Roundup: Genetics, Semel's choke, Wikiseek, MySpace story and more

Round-up of the latest in Silicon Valley tech stuff:Google-funded genetic start-up? — Anne Wojcicki, the biotech analyst who is reportedly engaged to Google co-founder Sergey Brin, has co-founded a Mountain View personal genetics startup, 23andMe, according to ValleyWag. According to the company’s site, it develops “tools and producing content to help people make sense of their genetic information. Our goal is to take advantage of new genotyping technologies and help consumers explore their genetics, informed by cutting edge science. We are now looking for talented, innovative individuals…”

How Yahoo blew it — In 2002, Yahoo was still bigger than Google, and was mulling over whether it should acquire the fast-growing company, but Yahoo chief exec Terry Semel choked, at least according to this Wired account by Fred Vogelstein:

“Five billion dollars, 7 billion, 10 billion. I don’t know what they’re really worth — and you don’t either,” he told his staff. “There’s no fucking way we’re going to do this!”

wikiseeklogo.bmpSearchMe launches yet another search engine — Palo Alto start-up, SearchMe has launched WikiSeek, which sounded useful when we first found out about it: It would index only Wikipedia sites, along with sites linked to by Wikipedia. Theoretically, that means only very useful links and little spam. We were let down, though, after trying a few searches. In at least this search, there was more spam than in Google’s equivalent search. We’ll see what else the two-year-old Palo Alto company comes up with; it has $5 million from Sequoia, and apparently it has more up its sleeve.

Moore’s Law intact after all? — Hewlett-Packard computer scientists say they’ve made elements of computer chips so small that they may enable an eightfold increase in the number of transistors on a chip, without making the transistors smaller, reports the Merc’s Therese Poletti. The scientists said their advance would equal a leap of three generations of Moore’s Law, a prediction formulated in 1964 by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore that forecast chip makers could double the number of transistors on a chip every couple of years. The validity of the law has been doubted recently, as we near the technical limits of making chips smaller.

Twilight Years for Silicon Valley legend — John Draper helped the young Apple co-founders with pranks, for example telling them how to create phone tones so they could make free long-distance calls. The WSJ embellishes, somewhat strangely, the story of his subsequent years (sub required).

Microsoft makes Windows Vista OS available for sale and download online — A first for Microsoft. Details.

How Myspace succeeded, in spite of itself – i.e, the bugs, crass design, disorder.

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