Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 28, 2015

Posts in "Techie"

July 28, 2015

The Creamery Lives on as Hill Networking App

Hill staffers lamenting the loss of the Longworth Creamery can take solace on their smart phones, where the popular Capitol Hill haunt will live on through a networking app.

The brains behind the anonymous gossip app for Capitol Hill known as Cloakroom have developed a new mobile app called “The Creamery” for Hill staffers to connect with each other and discuss their next career moves. Full story

June 1, 2015

Thomas Massie Talks Tesla

Massie is seen in a reflection on the back of his Tesla pointing to his "Stand With Rand" magnetic sign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Massie is seen in a reflection on the back of his Tesla pointing to his “Stand With Rand” magnetic sign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When Rep. Thomas Massie drove up to the Capitol to support his Kentucky GOP colleague Sen. Rand Paul’s bid to halt provisions of the Patriot Act, the congressman’s car turned heads.

Massie drives a sleek black Tesla — the electric car from entrepreneur Elon Musk’s automaker. He explained that unlike traditional gasoline-powered automobiles, his transportation of choice will effectively run on coal, a natural resource that has long driven the Kentucky economy.

Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 1:07 p.m.
Stylin', Techie

May 19, 2015

Existentialists Watch, Wonder in Digital Cloakroom

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate’s real-life waiting rooms have gone digital with the Cloakroom service. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Capitol Hill can be a confusing place, even for insiders.

Just ask the growing army of perplexed public servants trying to figure out what it’s all about on the nascent sounding board/app Cloakroom.

According to Co-Founder Ted Henderson, the anonymous service has, over the past few months, garnered a respectable following among the glue that keeps the legislative branch together.

Sure, some disgruntled staffers use it to talk smack. Full story

March 25, 2015

Pwning a Piece of Presidential History

Following Monday’s conservative pep rally down at Liberty University, it’s obvious that 2016 GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz believes in himself. Personally investing in said product — or, at least, his online persona — is something entirely different.

(CQ Roll Call Photo Illustration)

(CQ Roll Call Photo Illustration)

The tea party favorite might be the first far-right candidate to officially call dibs on moving into the Oval Office post-44, but as Web watchers were quick to point out, he’s way behind the curve when it comes to staking out online positions.

“Note to self, buy domain name before running for President #YouCruzYouLose,” instapundit Chris Weidel, who redirected social media users to the pre-occupied TedCruz.Com site, ribbed the Texas Republican Senator on Twitter. Full story

March 11, 2015

Staffers Can Let It All Hang Out in Pseudonymous Cloakroom

Recovering Hill staffer Ted Henderson wants to liberate congressional aides from the specter of having their deepest, darkest work gripes traced back to them via pre-existing communication platforms.

His solution: the identity-eschewing Cloakroom.

(Screenshot)

(Screenshot)

Ex-Rep. Dale E. Kildee’s former aide, who mined his inside-baseball experience to create the online advocacy tool Capitol Bells, told HOH he carved out the haven for free expression to enable no-holds-barred dialogue among rank-and-file feds.

“The listservs are all based on your staffer email address, so everything you say is attributed to both you and your boss,” Henderson said of internal channels used for everything from talking up potential new hires to extorting favors. Full story

February 4, 2015

Congress Before the World Wide Web

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, works on his computer during a break in arranging his office.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, takes a break from arranging his office to work on his computer. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With computers in every congressional office and smartphones attached to lawmakers’ and staffers’ hands, it might be hard to remember what Congress was like before the Internet.

But for former Rep. Jim Coyne, it feels like yesterday. Full story

January 20, 2015

OK Go Aims to Help Drone Lobby Take Off

Is your office abuzz about unmanned aircraft systems? Allow OK Go to set your mind at ease about making the most of miniature flying contraptions during a pro-drone tutorial at the 9:30 Club (815 V St. NW).

Those interested in the eye-in-the-sky movement are welcome Wednesday to participate in the “Know Before You Fly” campaign’s star-studded rollout. The program is scheduled to feature a 90-minute presentation, followed by a mini-concert by OK Go — which utilized drones to capture the action channeled into the music video for its song, “I Won’t Let You Down.”

Full story

January 16, 2015

Laser Cat May Just Take Your Breath Away

Follow Friday. Feline Friday. Whatever you want to call our weekly tumble down virtual rabbit holes, there’s no escaping the fact that you MUST pledge allegiance to Laser Cat.

