Elise Hu

Elise Hu is a reporter who covers the intersection of technology and culture for NPR's on-air, online and multimedia platforms. Beginning in 2015, she will be assigned to the network's new bureau in Seoul, South Korea.

She joined NPR in 2011 to coordinate the digital development and editorial vision for the StateImpact network, a state government reporting project focused on member stations.

Before joining NPR, she was one of the founding reporters who helped launch The Texas Tribune, a non-profit digital news startup devoted to politics and public policy. While at the Tribune, Hu oversaw television partnerships and multimedia projects; contributed to The New York Times' expanded Texas coverage and pushed for editorial innovation across platforms.

An honors graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia's School of Journalism, she previously worked as the state political reporter for KVUE-TV in Austin, WYFF-TV in Greenville, SC, and reported from Asia for the Taipei Times.

Her work has earned a Gannett Foundation Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism, a National Edward R. Murrow award for best online video, beat reporting awards from the Texas Associated Press and The Austin Chronicle once dubiously named her the "Best TV Reporter Who Can Write."

Outside of work, Hu is an adjunct instructor at Northwestern University and Georgetown University's journalism schools. She's also an adviser to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, where she keeps up with emerging media and technology as a panelist for the Knight News Challenge.

Each week, we round up the tech and culture stories from NPR and beyond. Let's do this, folks.

ICYMI

Each week, we highlight a design or product innovation that you might not have heard about yet. Many of them come through your submissions (here's the form), but this week's idea came to us from our NPR Two-Way blogger, Eyder Peralta, who thought this was pretty cool. We did, too.

Smartphones and tablets. You can't miss them, and your kids can't resist them. Even the smallest children — 40 percent of kids 8 years old and under — have used their parents' mobile devices, according to a survey out this week by the nonprofit Common Sense Media.

This week, we're exploring the tech frontier through the eyes of our children. So we're starting with the littlest ones — babies. Can certain kinds of screen time help babies learn?

To find some answers, I employed the help of my 1-year-old daughter, Eva. She's still a wobbly walker and the sum total of her speaking skills sound like gibberish. But she has no problem activating Siri, the virtual assistant on my iPhone. Her 16-month-old friend, Lily, is even savvier with the gadgets.

One of the major issues that's emerged since the failed rollout of HealthCare.gov is that there was no lead contractor on the project. (CGI Federal was the biggest contractor — awarded the most expensive contract — but says it did not have oversight over the other parts of the system.) Instead, the quarterbacking was left to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a subagency of the Department of Health and Human Services.

A "tech surge" is underway to help clean up the code of the error-plagued HealthCare.gov site.

It's time for your Friday week in review, a look at the big headlines and conversation in the tech and culture space.

ICYMI

It's Friday, which means we're rounding up the tech headlines and our NPR coverage of technology and culture this week.

ICYMI

How's this for a sign of our digitally addicted times: Users swipe their screens to unlock their phones an average of 110 times a day, according to data from the app company Locket.

"We don't think we are unlocking our phones that many times because we don't sit down and count," says Yunha Kim, CEO and co-founder of Locket.

One week after its rocky rollout, the federal site to help you sign up for health insurance exchanges went down again overnight for additional software fixes. The Obama administration says the technology powering the marketplaces buckled under unexpectedly high traffic. But the ongoing software hiccups for healthcare.gov point to a much thornier problem: procurement processes.

Someone's taken credit for the shadowy billboard on the 101 Freeway near San Francisco — a plain white sign with black text reading, "Your Data Should Belong To The NSA." We wondered about it last week and got some interesting theories in the comments.

sugar daddy (noun): a well-to-do usually older man who supports or spends lavishly on a mistress, girlfriend, or boyfriend

The government shutdown may have become a boon for one kind of online dating site — those that help users find sugar daddies.

The tech news kept a-comin' this week, so we've got a lot to cover in our weekly roundup. Here we go ...

ICYMI

When federal agents made their bust of Silk Road, the Internet's largest and most sophisticated underground illicit goods market, they unmasked its mastermind and owner, who went by the alias "Dread Pirate Roberts." According to the FBI, he is a 29-year-old Texan named Ross Ulbricht.

It's not every day federal authorities get to bust a case like this. It involves millions of dollars, illicit drugs and a would-be assassin, all of which allegedly were bought and sold on the Internet, in a shadowy online marketplace known as the Silk Road. On Tuesday, federal authorities shut down that site and arrested 29-year-old Ross Ulbricht, the man they say is its mastermind.

Many Americans got "please wait" messages Tuesday when they tried to start shopping for health coverage on the federal government's new health insurance website, healthcare.gov. A series of technological glitches, delays and crashes kept people from getting to several of the 16 state exchanges, too.

If you or your child has a school report due tomorrow, the Census Bureau site will not be available to help. Census.gov and its affiliates, like American FactFinder and online surveys, are offline as part of the federal government's shutdown. The same goes for the Federal Trade Commission's site, the Agriculture Department's USDA.gov and the Library of Congress' site, which can also be a rich resource of reference information.

It's time for your NPR All Tech Week in Review! Here's a rundown, in case you missed any of the technology and culture coverage on the airwaves and around the interwebs this week.

ICYMI

Phantom vibration — that phenomenon where you think your phone is vibrating but it's not — has been around only since the mobile age. And five years ago, when its wider existence became recognized, news organizations, including ours, covered the "syndrome" as a sign of the digital encroachment in our lives. Today, it's so common that researchers have devoted studies to it.

This morning, I griped about the acc, our newly coined name for the practice of copying a third party on an existing email chain to undermine or pull rank on the original recipient. (The A can stand for angry, awkward, annoying ... or other A-words you might be thinking of ...)

A middle school jab goes something like this: "We're having an A-B conversation, so you can C your way out." I bring this up because there's a workplace parallel to this that doesn't seem to have a name. It's when you're having an A-B email conversation and one party suddenly copies your boss, manager or someone more senior, in order to get an advantage in the discussion at hand.

Here's a mystery involving physics, technology and the markets that meant the difference between nothing and millions of dollars.

It's time for the weekly roundup of what happened here on All Tech and on our airwaves, and a look back at the big conversations in technology.

ICYMI

Scanning the Internet today, I found a pair of pieces by writer and columnist Clive Thompson — one, for The Globe and Mail, another, for Wired magazine, that focus on how our brains get a boost when we're using social media and blogging.

"The fact that so many of us are writing has changed the way we think," he writes in Wired. "Just as we now live in public, so do we think in public."

The whole beauty of fantasy sports is that you can manage teams of pro athletes without ever leaving your couch. The process of drafting teams, betting on the success of individual players and trash-talking with your similarly obsessed friends takes place on Web and mobile platforms, and that makes the fantasy sports pastime about more than just bragging rights. It's become a billion-dollar business.

Not long ago, we reported on a new University of Michigan study that found the more young people used Facebook, the worse they felt. According to the research, Facebook use led to declines in moment-to-moment happiness and overall life satisfaction.

Not a slow news week in the world of technology and culture. But as we do each Friday, we've collected the stories you might have missed from NPR and our friends in the tech reporting universe.

We usually separate the week's big conversations from what you might have missed on NPR, but since we covered the major topics of conversation, here's one big roundup:

The tech industry's sometimes sexist "brogrammer" culture came into focus at least twice this week, making it as good a time as any to highlight the running conversation about how to constructively change the systemic, entrenched issues that allow for offensive apps like Titstare, which was presented at a tech industry hackathon.

Pages