Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends
How new technologies are modifying our way of life

jeudi 16 janvier 2003

Yesterday's column, "'Why I should have the right to kill a malicious process on your machine'" was read by a record number of people. The reason: it was quoted both by Scripting News and Slashdot.

Now, let's come back to today's topic, "Now playing: The human genome," brought to us by Scarlet Pruitt. Here is the introduction.

Life science technology is about as cutting-edge as it gets, but now it's apparently also hip. At least that's the image projected by University of New Hampshire researcher Will Gilbert, who has taken to carrying around the human genome on his Apple Computer Inc. iPod.
Gilbert, who heads the bioinformatics group at the university's Hubbard Center for Genome Studies, loaded the 3 billion chemical nucleotide letters in the human genome on his iPod one day when he discovered it would be faster than waiting for his network to copy the information.
After all, the iPod can download up to 1,000 songs in less than 10 minutes. What's 3 billion As, Ts, Cs, and Gs? Well, with 4x compression, Gilbert estimates, the human took up less than 1GB of disk space on his 5GB iPod, which also contained 300 songs. He recently upgraded to a 10GB iPod, on which he stores 600 songs plus the human genome.

Of course, the fact that you can use such a device to store your data is not new. I've already talked here about small keychain memory devices, like in "At Airport X-Ray Machines, a Mountain of Forgotten Laptops" or in "Personal Memory Devices Will Proliferate and Must Be Managed by IT Organizations." But you also can use the memory cards in your digital cameras as a disk drive. Read for instance what Fred Langa says about these memory devices in "Digital Cameras Can Transfer *Any* File."

Most memory-stick-based digital cameras function internally a form of "RAM disk;" a solid-state version of an ordinary small hard drive. As such, the memory stick doesn't care what kind of data it holds -- it's all just ones and zeros anyway.
What's more, some normal hard drive maintenance tools can also work on memory stick- based RAM disks, so you can even use things like "undelete" functions to recover digital photos you may have accidentally erased.

Sources: Scarlet Pruitt, IDG News Service, Boston Bureau, January 14, 2003; Fred Langa, LangaList Standard Edition, January 16, 2003

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