Here’s the latest action:
Dexter, the first robot that “walks like we do” — Entrepreneur Trevor Blackwell started a robot company in Mountain View, Calif. called Anybots a few years ago (we wrote about it). He built a robot called Dexter, and had real trouble getting him to walk. It’s tougher than you may think. Well, now Dexter has finally taken its first steps. Click on image and play video. Paul Graham’s account of the challenge is worth reading. Maybe Silicon Valley will compete with the Japanese after all (Honda’s robot, Asimo, has long lorded it over Dexter).
Technorati buys PersonalBee? — We’re hearing these rumors too. Valleywag has more. Technorati, a blog search engine, appears to be drifting, and its strategy here is unclear. But Personal Bee is a way to let people create personal news pages (see our original story on the site here). Reported purchase price: Six figures.
MySpace News, here it comes — Wired has the scoop about MySpace’s pending news site, which takes aim at Digg and other sites. However, it ditches the Digg concept of having a (cliquish) group of people submitting stories. Instead, it automatically collects news items from various news sites and blogs. MySpace users then discuss and rate the stories; the stories then change position on the page accordingly. This will be out in the second quarter.
Why you need lawyers, even early at a start-up — A tale of caution by Dave Winer, who sold his company to Verisign, only to get sued by someone because he hadn’t had the proper legal help, costing Winer $40,000 to defend himself.
Applied Materials builds biggest solar power installation — Google previously held the crown for biggest solar power installation on an existing corporate facility. Now Sunnyvale’s Applied Materials, just down the road, is building a 1.9 megawatt power system.
Green tech buzz continued — Notable story in the NYT about the Silicon Valley ecosytem evolving around green technologies. The “dot-watt” boom. Note also the story in the Mercury News, about how Foster City, Calif. start-up SolarCity is using the Web to round up neighbors interested in installing solar panels. If enough people sign up in a given area, the people get good discounts.
Microsoft confirms it will acquire Tellme — This is a big win for Benchmark Capital, which had the biggest stake in Tellme. Reports say Tellme was valued at about $800 million. Keliner Perkins had the second largest ownership, we’re told. Purchase announcement here.
More advertising networks, anyone? — We don’t have enough.
Does all that gym peddling create usable energy? — No. It’s been bandied about by crackpots over the years: Generate electricity by tapping into all that energy people expend in the gym — on bikes, treadmills, weight-lifting. San Ramon, Calif. company 24 Hour Fitness invested $15,000 to test this. Turns out, if all 13 machines in one Hong Kong gym were in use ten hours a day every day, it would take 82 years to generate enough electricity worth the $15,000 investment. (Story here).