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Monday, June 5, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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McCaw connection benefits Hunts Point

When a guy like Craig McCaw lives in your neighborhood, there are special privileges.

Hunts Point, a town small enough to hold town meetings at the local Tully's, will be the first Seattle-area neighborhood to get wireless broadband service.

McCaw has backed a number of wireless ventures after his McCaw Cellular Communications was bought by AT&T and turned into AT&T Wireless. He is at it again with Kirkland-based Clearwire, which has rolled out wireless broadband service in nearly 30 U.S. cities.

According to the Hunts Point newsletter, the town signed a lease with Clearwire for a new flagpole to serve as an antenna. The service, a form of a technology called WiMax, is expected to be available by year's end, and will be an alternative to Comcast's cable broadband service and Qwest's DSL.

McCaw's neighbors in the exclusive Eastside waterfront town were thrilled after reading about the installation in the newsletter.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, also a Hunts Point resident, said at a May event: "This is one of the benefits of living next door to Craig McCaw, who is one of the technology pioneers in the wireless industry. He's got a new wireless broadband company, so our neighborhood [has] decided to be a test case, so we will have wireless broadband to the home."

Town Administrator Jack McKenzie said in a Bloomberg story that the City Council expects to approve the Clearwire proposal today.

Test driving Pixie

If you saw people running around Pioneer Square with cameraphones Thursday, you saw a test for a game being developed at Microsoft called "Pixie Hunt."

Players got a special cameraphone with the game application installed, a GPS locator, and a scavenger-huntlike list of pictures to take. The idea was to upload the photos to an online Flickr account in real-time, so other players could view them.

Microsoftie Jordan Schwartz designed the game, and is set to unveil it June 12 at the Where 2.0 conference in San Jose, Calif.

There are still a few kinks to be worked out, Schwartz said Friday, especially around uploading the photos to Flickr and distributing them to other cameras.

"Folks still had fun running around completing the tasks and taking pictures," Schwartz said. He's planning another test run soon after doing some debugging.

Nintendo wins

Nintendo continued its post-Electronics Entertainment Expo euphoria last week as it dominated the Game Critics Awards for Best of E3 2006. The winners are decided by 37 media outlets covering the industry.

Nintendo's Wii console won best in show, best hardware, and the "Wii Sports" title won for best sports game. Guess everyone got over their bad reaction to the name Wii.

Microsoft's "Gears of War" game also did well, winning for best console game and best action game.

Download: 206-464-2265 or biztech@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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