Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Negative controls and the police

Oh wow. In the last few years, the German police hunted a woman they only know from her DNA, which had been found at over 40 crime locations all over Germany and Austria (including the murder of a police officer in Heilbronn). Now, they slowly come to the conclusion that a charge of DNA collecting equipment got contaminated by a female employee... Running negative controls would have been really useful, no? (German source:, via:

Monday, March 16, 2009

A little hack: "mark as read" for FriendFeed

FriendFeed is missing one important thing: the ability mark posts that didn't change since you last saw them as "read." Ideally, new posts or posts with new comments should be visually different from those that are unchanged.

I created a bookmarklet that lets you put a visual indicator of your last visit to FriendFeed into the stream of posts. (You should click the bookmarklet when you begin reading, because during reading you won't see posts that are posted while you read. New and updated posts will percolate to the top, and appear on top of the marker.) It works by using the FriendFeed API to create a post to a special room. As this is a hack, you'll have to adapt the bookmarklet.

  1. create a (private) room, e.g. USER-read
  2. drag this link to your button bar: FFread (RSS readers might mangle this)
  3. adapt the bookmarklet, substituting USER for your username (2x) and KEY for your remote key (1x)
  4. go to FriendFeed and test it
  5. optional: see how often you are visiting FriendFeed and calculate how much time you wasted :-)
Update: This worked in Firefox 3.0. I updated to the Firefox 3.1 / 3.5 beta, and it doesn't work anymore. :-/

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Keine Experimente!

Lange habe ich diese Idee mit mir herumgetragen, jetzt habe ich sie dank Deutschem Historischen Museum und Vector Magic in die Tat umgesetzt. Den Vektorisierungs-Look finde ich sogar ziemlich passend.

Sollte der Witz unverstanden bleiben, hier die Auflösung. Andernfalls das ganze als PDF, zum Ausdrucken oder Editierien (statt Bioinformatik kann man ja auch Theoretische Physik favorisieren).

Friday, March 6, 2009

A seminar on Makefiles!

This blog, my tumblelog, and my Twitter stream are littered with examples of my use of Makefiles. So I was very happy to find this blog post about a whole seminar on Makefiles on FriendFeed. Go and check it out, I learned something new!