'Did you hear...'

Up in the air over RFID. Wonder if feds are really snapping up radio frequency ID technology? So do the experts. At an Arlington, Va., get-together this month, an analyst from Input Inc. of Reston, Va., warmed up the crowd with rosy predictions for RFID spending, particularly in the Defense Department. Then keynote speaker Alan Estevez, the assistant deputy undersecretary of Defense responsible for supply-chain automation, took the stage and burst Input's bubble.

He said the figures were 'nowhere near' what DOD planned to spend, so vendors in the audience could stop 'salivating' and 'go take your vacation.' Afterwards, Intel's analyst, Payton Smith, told GCN he 'gets that a lot' from DOD and chalked it up to different definitions of RFID spending (Input factors in related services). Tracked down later at a Starbucks stand, Estevez said he didn't know where Input got its numbers and warned us to 'put no stock in them.' OK.

Separate tracks. Standards for the next generation of DVDs apparently will be settled the old-fashioned way'by seeing which sells the most. Groups led by Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp. took a stab at finding a common format for high-definition DVDs'encoded with blue lasers, which allow for higher densities than the current red lasers'but last week reportedly gave up on the effort. So, we'll have Toshiba's HD-DVD in one corner and Sony's Blu-ray in the other, and lots of people hoping the one they buy doesn't go the way of Beta video tapes.

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