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"The answer to the problem of information overload on the Net is reputations… engineer a system called a reputation server."
- Neal Stephenson

Solar-Powered Ball  
  An autonomous round toy that powers itself.  

Dr. Lanvin was an instrument specialist, which meant designing and assembling parts that you could scarcely see, so small were they. Once he made me a toy. It was a ball that absorbed the energy of sunshine, and rolled after me wherever I went, in the plastic-sealed, tree-lined streets of the lab staff housing area. Following the sounds of my footsteps, it seemed half alive. Maybe it was a forerunner of all that was to come.
Technovelgy from Dawn of the Demigods, by Raymond Z. Gallun.
Published by Planet Stories in 1954
Additional resources -

Compare to the homotropic news vending machine from The Game Players of Titan, by Philip K. Dick. Published by Ace Books in 1963.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Dawn of the Demigods
  More Ideas and Technology by Raymond Z. Gallun
  Tech news articles related to Dawn of the Demigods
  Tech news articles related to works by Raymond Z. Gallun

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'When confronted by hills, or rough terrain, it did not stop, but simply slowed until the task demanded equaled its steady power output.'

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'But that space walk of mine wasn't so very amazing.'

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'It was like being inside a balloon; indeed, that was exactly where he was.'

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'...a simple clock-set servok with pipe and hose arms.'

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