Microsoft's Redmond campus will become a more collegial place in more ways than one if development plans presented last week to the public...

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Microsoft‘s Redmond campus will become a more collegial place in more ways than one if development plans presented last week to the public are firmly established.



New buildings would encircle internal courtyards like common areas outside university lecture halls.


This would partly offset the loss of a sprawling green field that’s to be filled with company offices and four-level parking garages.



The new buildings would be more densely occupied. Individual offices would be about the same size as elsewhere on the campus, but the buildings would be more efficiently designed and have 10 to 15 percent more occupants apiece, development director Chris Owens said at an open house Thursday.


That’s similar to the campus’ newer buildings.



A new field is planned for the area behind the former Spacelabs building on Northeast 40th Street. Although it would be smaller than the existing one, it would have one additional soccer field, said Jim Stanton, Microsoft’s community-affairs manager.


The current field has two soccer fields and one baseball diamond; the new area would have two of each.






Wired wirelessly


Based on a recent survey of consumers in Europe and North America, the number of home networks using Wi-Fi has exceeded those using Ethernet.



Source: Park Associates




About 8,400 new parking spaces are planned, but with 10,000 to 12,000 more employees possibly coming over the next decade or two, parking wouldn’t be a breeze.


“We will not be able to park people as easily as we have in the past,” Owens said.



Perhaps the company could allow on-street parking if it took over the internal streets on the campus.


As part of its deal with Redmond, Microsoft wants to privatize all the internal streets; about half now belong to the public.



Stanton said it would be easier for the company to service the streets and that “there is not any intent to somehow close the campus.”


None of the 30 or so people at the open house opposed the plans, but several residents asked for changes to the agreement with Redmond.



One asked whether the company could help provide community park space.


Another grumbled about traffic from a new outlet on Northeast Bellevue-Redmond Road near his house.



Neighbor Phil Miller is concerned that there aren’t more improvements planned for the transit center at 40th, which has an awkward connection to Seattle-bound buses stopping on the other side of Highway 520.


“It’s a public facility right in the middle of something that’s increasingly becoming private,” Miller said.



Miller would like to see plans for a pedestrian overpass at 40th resurrected, but Stanton said that’s not likely to happen.


Game over

In a thinly veiled move to sustain its productivity gains, China last week banned 50 video games, including 26 pirated games circulating in the country.




The move is “part of the effort to protect intellectual-property rights and create a good environment for Chinese youth,” the Xinhuanet news service reported.


Games on the list include pirated copies “Age of Mythology: The Titans,” “The Sims 2,” “Manhunt,” “FIFA 2005,” “Battlefield Vietnam” and “Painkiller: Battle Out of Hell.”



Among the legit games deemed illegal are “Conflict Vietnam,” “Vietcong: Fist Alpha” and “Devastation.”


No word on whether they’ll allow that new Playboy game for the PC, Xbox and Sony PlayStation 2.



Take 2

Playing off of the Sundance Film Festival, Seattle-based Mobliss is hosting a wireless-phone-video contest called the Thumbdance Mobile Film Festival.


The name pokes fun at the “finger walking” required when using a cellphone.



“It came from a brainstorm from the CEO,” said Rebecca Holmes, a company spokeswoman. “It’s mobile video and finger walking, or Thumbdance.”


Like the Sundance festival, Thumbdance has gathered video from professional and amateur videographers, but for the mobile phone.



The videos could eventually be played on the Thumbdance Channel, a cellphone service Mobliss plans to offer in partnership with carriers in the spring.


The channel will also have content from other sources, including animated political parodies from JibJab and sports snippets from Ally Distribution.



The Thumbdance festival began Jan. 19 and ends March 1. Winners will be announced March 31, so get your thumbs ready.


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