The Super Sky Cycle works — The Super Sky Cycle is really ready for flying now, and has received a US patent on a “Fly-Drive Vehicle.” So executive Larry Neal tells us with supporting documentation and pictures. We first mentioned this contraption last year, after hearing of some local folks trying to fly a related machine around Silicon Valley.
Here’s a video that made the news in February. It is pretty cool. You land it, you take the propeller off, and it turns into a cycle. We can see Larry and Sergey riding these to Mountain View soon. Costs only $25,000.
Meanwhile, AlarmClock points us to news of a different kind of flying contraption, this time a “car.”
The Transition, developed by Terrafugia, a start-up formed by 29-year old Carl Dietrich and MIT students, will be about 18 feet long and would weigh about 1,320 pounds, or about half that of a new Honda Civic four-door sedan. Its wingspan would be 27 feet, and the wings would fold up when being deployed for the roadways (to 18.75 feet). Its engine would be 100 horsepower, and it would fly at about 120 mph. “This isn’t for driving around town, or going across country,” said Dietrich. “But driving 100 to 500 miles would be OK.”
DNA Repair — The quiet Menlo Park developer of DNA-repairing drugs is focusing on treating cancer. Co-founded by William Haseltine, it has raised $2 million in seed financing from Mohr Davidow Ventures. No link available.
Digg didn’t get a $40 million investment offer — We’d seen several rumors out there that Digg, the site that propels hot news stories to the top of its site when readers press “digg this” buttons, received a $40 million offer from Yahoo. We checked with chief executive Kevin Rose. Not true, he told us.
Adobe wants it both ways — Jeff Nolan has a good point that that Adobe might be a bit hypocritical in its latest demands that Microsoft not only separate the “save as PDF” function from Microsoft’s other offerings, but to also offer it for a price, especially given that Adobe is offering it as an open standard for anyone else to publish for free. (Here’s more.)
AT&T goes real negative on Google — Google co-founder Sergey Brin has been prowling Washington to lobby for “net neutrality,” and Google chief executive Eric Schmidt is encouraging people to send open letters to their representatives. But AT&T, which wants to be able to charge Google for its huge use of bandwidth, and thus rejects net neutrality, counter-attacks: “Americans are about to get a real choice to cable TV. But is Google going to blow it up?” said one print advertisement paid for by TV4US, a group whose financial backers include AT&T, the largest U.S. phone company. Brin admits his lobby visit was last-minute and not very organized. That’s not going to help things, because the House has rejected net neutrality and now the spotlight turns to the Senate.
Google Picasa gets with times? — It is apparently taking its desktop photo management tools Web-based with Web Albums.
Another venture capital firm raises cash, despite no success — This time it is Redwood City’s ATA Ventures, which has raised almost $200 million, according to its managing director Hatch Graham. VentureWire says the firm (sub required) has produced no hits on its first fund, which began investing several years ago. And yet investors like Vanderbilt University and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation have returned to give the firm money. We remember when people told us all these venture firms created during the bubble, or just after the bubble burst, would implode. But this is a long-term business, and the global supply of cash is letting these firms live to see another day. More firms exist today than did before the bubble!
OQO, maker of expensive portable personal computers, raises more cash — The San Francisco company has raised $5.4 million more. This is despite mediocre reviews by our Merc colleague Mike Langberg. Has the $1,899 computer gotten any better? For balance, we’d like to hear from anyone who likes their OQO, and why (in comments below). Preferably non-anonymous.
TiVo is launching a service to offer Internet video on your TV — Here is the WSJ story (sub required) about TiVo’s latest move to stay competitive at a time when a number of other digital video recorders are hitting the market. You can get NBA games and other stuff at no extra charge.
Kleiner, others bet on clean-coal — Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins has participated in a $30 million second round investment in GreatPoint Energy, a “coal gassification” startup, according to Dan Primack. Venture firms ATV and DFJ invested too. We remember talking with the ATV guys a year ago, who said this technology was still in the labs, but is compelling since so much of our world power comes from coal. What if you can make that coal clean? Now, just a year later, we’re seeing investments. Encouraging.
What’s up inside Intel? — Our Merc colleague Dean Takahashi broke the news a few days ago about some divisions Intel has put up for sale after “wasting billions” on them. And Intel is now cutting its prices aggressively to counter the dents competitor AMD is making into its market share. Shares of Intel have fallen 33 percent since Otellini succeeded Craig Barrett as Intel CEO in May last year. Advanced Micro’s stock has gained 77 percent during the same period. Yikes.
Mark Fletcher is off to start another company — Fletcher has one of the calmest, modest demeanors among seriously successful entrepreneurs we know in Silicon Valley. He’s built two pretty big hits. He co-founded a company that became known as eGroups, bought in 2000 by Yahoo for $420 million. His latest is Bloglines, the feed-reader we use to read our blogs, which was bought by Ask. Now he’s got the bug again: “…Once a start up guy, always a geek,” he says.
MLB’s bizarre attack on Sling Media — So Major League Baseball is attacking Silicon Valley start-up Sling for stealing from TV broadcasters that have paid for local rights. We agree with Techdirt that doesn’t make much sense. Sling lets its users merely place-shift TV and other media content from their home to a a mobile device via the Internet, but those users are already paying for the content. Seems indeed like a blatant money grab.