Elise Hu

Elise Hu is a reporter who covers the intersection of technology and culture for NPR's on-air, online and multimedia platforms.

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.

In our "Weekly Innovation" blog series, we explore an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Do you have an innovation to share? Submit with this form.

It was another busy week in the technology and society space, so we'll dive right into your weekly roundup:

Forget wearables, let's talk about inflatables.

Volvo's new child safety seat concept is a fully inflatable device designed to make what's normally a clunky and heavy seat both lighter and more portable.

So compact is this prototype that it goes from a stylish-looking backpack into a rear-facing car seat in less than a minute. You can pump it in the car — the seat comes with its own pump — and it's Bluetooth-connected so you could pump it remotely.

When inflated, the seat weighs just under 11 pounds.

This week, our tech reporting team is exploring cloud computing — the big business of providing computing power and data storage that companies need, but which happens out of sight, as if it's "in the cloud."

America is less religious than ever before. The number of Americans who reported no religious affiliation has been growing rapidly, doubling since 1990. That kind of rapid change matches another societal trend — growth in Internet use. The percentage of Americans who say they used the Internet went from nearly zero in 1990 to 87 percent this year.

There was really only one tech story last week — the potentially disastrous Heartbleed bug. This week, we return to more of a panoply of tech-related news, starting with NPR stories in the ICYMI section, the broader topics in the industry in The Big Conversation and fun links you shouldn't miss in Curiosities.

When we asked you about the changing norms for smartphone use in public spaces, hundreds of stories poured in.

Site administrators were sent scrambling this week when researchers disclosed the potentially catastrophic Heartbleed bug, a coding error that left much of the Internet vulnerable to data theft since March 2012. Here's our look back at Heartbleed coverage — and more.

Google Glass, the computer and camera you wear on your face, can be yours starting next Tuesday. Google has been rolling out Glass to a select group of "Explorers" since early 2013, but soon, anyone in the U.S. with $1,500 plus tax can get a headset at this link.

With a name like Heartbleed, it's no surprise it's bad. A vulnerability in OpenSSL — the Internet's most commonly used cryptographic library — has been bleeding out information, 64 kilobytes at a time, since March 2012.

"I would classify it as possibly the top bug that has hit the Internet that I've encountered, because of it being so widespread, because it's so hard to detect," says Andy Grant, a security analyst at iSEC Partners.

Microsoft is ending support Tuesday for Windows XP, which means the company won't be fixing any fresh problems that crop up with the 12-year-old operating system. "PCs running Windows XP after April 8, 2014, should not be considered to be truly protected," says a company statement.

The Mozilla controversy that played out over the past two weeks bursts with ironies. And this one is perhaps the most prominent: The free speech that Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich spent his life's work defending and enabling — and an open-Web revolution Eich helped lead — drove his unseating. It raises questions about how a company leader's personal convictions should be judged.

Brendan Eich, embattled co-founder of Mozilla and creator of the JavaScript programming language, has stepped down from his new role as CEO of Mozilla, the nonprofit foundation and tech company behind the Firefox browser.

For years, cyclists have faced long odds in Texas, where sprawling highways teem with trucks. Dallas was ranked the worst city for bicycling in the country, several years in a row. But in recent years, the two-wheeled form of transportation has begun to gain ground.

It's no surprise that progressive Austin — where the disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong still lives — has plenty of cyclists.

For the Internet community, the principles of free speech and equal rights are foundational. But in recent days, those issues are clashing at Mozilla, the nonprofit foundation and tech company behind the Firefox browser.

Happy weekend! If you've missed our tech coverage and the larger conversation at the intersection of technology and culture this week, here's your look back. ICYMI is what we reported on NPR, The Big Conversation includes news from all sorts of places, and Curiosities are important or fun links we think you should check out.

What was on your radar? What should we look out for next week? Tell us in the comment section below. We do read them, you know.

We are three weeks deep into an on-air exploration of women in technology through our midday show, Tell Me More. Host Michel Martin has led some really thoughtful conversations about the dearth of women in tech and the areas of notable improvement. Online, women leaders in the field have been tweeting a day in their lives since March 1, archived here if you want to check back.

We're already giving voice instructions to virtual personal assistants, like Apple's Siri. But artificial intelligence is getting even smarter. The next wave of behavior-changing computing is a technology called anticipatory computing — systems that learn to predict what you need, even before you ask.

Television show creators are peering into the geeky and moneyed world of computer programmers with a new comedy from HBO and a drama from AMC, both debuting this spring.

The task of building your very own toy, or robot, or radio can seem daunting for someone without much background in engineering. But a set of color-coded electronic bits that can be magnetically snapped together called littleBits is aiming to make creating your own electronics easy for everyone. It's like Legos, if only Legos could be connected into circuits that light up, move or make music.

"Circuits in seconds," promises the outside of the box.

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden will speak via videoconference to the attendees of South by Southwest Interactive later this morning, and you can bet a much wider audience than just those here in Austin will be watching.

Another hectic week in the technology space wraps up just as the massive festival for interactive geeks and the marketers who love them — South By Southwest — gets under way in Austin, Texas.

South by Southwest Interactive is the technology-driven part of the annual Austin-based festival for digital, film and music and it starts on Friday. An expected 30,000 people will take part in the interactive and film week that precedes music, and they love it for the spontaneity and the chaos. They also hate it because of the chaos — parties on every corner, marketing handouts at every turn and a sprawling program of panels, screenings and speakers that span at least a dozen city blocks in the heart of Texas.

For something that's become so ubiquitous in our lives, the World Wide Web is just a youngster. It was only 25 years ago that Tim Berners-Lee first created a rudimentary information retrieval system that relied on the Internet. It's since exploded into a primary means by which we learn, work and connect. (To put things in perspective, the film Die Hard is older than the World Wide Web.)

Facebook's foray into email ended Monday, when the social media giant quietly retired the email service that many users didn't even know existed. Users received a notice saying the @facebook.com email addresses they deployed are going away.

"We're making this change because most people haven't been using their Facebook email addresses, and we wanted to make it easier to view all your emails in one place," the message read.

If you are in the middle of a House of Cards binge, the news from Netflix over the weekend is good — video streaming quality will improve. After reports of declining performance in recent months, Netflix — which accounts for 30 percent of broadband traffic — cut a deal with Comcast to pay the cable provider for direct access to its systems.

No rest for weary tech reporters this President's Day week, as the news on this beat tumbled forth fast and furiously. A look back at some of the topics dominating conversation follows, with NPR coverage in the "in case you missed it" section, and largely curated coverage from elsewhere in "The Big Conversation" and "Curiosities."

Facebook's purchase of messaging service WhatsApp — at a price tag of up to $19 billion — is its largest acquisition yet. To put things in perspective, the social giant tried to purchase Snapchat for a fraction of that cost — $3 billion. And it successfully bought Instagram for $1 billion.

The numbers on women in the tech industry are so out of whack that ladies register in the single digits: Women account for just 6 percent of the chief executives of the top 100 tech companies, according to the National Center for Women and Information Technology. And a New York Times count found that only 8 percent of venture-backed startups are founded by women.

In our "Weekly Innovation" blog series, we explore an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Do you have an innovation to share? Use this quick form.

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