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Published: Saturday, 2/26/2005

Fusion: Swords and pizza, top ravers

SWORDS AND PIZZA

Demonstrating a deep understanding of its audience, Sony has built the ability to order pizza into its latest online multiplayer game. Type the command /pizza while playing Everquest II, a fantasy game with 330,000 active players, and get the Pizza Hut Web site, where you can place orders for delivery. Chris Kramer, spokesman for Sony Online Entertainment, said he believes this is the first time a game accepts orders for real-world items. Sony plans to integrate the pizza function more tightly into the game, so players can charge pizza to their monthly game subscription bill.

MORE HARD DISC

Two hard-drive makers have expanded the capacities of their 1-inch drives to 6 gigabytes, catering to consumers growing appetites for more storage in tiny packages. The new drives by Seagate Technology LLC and Hitachi Global Storage Technologies put the world s top two hard-drive manufacturers in head-to-head competition. Hitachi, which supplies components for Apple s iPod, previously made its Microdrives with a maximum capacity of 4 GB. Seagate introduced its first line of 1-inch-diameter disk drives last fall in 2.5 GB and 5 GB. Taking advantage of the expanded disk capacity, Apple this week released its second-generation of iPod minis in 4-gigabyte and 6-gigabyte versions. Within a few months, Creative Technology Ltd., which already uses Seagate s 5-gigabyte drive for its Zen Micro MP3 player, plans to start selling a 6-gigabyte version.

TOP RAVERS

Shock-jock Howard Stern won a renegade award and freelance journalist Kevin Sites got a nod for blogging as Wired Magazine doled out the 6th Annual Rave Awards to technology innovators. Wired bestowed Stern with the Wired Renegade award for his tense battle with the Federal Communications Commission and upcoming switch to Sirius Satellite Radio. Sites took home the honor in a new Blogger category for helping pioneer a new breed of reporting from the war in Iraq. Sites, a freelance journalist currently on assignment for NBC News in Asia, also chronicled on his Web journal the tsunami rescue effort in southeast Asia. Brad Bird won in the Film Director category for The Incredibles, the computer animation story of a family of superheroes.

X NOTES

• Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of the Final Fantasy series, will make two games for the next version of Microsoft s Xbox to help the company gain more popularity in Japan. Microsoft has not said when the new console will be released. The games will be available first in Japan, and eventually the United States.

• In Xbox Live s latest Game with Fame event, NASCAR driver Kyle Busch will challenge racing fans in NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup on Wednesday from 2-3 p.m. EST. Players should watch for the gamertag KB5Grrreeat.

www.xbox.com/gamewithfame

30-SECOND VACATIONS

Sometimes the best way to get a sense of a place is to just sit still. Window Standpoint Series (www.lappareil.com/window), curated by a group of French artists who live in Paris, asked artists from around the world to capture the views from their window, both in picture and in sound. Click on Amsterdam and you see a typical Dutch corner, filled with bicycles, and hear the kickstands on several as their owners take off. One of two Tokyo windowscapes shows you an alley framed by a billowy white curtain, set to the sound of a motor scooter, and then faint chatter in Japanese.

THE NEW TV

Television has long been a favorite way to pass time. But an annual survey by Jupiter Research showed that last year American adults spent as many hours a week in front of another screen the computer. The survey of 2,231 found that consumers spent an average of 10 hours a week on the Internet in 2004, the same amount as the year before. TV watching declined to 10 hours a week, from 11 in 2003.

• 35 percent watched less TV because of their online habit

• Those with low-speed dial-up connections still watch 12 hours a week of TV

• 35 spent less time reading books

• 28 percent cut back on magazines

• 26 percent picked up a newspaper less frequently

• 28 percent spent less time on the phone

TOLEDOBLADE.COM

Photo Gallery contains Photos of the Day from The Blade and toledoblade.com. Also, Blade photographer galleries, and a permanent gallery of downtown Toledo sites.

www.toledoblade.com/photos

FROM THE BLADE S WIRE SERVICES AND STAFF.

CONTACT FUSION AT KCESARZ@THEBLADE.COM



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