There aren't many companies that are "cooler" for a hacking genius to work for than Apple. But Tesla Motors is one of them. So, not too surprisingly, through some combination of incentives, the electric car rock star has reportedly lured away a Silicon Valley notable who had the title "Hacker Princess" at Apple. Seriously, that was her title.
Whatever or however she hacks, she must be good. No one is giving too much information away with regards to what this princess will be doing at Tesla, but she has noted on her Twitter account that it is "something security-related" and that she "shouldn't say too much." Her job title on LinkedIn is now "Security Geek at Tesla."
One thing not many people know about Tesla is that it was actually founded by a computer software engineer and a computer hardware engineer. Elon Musk—the face of Tesla, its CEO, its Chairman, and its Product Architect—was initially just an investor in Tesla. While the Tesla Model S is revolutionary for being an extremely high-performance electric car (widely considered the best mass-produced car of any type on the planet), the degree to which software controls the car is also revolutionary.
When the Tesla Motors team makes an improvement to the Model S (which it is continuously doing), that is incorporated into Tesla Model S's across the world just as is done with updates to your iPad or iPhone. As just one extreme example of that, Tesla had to issue a "recall" of some Model S's recently. However, unlike every other car on the market, which actually has to go back to the dealer for the fix, these recalls all happened virtually. Tesla upgraded their software without ever having to touch a customer's vehicle. From the Tesla blog:
A variety of factors such as corrosion, physical damage to receptacles, or inappropriate wiring or installation of electrical outlets can cause higher than normal electrical resistance when using the Universal Mobile Connector (“UMC”) NEMA 14-50 adapters to charge Tesla Model S vehicles. When charging, higher than normal electrical resistance connections to external energy sources may cause excessive heating of the adapter. In December 2013, Tesla released an over-the-air software update to address this issue, enabling the Model S onboard charging system to automatically reduce the charging current by 25 percent if it detects unexpected fluctuations in the input power to the vehicle. This fully addresses the issue by substantially reducing the heat generated in any high resistance connections outside the vehicle. This update increases robustness and safety considerably in the unlikely event that a home wiring system, receptacle, adapter or cord is unable to meet its rated current capacity.
Because this was an over-the-air update, customers can confirm receipt without having to bring their vehicles into a Tesla Service Center or other location by simply tapping on the 17” touchscreen and verifying that their Model S is running software version 5.8.4 or later.
So, coming back to Tesla's new hacker princess. Who knows what she's going to be doing, but she must be psyched to be working with such a stellar and innovative cleantech startup, a place where hackers are akin to gearheads.
Below is a little more info on said hacker princess, Kristen Paget, from Twitter and AutoblogGreen.
Short bio on Twitter: "I hack things - electric cars, currently :)"
From ABG: "Paget joined Apple in 2012 after spending time with Microsoft, where she was responsible for security in the Vista operating system. Paget was also known within the Silicon Valley cognoscenti for her instructions on how to build a fake cell tower that could intercept cellphone calls."
Seems like a good person to have on your side.