David Notkin must be getting tired of wearing a necktie. The University of Washington professor is stepping down as chairman of the Department...

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David Notkin must be getting tired of wearing a necktie.

The University of Washington professor is stepping down as chairman of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering after nearly five years and 39 professional occasions requiring a tie, as recorded at his Web site (www.cs.washington.edu/homes/notkin/ties.htm).

The diary is helpful because his trademark beard makes it easy to miss the cravat.

Notkin’s news was disclosed Thursday by his pal and department colleague Ed Lazowska during the department’s annual industrial affiliates meeting. Lazowska said the chair usually rotates every five years, and a search for Notkin’s successor has begun.

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Ready to go

It looks like “Halo 2” might be ready for play on Microsoft‘s Xbox 360 when it launches Nov. 22. At a demonstration of the new console last week in Redmond, Scott Henson from the Xbox’s advanced-technology group said the game plays “pretty well” on the new console.

Microsoft is making some games made for the original Xbox playable on the Xbox 360, starting with its most popular titles. “Halo 2” is an obvious candidate, but the company hasn’t officially said if the game will be ready by the 360’s launch.

Cable connection

Global revenue from cable modem services is expected to reach $22 billion this year, compared with $19 billion in 2004.

Source: In-Stat

At its demonstration, Microsoft hooked Apple Computer‘s iPod nano to several of its Xbox 360s to show how the machine can play music from MP3 players. The company probably would have liked to showcase a player running on Microsoft’s software, but you gotta grab cachet where you can.

Greatly exaggerated?

Predictions about the demise of Microsoft’s MSN unit started to surface last week after Microsoft showed off its Windows Live service. Many tools in the service, including the Spaces blogging program and an update to Messenger, were previously under the MSN umbrella.

It’s also unclear how the division is settling after a large reorganization at the company that combined it with the Windows group. Add to that talk of staff defections and rumors of combining MSN and parts of America Online.

“What’s left for MSN?” BetaNews asked. Perhaps this is good news for MSN, which execs say runs better when considered the underdog.

Name, please

Seattle-based Dwango Wireless said recently it was changing its name as part of a separation agreement with Japan-based Dwango Co. But at the time it wasn’t saying what the new name would be.

A search on the US. Patent and Trademark Office Web site, however, may give a big clue.

According to the site, on Aug. 2 Dwango registered the name Dijji. A company spokesperson refused to confirm or deny whether the name was correct, other than to say that the new brand and Web site would be launched in the first couple of weeks of December.

Download can be reached at 206-464-2265 or biztech@seattletimes.com.