Listen up: Beware of "iPod finger"

Clearer picture

A recent report predicts 41 percent of households in the U.S. will be watching movies on HDTV displays by 2009.

Source: In-Stat

Watch out iPod users, you might be the next victim of a new repetitive strain injury doctors are calling the "iPod Finger."

The British Chiropractic Association is warning "music-mad consumers" that constantly hitting the tiny buttons and scroll wheels of portable music players could be hazardous to their health, according to Vnunet.

The association recommends stretching hands and fingers often and changing which hand has control of the player.

If that fails, the only remedy may be rest, aspirin and the use of an archaic music device known as the stereo.

360s for the kids?

As if running a third of Microsoft weren't enough, Xbox Czar Robbie Bach was named last week to the national governing board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Bach has long been involved with the Boys & Girls Club in Bellevue and he helps with the "Club Tech" program that Bill Gates started in 2000 to support the organization.

Bach, president of Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division, will serve on the governing board with actor Denzel Washington; former Seattle Mariner Ken Griffey Jr. and the chairmen of Allstate, Tupperware and October Capital.

Maybe he'll talk Denzel into doing some voice-overs on "Halo 3."


Bellevue startup Centeris is hiring from both sides of the aisle.

The company last week announced that it hired 10-year Microsoft veteran Krishna Ganugapati and open-source developer Gerald Carter, a noted contributor to the Samba project who was working at Hewlett-Packard.

It's not too surprising — Centeris makes software for managing Linux servers in a Windows environment.

Chip talk

A former Bush Cabinet member advocating computer-chip implants in humans has no plans to get chipped himself, say two consumer-privacy advocates.

Former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson recently joined the board ofVeriChip, the company that received federal approval a year ago for the first human implantable computer chips.

Thompson has praised the virtues of microchips to store electronic medical records. In a July interview with CNBC, he said he would get an implant himself.

Liz McIntyre and Katherine Albrecht of the group Caspian followed up with VeriChip on his progress last week.

Turns out Thompson has been too busy to get the implant and has no plans to undergo the procedure anytime soon, they report.

Nice timing

Microsoft announced Friday that it's hiring supercomputing pioneer and former Cray Chief Scientist Burton Smith as a technical fellow.

Smith will work on parallel and high-performance computing initiatives.

Microsoft needs souped-up computers to get its news releases out faster — Seattle-based Cray announced Smith's move to Microsoft on Nov. 25.

Disaster role

Seattle-based Onvia has created a free online service for information on hurricane rebuilding and other disaster-recovery projects.

Companies can use the Disaster Contracting Center to find government procurement opportunities at the federal, state and local levels. Government agencies can use the service to list requests for products and services and to find suppliers.

Listed last week are building projects in Florida, water-related projects in South Carolina and Mississippi and contractor jobs in Louisiana.

The site is at

On the nerd list

Looking for a gift for the nerd in your life?

Just $199 buys membership in the Science & Technology Roundtable for the rest of the 2005-06 season from the Seattle-based Technology Alliance.

On tap in January is the hot topic of "How people/students learn."

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

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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