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Showing posts from October, 2004

Random Note: DNA's Dark Matter

Scientific American's The Hidden Genetic Program of Complex Organismsgrabbed my attention last week.  This could be the biologicalequivalent of the discovery of dark matter.  Basically, the 'junk'or intron DNA that forms a majority of our genome may not be junk atall, but rather control code that regulates the expression of othergenes. 

The programming analogy would be, I think, that the protein-codingparts of the genome would be the firmware or opcodes while the controlDNA is the source code that controls when and how the opcodes areexecuted.  Aside from the sheer coolness of understanding how lifeactually works, there's a huge potential here for doing useful geneticmanipulation.  It's got to be easier to tweak control code than totry to edit firmware... (Free link on same subject: The Unseen Genome.)

Things in Need of a Feed

Syndicated feeds are much bigger than blogs and news stories; they're aplatform.  A bunch of use cases, several of which actually exist in some form, others just things I'd like to see:
Blog entries for blogs I'm interested inFeed of all comments on entries I've authoredNews stories matching a custom filter I've set upTraffic conditions on my customary route(s)Fedex shipping feed giving status and history for all of my packagesCustomer support feed giving status and history for all my issues (any company)Product safety/recall information for everything I buy
Amazon feed of new books matching my preferencesAll new material by a specific author (on any blog or online source)Feed of new feeds, of various types:  Just my friends  Authored by people whose blogs I already subscribe to  Filtered on personal profile/interestsHouse for sale listings Newly discovered prime numbers (okay, a niche audience)Airport flight status alertsMovies in my Netflix queue and recommendation…

Niche Markets

Niche markets are where it's at: Chris Anderson's The Long Tailis exactly right. The Internet not only eliminates the overhead ofphysical space but also, more importantly, reduces the overhead offinding what you want to near-zero. When your computer tracks yourpreferences and auto-discovers new content that you actually want, it enables new markets that couldn't otherwise exist.

Update 10/11: Joi Ito's take.