Silicon Valley roundup — Danger, the Accel two-step, Attributor & more

Can Danger finally reach the masses with Sidekick? — The Palo Alto company has gotten buzz by marketing its previous Sidekick devices to celebrities like Paris Hilton, but they never really sold like hot pancakes. Now it is releasing its latest version, the Sidekick 3. Engadget has a review of it here. Om points out that one was just sold for a whopping $4050 on eBay, even though it is likely to cost only $300 later this week. Om calls this latest one a nice device – with a far superior keyboard compared to the Sidekick 2, bluetooth, ability to play music and even vCard support.

Accel backs Kosmix and Kayak, despite overlap — We mentioned last week that search engine Kosmix got new funding. Someone has produced some plugins for Kosmix’s new search verticals, including video games and finance, which you can use to run from your own site. They point out that Kosmix, which recieved backing from Accel, has a competitor – Kayak.com — which recently got more cash from none other than Accel’s Europe arm ($11.5 million). Interestingly, he reports that Kosmix’s product manager thinks that Kayak is the best travel search engine out there.

Josh Kopelman’s latest investment — The East-Coast angel investor has seeded a company called Attributor, of Redwood City but doesn’t say much except it is helping with “content publishing across the internet.” It is led by seasoned Internet entrepreneurs and backed by some of the earliest investors in companies like Google, Skype and Overture, he says. Chief executive Jim Brock tells us the round is enough to take the company well past the launch. (Note: Kopelman is another blogger we put on our blogroll this weekend).

Patricof backs PaidContent.org — Blogger Om Malik has raised cash from True Ventures, as mentioned. Now Rafat announces he has won backing for his blog, PaidContent.org, from well-known East Coast investor, Alan Patricof. We at SiliconBeat, meanwhile, are accepting all offers via our email tip box ;)

The power of being marginal — Here is a great piece by Paul Graham for all those entrepreneurs struggling out there with their ventures. It is ok — good, in fact — to feel like an outsider. Take a lesson from Jobs and Wozniak: That’s the paradox I want to explore: great new things often come from the margins, and yet the people who discover them are looked down on by everyone, including themselves.

Slashdot slashes itselfSlashdot points to a Biz 2.0 article that includes a look at the 10 people who don’t matter — a list that includes a top Slashdot editor. We disagree, however, with the list’s diss of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. For a 20-year-old to set out and build a top-ten Web site within two years is pretty incredible, and it ain’t over till it’s over.

Livermore supercomputer does goodNew Scientist reports that the “most computationally intensive computer program ever developed” is helping scientists at the US government’s Department of Energy determine the reliability of the country’s ageing stockpile of nuclear weapons. It does so by simulating the quantum behavior of atoms. The alternative is to actually detonate the things. Great to see these monster machines put to good use.

Is Cisco losing focus? — We reported last night that Cisco is going after sexy video. But what about its former love, WLAN? Here’s a story about how start-up Aruba has stolen a big account away from Cisco. Earlier this year, Microsoft and Aruba Networks jointly announced the two companies will work to replace Microsoft’s existing Cisco wireless network with Aruba’s centrally-managed infrastructure, which “eliminates the need for individual changes on the access points.” In another interesting twist, though, Aruba is using the Linux operating system, not Microsoft’s Windows — to wire more than 25,000 Microsoft employees!

Goodstorm provides useful retail widget for bloggers’ sites — Marshal Kirkpatrick has good post over at Techcrunch about San Francisco’s GoodStorm. The company will soon offer a new program allowing bloggers to insert product listings on their sites via a widget and keep 50% of the retail mark-up for themselves. Blog readers will be able to purchase books and CDs, for example, from inside the box without leaving the blog page they are on. Bloggers can choose what is sold. We agree, this is a great idea.

Vinod Khosla’s latest — Khosla, the well-known valley investor, has joined with others to back db4objects, a San Mateo .Net and Java open-source object database company, according to VentureWire. It was the company’s second round, and was apparently less than $5 million. Other investors included Jerry Fiddler, Tim Howes and Tim O’Reilly.

Oak investing like no tomorrow — As we’ve written, Oak Investment has bucket-loads of capital to pour into new companies, so it’s a good time to take money from them. The latest to do so is PulseWave RF, an Austin, Texas company that develops digital amplifiers for wireless networks. It has raised a $30 million in a third round, led by Oak. Washington State still hasn’t gotten back to us about why they invested, even though they said they would. Time to put in another call; they’re probalby not reading SiliconBeat.

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