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Intelligent Machines

Infotech Briefs

Researchers in Sweden have smashed through previous Internet speed records, sending 840 gigabytes (the equivalent of about 200 DVD movies) in less than 30 minutes.

METRIC

Computer games aren’t just for adolescent boys anymore, according to a survey of U.S. households by the Entertainment Software Association.

STANDARDS

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The Electronic Product Code (EPC), a more information-packed successor to the traditional bar code, has gained a big supporter: Microsoft. The Seattle giant recently joined EPCglobal, a consortium backing the technology. If EPC codes-carried on radio frequency identification tags (left)-are widely adopted, they could become essential to electronic inventory-tracking systems, a market that Microsoft hopes its software will dominate.

FINANCING

Ping Identity of Denver, CO, which is trying to develop a standard to sort out the mess of multiple usernames and passwords PC users must remember, has closed a $5.8 million first-round financing deal. The deal, with Fidelity Ventures, General Catalyst Partners, and several private investors, will help fund Ping’s work on software that gives each corporate employee a single username and password for all of the shared networks and programs he or she may use.

IPO

Everyone knows that Google is going public, but some may be surprised just how candidly the search company has laid out the risks to investors. In documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Google notes that competitors may come up with better search technologies, that the loss of the company’s top leaders could “seriously harm” business, and that the IPO itself could create disparities of wealth among Google employees that “may adversely impact relations.”

ACQUISITION

Xerox has sold its controlling share in digital-rights-management company ContentGuard to Time Warner and Microsoft for an undisclosed amount. ContentGuard, a 2000 Xerox spinoff, is the creator of the Extensible Rights Markup Language, which has become an international standard for describing how digital files such as movies or e-books can be used.

ADVANCE

Being close to a Wi-Fi transmitter is heaven for laptop users, but being close to several is something else entirely. In buildings with dozens of Wi-Fi transmitters, signals can overlap and interfere with each other, slowing data transmission. But Propagate Networks in Acton, MA, is introducing so-called swarm logic software that lets access points communicate with each other and choose nonconflicting frequencies or adjust their power levels to eliminate overlap.

MILESTONE

Researchers in Sweden smashed through previous Internet speed records on April 14, using Sprint’s network and a high-speed university network in Sweden to send 840 gigabytes of data from Lule University of Technology near the Arctic Circle to a Sprint office in San Jose, CA, in less than 30 minutes. That’s the equivalent of about 200 DVD movies, and it’s 12 percent faster than the previous record, set last November by a team at Caltech and CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

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