It happens so often that you almost expect it to happen: the demo that fails. It happened again, in a way, Thursday night at the Washington...

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It happens so often that you almost expect it to happen: the demo that fails.

It happened again, in a way, Thursday night at the Washington Technology Industry Association‘s annual industry awards dinner.

(By the way, the organization used to be called WSA, which itself used to be the Washington Software Association. It changed its name last week to broaden its identity.)

The event’s keynote speaker was Suzie Reider, advertising director of YouTube, who naturally enough had some videos to show. Except she was unable to play a single one.

An introductory video didn’t roll at the beginning of her speech. Later, she wanted to highlight a Heinz viral advertising video. No luck; it didn’t show on the Seattle Westin ballroom screens. There were more sprinkled throughout her speech, but none worked.

As our Brier Dudley noted in his blog, Microsoft — which knows a thing or two about failed demos — is a large presence in the organization. Makes one wonder whether it jinxed the rival exec’s presentation.

Meanwhile, here are the award winners: Breakthrough Technology of the Year: TravellingWave; Business Product of the Year: Tableau Software; Consumer Product or Service of the Year: Yapta; Technology Innovator of the Year: Byran Mistele, founder of Inrix; Best Use of Technology in the Government, Non-Profit or Education Sector: King County District Court; Service Provider of the Year: Ramp Group; Technology Leaders of Tomorrow: Jennifer Chen, an eighth-grader at Washington Middle School.

High-tech, low-tech

If you’ve ever used a Palm, there’s a good chance you’ve lost the device’s stylus — used to call up menus or write on the touch-sensitive screen — a time or two.

Maybe all those styluses ended up in that Chicago election precinct that made the news out of the Super Tuesday voting last week. The Associated Press reported that about 20 voters were given styluses made for touch-screen voting machines that they were to use to mark paper ballots. The voters complained that the “pens” left no marks on the ballots.

A ballot judge, The AP said, told the voters that the markers contained invisible ink.

Yes, we know, it had to happen in Chicago.

Slice of pi

The Wired Web site noted last week that Tuesday was the 111th anniversary of the day the Indiana General Assembly nearly passed a bill that would establish a firm value — 3.2, to be exact — for pi.

The story goes that a physician and amateur mathematician (with emphasis on amateur) claimed he had figured out how to square a circle and somehow got a legislator to sponsor a bill.

It just so happened a professional mathematician, a math prof from Purdue University, was at the statehouse that day. He was shown the bill and he proceeded to educate the senators on the matter, Wired says.

No report on whether the state budget added up that year.

On the record

New offerings: Seattle-based Speakeasy, a unit of Best Buy, has launched integrated voice service, which allows a business to run VoIP over its existing data connection without replacing the broadband service or acquiring new phone equipment.

New product: Attenex, a Seattle e-discovery company, has introduced Snapshot Review, a bundle of software, hardware and consulting services to help companies identify key issues and information for legal proceedings.

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