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Infotech Briefs

Settlement

In a bid to resolve two lingering legal disputes, Google has given rival search site Yahoo 2.7 million shares of its stock, or about 1 percent of its total shares. One dispute involved a 2000 agreement to let Yahoo purchase 3.7 million shares; Google claimed that a provision in the agreement reduced its obligation to only 1.2 million shares. The other tussle was over Google software that, according to Yahoo, infringed on patents Yahoo holds on techniques for linking ads to specific keywords.

Play

Doom 3, one of the year’s most anticipated video games, has been zooming off shelves since its August 3 debut. Available for PCs, Doom 3 is the creation of id Software of Mesquite, TX, whose original Doom popularized the “first-person shooter” genre in 1993. Id plans to profit not only by selling copies of the game – which deals with a demonic invasion of an underground Mars base – but by letting other game developers license the 3-D graphics engine that provides the game’s gory graphics.

Advance

NASA has been pushing its supercomputers to the limit this year with massive simulations aimed at returning the remaining space shuttles to flight. Now the space agency is working with Mountain View, CA-based computer manufacturer Silicon Graphics and Intel to build a machine that will increase the agency’s overall supercomputing capacity by a factor of 10. Nicknamed Project Columbia, the computer will contain 10,240 separate Intel Itanium processors – more than any other currently operating supercomputer.

Up-Grade

In its first major round of operating-system improvements since it introduced Windows XP in 2001, Microsoft released the long-awaited Windows XP Service Pack 2 in August. Going well beyond the typical software fix, the 80- megabyte update overhauls both Windows and the Internet Explorer browser, providing better defenses against hacker attacks, viruses, and other malicious code.

Hardware

Hewlett-Packard will become the first major computer maker to release a Linux laptop. Versions of the HP Compaq nx5000 with the open-source operating system preinstalled will have a suggested retail price of $1,140.

Web

Publishing a weblog isn’t just for the hoi polloi anymore. A growing number of technology leaders are getting into the act.

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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