Happy Thanksgiving weekend, folks. Here’s a roundup of the latest.
The crisis at Digg — Digg, the San Francisco company that lets users rank news, is facing a credibility test. A fake story about Sony recalling its PlayStation 3 stayed on the site’s front-page for several hours, even though the content was clearly questionable — people blindly digged the article nonetheless. This led to some sleuthing by Niall Kennedy, who turned up evidence of some major spamming. This and other problems are causing some people to give up on the site.
How — or how not — to buy out your angels — We’ve written about Evan Williams’ move to buy back his struggling podcasting company, Odeo, back from his investors. The New York Times reports today he paid $2 million to do this. But since Charles River told VentureBeat it made money on the $4 million it originally invested in the Odeo, this suggests Williams must have additionally handed over more than $2 million in unused cash to the firm. Evan must indeed be a nice guy; arguably, based on the facts at hand, he could have just closed the company and moved on. Instead, he’s $2 million out-of-pocket. Maybe we’re missing something. VentureBeat was supposed to connect with Evan two week ago, but our schedules didn’t work out. Stay tuned…
Yergin says we’re not running out of oil — Pulitzer Prize-winning oil historian Daniel Yergin argues we won’t begin running of oil until 2030, later than a lot of experts have been saying lately.
Has Silicon Valley’s luck moved south? — The Persian rug merchants in Palo Alto own various properties, including a venture fund called Amidzad, and lots of real estate in Palo Alto including the supposed lucky spot at 165 University (early home of Google, PayPal, etc). They say that luck may be moving south. Earlier this year, led by Saeed Amidi (pictured here), they opened a 150,000 square foot building in Sunnyvale to house start-ups, called Plug & Play Tech Center. Already three of the newcomers have been acquired by other companies. In just the past couple of weeks, Bix was acquired by Yahoo, Nsite by Business Objects (though, if you believe the comments, the exit may not have been that great), and Andale by Vendio. Other companies at the complex are getting funded: Solexant just raised an angel round for its new solar cell technology. Meanwhile, 165 Univ. hasn’t been too lucky lately.
Mobio offers movie service — Mobio is a relatively new mobile phone service that provides movie listings, reviews, maps and the ability to buy tickets easily from your phone. We mentioned the company earlier this year, when it was still secretive. It has raised $9 million from Interwest Partners, Storm Ventures and others. You load it from the company’s site, at www.getmobio.com, but it only works for the RAZR and some Samsung phones.
HAVA, better than the SlingBox? — The makers of the HAVA say it lets you stream your TV programming to any PC, wherever you are. And it says it does the popular SlingBox one better. It is compatible with Windows XP Media Center Edition, works with WiFi (SlingBox is Ethernet only), and allows multi-casting (multiple PCs can view the stream at the same time, compared to SlingBox, which allows only a single viewer).
The company let us demo it, and we liked the quality. It is selling for $249. We first saw a review of HAVA at CNET. It is made by a private company we haven’t written about before, Monsoon MultiMedia, with R&D in India, but marketing and sales in San Mateo.