his bid to join the Wikimedia board, has done some fascinating research into the posting habits of Wikipedia users. He’s come up with some patterns of how entries get created:

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