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Originally published Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 12:00 AM

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Brier Dudley

InfiLearn changes name, launches tutors

Excerpts from the blog | As it begins its second year of business, Bellevue-based InfiLearn.com is undergoing big changes. In the past week...

Seattle Times staff columnist

Excerpts from the blog

As it begins its second year of business, Bellevue-based InfiLearn.com is undergoing big changes.

In the past week or so, the ambitious startup changed its name to GlobalScholar.com and launched a consumer-focused tutoring service. It lets tutors list their services and hosts online tutoring sessions on its platform, in exchange for a commission.

That's one of three components to the business hatched a year ago by Kal Raman, a former drugstore.com chief executive and Amazon.com senior vice president. The company has grown to about 100 people, roughly half in Bellevue and the rest in Chennai, India.

GlobalScholar also developed a learning management system that it's offering to school districts and governments. It sounds like a major customer deal will be announced shortly.

Finally, the company is developing educational search services, including "CollegeFinder," a university research tool that incorporates Microsoft's mapping technology.

The company has funding from Ignition Partners and Knowledge Universe, a network of education ventures led by Michael Milken, the former junk-bond tycoon whose late 1980s indictment led to a crackdown on insider trading.

Hunting down a Wii

Charlene Li, a Forrester media analyst, recently compiled a helpful list of tips for the holiday Wii-hunting season.

Among the tips: Register for Wiialerts, which sends e-mail alerts or messages to your cellphone when a batch becomes available at an online store, and go to stores like Toys R Us two to four hours before they open on a Sunday morning:

"Don't give up too early. You get there with 20 people ahead of you in line. They tell you that employees have shared they have only 20 Wiis in stock. Don't leave yet! On Black Friday, I was at a GameStop in Stockton with family members who were 35 or so in line when only 20 Wiis were available. They didn't hand out vouchers, so they stood in line for an hour. As they snaked up to the front, people were leaving with only a game or two in hand, bypassing the chance to buy a Wii. Two family members got the last two Wiis. So you never know."

My suggestion for locals: Make friends with someone who works at Nintendo of America and finagle an invitation into the company store in Redmond.

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Big-brand partners

Seattle startup Cozi is getting major exposure from new deals with Hasbro and Meredith to produce and promote co-branded versions of its family organization software.

The companies pay Cozi to produce customized versions of the software featuring their brands, such as Hasbro's Mr. Potato Head and Meredith's Parents magazine. They also receive a portion of the ad space within Cozi, and in turn promote and help distribute Cozi's software.

Co-founder Robbie Cape today said he's expecting the partnerships to dramatically increase the number of Cozi users, which is now around 380,000 families. That's 10 times more than it had when I wrote about Cozi in February.

Cozi's also adding new leadership with calendaring expertise — Jeremy Jaech, veteran of Aldus, Visio, Microsoft and Trumba, is joining its board as chairman.

Faster iPhone

Analysts expect a 3G iPhone to be available late next year. That's the word from Goldman Sachs, via AppleInsider, which reports that Apple's Asian suppliers are saying design of the next iPhone is nearly done and it will have the same form factor but with a different look and 3G capability.

New in the report is word from the same sources that the sputtering AppleTV product is being reworked and may include an LCD display. So does that mean it's morphing into a full-blown TV set, or will it have a small iPod-like (or Sideshow-like) display showing status and content and letting you control the device directly?

This material has been edited for print publication.

Brier Dudley's blog appears Thursdays. Reach him at 206-515-5687 or bdudley@seattletimes.com.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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About Brier Dudley
Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.
bdudley@seattletimes.com | 206-515-5687

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