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Submission + - A Former Nest Engineer Sees a Gap Between Indigogo and Best Buy—and Fills (

Tekla Perry writes: The idea--create a store that has the latest gadgets from companies too young to get into normal retail chains, staff it with smart people who understand the technology, and collect $$ based on "engagement", not sales. (So it's cool if a shopper buys a product on the spot, but also cool if he buys it online later.) A flash in the pan? Or a new idea that will revolutionize retail?

Submission + - No More QA: Yahoo's Tech Leaders Say Engineers are Better Off Coding With No Net (

Tekla Perry writes: A year ago Yahoo eliminated its test and quality assurance team, as part of project Warp Drive, its move to continuous delivery of code. The shift wasn't easy, Yahoo tech execs say, and required some "tough parenting." But the result has been fewer errors because "when you have humans everywhere, checking this, checking that, they add so much human error into the chain that, when you take them out, even if you fail sometimes, overall you are doing better.” And the pain wasn't as great as expected. Yahoo's chief architect and SVP of science and technology discuss the transition.

Submission + - Tech Industry Vets Fight Effects of Climate Change (

Tekla Perry writes: These geriatric engineers probably can't stop global warming, but they may be able to cool off a few hot spots. Gathering four days a week (the abbreviated workweek a nod to their advanced ages; being senior citizens means they are past the stay-at-the-lab-all-night-drinking-energy-shots stage), they are building a cloud whitening system that they expect to test within two years. They've reached out to their long-standing network of companies and colleagues for ideas, tools, and technologies. They are not sure that the technology will work. They are not even sure they want it to be used--geoengineering has lots of issues. But, they say, they are advocating that research be done, because, it’s valuable to know what doesn’t work, as it often leads to what might work--even though might not be around to see what that is

Submission + - Gene Amdhal Started Companies Because "People's Needs Aren't All Technical" (

Tekla Perry writes: Computer pioneer Gene Amdahl, who died yesterday, was a classic Silicon Valley entrepreneur--forced out of his first startup by investors, fails at his next attempt, but keeps rising up again and again. In a 1982 conversation, he talked about why, and how working on technical problems was his substitute for pain pills after an injury

Submission + - Most Tech Professionals Are Happy Campers, Survey Says (

Tekla Perry writes: DICE national survey says most tech professionals around the country are like where they live, aren't stressed by the price of housing, and are generally happy (though people in tech hubs are stressed by their commutes). But they don't have deep roots--and most would move for a higher paying job.

Submission + - Oculus Co-founder Jack McCauley's Next Challenge: The Perfect Head-Tracker for V (

Tekla Perry writes: He used a webcam and LEDs to do position tracking for the Oculus DK2, but Jack McCauley, co-founder of Oculus and now working independently, says that's the wrong approach. He likes the laser scanning system of the HTC Vive better, but says its just not fast enough, and he thinks he can do better, using a design approach borrowed from picoprojectors. McCauley, speaking at this week's MEMS Executive Congress, says better tracking of head position will solve the problem of VR sickness, not more expensive screen technologies.

Submission + - Could Tesla Become the Google of the Internet of Things? (

Tekla Perry writes: VC David Hornik and other tech leaders join at AT&T's Palo Alto Foundry to discuss why Tesla could eventually own the IoT, why Augmented Reality is good (it doesn't make you throw up) and bad (too far off to make money), how the mining industry could drive the adoption of 5G, and why the current bubble will fizz, not pop.

Submission + - Was the era in "Steve Jobs" the movie the halcyon time of women in tech? (

Tekla Perry writes: Yesterday five of Steve Jobs' real-life leading ladies gathered in Palo Alto to talk about the movie vs the reality, and the state of women in tech then and now. All the women credited Jobs for creating a meritocracy and treating women no differently than he treated men, and shared stories about the real adventure of working with Steve. And yes, it really was a 512K Mac in the supposed 128K demo, but not because it needed to say "hello".

Submission + - Nokia Deal Proves Steve Perlman's pCell "Isn't Another Cold Fusion" (

Tekla Perry writes: Nokia Networks has agreed to deploy Artemis' pCell technology in its equipment, and a tier-one communications company will start real-world testing in early 2016. Widespread national deployment in the United States could happen in as soon as a year, Perlman said. “Doing a deployment in a city could take just a few months,” he said, “because we don’t need to be on towers, our antennas can be on rooftops or in windows. They don’t need to be aimed, because they are just tossing around interference.” The technology, which embraces rather than avoids interference and increases capacity of a network by a factor of 50, preventing the dramatic drop in cellular data rates typically experienced by users in crowded environments, has faced much skepticism since its unveiling nearly two years ago.

Submission + - Wikimedia, Zipcar, Fitbit Are Among IBM Watson's New Neighbors (

Tekla Perry writes: IBM is opening Watson West in San Francisco SoMa's district, with the intent of reaching out to tech companies who might benefit from Watson's particular approach to AI. If it gets its nearest neighbors on board, we'll be looking at Watson integrated with Wikimedia, Fitbit, Zipcar, Yelp, OpenTable, and...Burning Man. Interesting? Worrisome? Or, as Ken Jennings wrote when defeated by Watson at Jeopardy, should we be preparing to "welcome our new computer overlords."

Submission + - Hackers Hold Silicon Valley's Hometown Newspapers Hostage (

Tekla Perry writes: Sometime yesterday, 17 September, hackers took over the websites of Silicon Valley’s Embarcadero Media Group, publisher of the Palo Alto Weekly, the Almanac, the Mountain View Voice, the Pleasanton Weekly, and Palo Alto Online. The normal content was replaced by a message reading, in part,

“Greetings, This site has been hacked.

“Embarcadero Media Group (Almanac) has failed to remove content that has been harmful to the safety and wellbeing of others.

“Failure to honor all requests to remove content will lead to the permanent shutdown of all Embarcadero Media Group Websites.

“We do not forgive, we do not forget, we are legion.”

Submission + - Twitter's Tips for Making Software Engineers More Efficient (

Tekla Perry writes: “Engineering productivity is hard to measure,” said Peter Seibel, the tech lead of Twitter’s engineering effectiveness group. “But we certainly can harm it.” Seibel spoke this week at the @Scale conference in San Jose, hosted by Facebook. He says in large companies one third of software engineers shouldn't be working on the company's products, but should be dedicated to making other engineers more effective. “As an industry we know how to scale up software,” he said. “We also know how to scale up organizations, to put in management that lets thousands of people work together. But we don’t have a handle on how to scale up that intersection between engineering and human organization. And maybe we don’t understand the importance of that. We massively underinvest in this kind of work.” (Also, his dream for solving the problem of tech debt, that is, the things done quickly to get past a problem knowing they'd have to be cleaned up later, that compounds over time.)

Submission + - Package Delivery By Drone (with video) (

Tekla Perry writes: Take an electric delivery truck, add wireless charging on top and a drone that can carry 10 pounds for 30 minutes, and you have the perfect package delivery system. At least, that’s what the Workhorse Group thinks. Last week the company filed with the FAA for permission to deliver packages by drone, and this week it demonstrated the drone part of its technology at UTM 2015, a three-day convention focused on Unmanned Aerial System Traffic Management, being held at the NASA Ames Research Center this week.

Submission + - Happy Birthday Amiga Computer! (

Tekla Perry writes: The story of the Amiga computer is one of those classic Silicon Valley tales: a group of engineers sees a path open up to a technological future they are eager to explore, but the management at their current company isn’t interested in changing direction. So they go off on their own, passionate about their project. Maybe they didn't change the world, but they earned their place in computing history, and are worth celebrating.

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The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the fabricator and impossible for the serviceman.