My Fourth of July Present to you: the geeky Congresswoman

Get in a patriotic mood by listening to our conversation with Zoe Lofgren, the world’s geekiest politician (she’s a Congresswoman from Silicon Valley). This is part of our trip to Washington DC.

“We’re boring,” she said, when I noted that Andrew Feinberg chastized me and other tech bloggers for not going to Washington DC more often (Andrew runs the Capitol Valley blog and setup these interviews for me).

After that bit of joking around we got into broadband policy, network neutrality, immigration policy, R&D incentives, and she tells us what geeks should pay attention to in the political world of Washington DC.

Enjoy, and enjoy the Fourth of July with your families. For those of you who aren’t Americans, see ya on Saturday.

Some notable things she said: “it’s ridiculous,” she said, that we’re increasing our prosecution of nannies and decreasing our prosecution of organized crime.

She advocated for a chief technology officer and decried that there are still lots of pieces of the government that are still working on paper.

Regarding advertising, she admitted that the technology is moving faster than Congress can move.

Thank you to Seagate, producers of great storage devices, for sponsoring this show, which makes it possible for us to bring stuff like this to you.

New York Times announces Times Machine

The New York Times building (new style)

Yesterday I got a great tour with my cell phone of the new New York Times building. While there I met some of the top geeks behind the New York Times and they told me a few things and showed me some interesting stuff.

In the Research and Development department they showed me:

  1. A prototype newspaper rack that could print out a custom version of the newspaper.
  2. Tons of gadgets, including a cool thin book reader following a discussion of metadata that the New York Times is collecting. They have these gadgets so they can develop new ways of delivering content to those devices. In this video they announced a Mac version of the Times Reader, coming “within days.”
  3. New York Times articles showing up on Google Earth while in their digital living room.

Then Stacey Green of NYT’s PR team took me up to the Boardroom where I got to see lots of famous photos and showed me the hallway where they have all the pictures of everyone at the NYT who has won a Pulitzer Prize — it’s like walking through history.

But my favorite interview was getting to talk with Architect Derek Gottfrid, who told me about this thing called Time Machine which is an archive of old issues of the New York Times that you will be able to look through — he gave me a good demo of it in the video I filmed. He told me how they used Amazon’s EC2 service to convert all the TIFF images to PDFs for this project. Then he also told me that Times Machine would be released Wednesday (tomorrow). Derek and his fellow coders keep a blog, by the way, which is most excellent for developers. I’ll watch for it to be released and will post the URL Wednesday evening after I get home (I’ll be flying most of the day on Wednesday).

Hope you enjoyed this little look around the “gray lady,” which is what staffers there affectionately call the New York Times. One thing they gave me a tour of, but asked me not to take video or photos of, is the newsroom. What an impressive place.

How impressive? Well, just check out what’s in the lobby. Hundreds of these little displays. Every few seconds they all change and show a different quote from someone famous in history as quoted in the New York Times.