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Originally published Monday, April 18, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Seattle band has already benefited by using ringtone

Cingular Wireless announced last week that the British band Coldplay would debut its new single "Speed of Sound" as a ringtone instead of...

Cingular Wireless announced last week that the British band Coldplay would debut its new single "Speed of Sound" as a ringtone instead of playing it first on radio or television.

The news presented a possible change in how the music industry does its marketing. David Dederer, a guitarist in the Seattle rock band, The Presidents of the United States of America, said to bring it on.

Although The Presidents have not debuted a song via a ringtone, it did hook up with Seattle-based Dwango Wireless to sell cellphone rings through Dwango's partnership with Rolling Stone magazine. "There was very little money involved," Dederer said, but the relationship got The Presidents a valuable full-page ad in Rolling Stone a couple of issues back.

"I'm all for it," he said.

Dynamic viewing

Changing eyeglass prescriptions is one of the banes of the boomer generation. How about doing it daily — without going to the optometrist?

On television


Worldwide sales of flat-panel television sets, including plasma and LCD models, are expected to increase by 66 percent this year to about $25 billion at retail.

Source: Strategy Analytics

At the Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference in Seattle's Westin Hotel last week, wearable-computer pioneer Steve Mann said his EyeTap digital eyewear could be configured to change prescriptions via a download over the Internet.

The prescription could even be programmed to change as the day wore on and one's eyes tired, said Mann, a University of Toronto professor.

Right now the EyeTap, a tiny video camera inset in a plastic "Cyborgian" wraparound headpiece, costs much more than traditional glasses, though Mann declined to cite a figure. He predicted that in a few years EyeTap would look like regular glasses and cost about the same.

Dueling demos

Microsoft and Apple Computer executives crossed each other in the sky last week as they flew up and down the West Coast pitching their new operating systems to journalists.

Windows chief Jim Allchin gave journalists in San Francisco a peek at Longhorn features, while a marketing team from Apple was in Seattle showing off Tiger, the next version of Mac OS X.

They should have done the demos side by side to help journalists figure out the differences between the systems; both are supposed to make it easier for users to communicate.

Apple is expected to ship Tiger on April 29, at least a month ahead of schedule. Longhorn was supposed to debut in 2005, but now it's scheduled for release sometime next year.

A venture capital

The fertile ground of seven regions around the country accounted for more than half of all new companies being started in the U.S. including Washington. The state is seeing the most year-over-year growth, according to Dow Jones VentureOne/Ernst & Young, which released the information last week.

The number of Washington companies receiving capital for the first time increased 66 percent in 2004 over the previous year. The 30 initial financing deals here were equal to 5 percent of all initial financing in the U.S.

By comparison, the Bay Area has the largest percentage, at 25 percent. But during the same time period, the Bay Area saw the number of initial financings drop 10 percent.

The other major regions for initial financing were Southern California, Texas, New England, New York metropolitan area and the Potomac region.

Penguinham?

Washington state's equivalent of Linux World is coming to Bellingham on April 30. LinuxFestNorthwest is hosted by BLUG, the Bellingham Linux User Group, in collaboration with Linux and other open-source groups in Seattle, Tacoma, Kitsap Peninsula and Victoria and Vancouver, B.C.

Speakers include polymath researcher George Dyson, tech journalist Dee-Ann LeBlanc and Oregon tech consultant Cooper Stevenson. Details are at:

www.linuxnorthwest.org.

Yes, it's free.

Download, a column of news bits, observations and miscellany, is gathered by The Seattle Times technology staff. We can be reached at 206-464-2265 or biztech@seattletimes.com.

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