An amalgamation of music, art and animatronics, Laser Cat is scheduled to shower Yards Park with all kinds of visual funkiness next month. The eye-catching experiment, which has so far been nurtured by the Barcelona-based visionaries known as Hungry Castle and the Art Directors Club, thrives on a steady diet of fan-submitted art, fun-loving DJs and global destinations.

⚡️ Laser Cat Brooklyn ⚡️ from Hungry Castle on Vimeo.

Full story

December 17, 2014

John Dingell Wraps It All Up in Holiday Jingle

Rep. John D. Dingell, the retiring dean of the House, jokingly reflects on a lifetime of public service and the current state of congressional affairs in his latest holiday greeting.

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Michigan Democrat, who each winter lampoons the year that was, is concluding his tenure on the Hill after nearly 60 years. His wife, newly minted lawmaker Debbie Dingell, is set to succeed him in the 114th Congress. Full story

November 12, 2014

STEM Researchers to Dazzle Teens, Lawmakers With Science

A handful of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fellows are making the most of a whirlwind trip to D.C., huddling this week with administration officials and education-minded solons all in the service of stoking the analytical minds of tomorrow.

The quintet of Ph.D holders — Katie Brenner, biochemistry; Livia S. Eberlin, chemistry; Jennifer Laaser, polymer physics; Lauren O’Connell, chemical ecology; Sabrina Stierwalt, astronomy and astrophysics — have been brought to town by L’Oreal USA as part of its “For Women in Science” program.

In addition to pocketing $60,000 in research grants, the multi-talented fellows are getting VIP treatment up and down Pennsylvania Avenue.

The group was expected to touch base Wednesday with representatives from the White House Council on Women and Girls and the Office of Science and Technology Policy before bouncing over to the National Museum of Natural History for a behind-the-scenes tour of the gems and minerals collection.

They plan to make the rounds on Capitol Hill early Thursday (tentatively set to visit with Congressional STEM Education Caucus members Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y.) before broadening the horizons of two dozen local teens during a visit to the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The last stop of the public relation roller coaster is the For Women in Science Awards Ceremony set for 6:30 to 9 p.m. in the Women in the Arts museum.

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October 14, 2014

Test Class Already Hooked on Line-Skirting Dining Service

The super-secret Usher app has been helping a tight-lipped clique of well-connected bon vivants sidestep the restaurant reservation process for several weeks now. Rumor has it that some of the early adopters may not be able to go back to living without it.

The homegrown hospitality aid launched in “stealth mode” — a closely guarded roll-out extended to “influential” people in D.C., including an undisclosed number of Capitol Hill denizens — in early September.

(Screenshot)

(Screenshot)

“My boss says it’s like the Uber of restaurants,” our tipster shared. “He says that he was initially skeptical, but hasn’t used OpenTable or Yelp since.”

Per the tipster, Usher somehow enables users to “get access to exclusive clubs/restaurants without a reservation.”

Team Usher declined to comment on how many people have enrolled in the stealth cohort or which local restaurants have embraced the line-cutting program. But the clandestine company sounds like it’s almost ready to come out of its shell.

“Service is throughout D.C. with the intention to expand soon after public launch,” an Usher aide shared via email. Full story

September 17, 2014

NRSC Kicks It Old School Online

Turns out, the coding masters at Wide Eye Creative aren’t the only ones having fun behind your computer screen.

A National Republican Senatorial Committee operative said his group gave itself a little pat on the back during a recent Web overhaul.

 

(Screenshot)

(Screenshot)

 

“We’re the rare Republican ASCII-bird, I guess,” the tipster said of the three-dimensional NRSC logo embedded in the GOP portal’s back end.

HOH scanned a smattering of Republican-related pages in search of online “Easter eggs” similar to those WEC automatically weaves into its digital branding for Democrats, but we came up empty-handed.

Related story:

Web Firm Shows Democrats Extra Love Behind The Scenes

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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September 16, 2014

Web Firm Shows Democrats Extra Love Behind the Scenes

There are those who suspect that politicians and, by extension, their corresponding messaging operations, will say one thing even if they secretly believe something else entirely.

Not so with Wide Eye Creative, a Web design outfit which champions its clients every bit of the way.

BuzzFeed’s Jeremy Singer-Vine stumbled upon just how deep the site developer’s devotion permeates while sniffing around the back end of Senate hopeful Alison Lundergan Grimes’ campaign page.

 

(Screenshot)

(Screenshot)

 

Those who view the page via its assigned URL would never know about the ASCII love Team WEC tucked into the coding language — because it’s not meant for them.

“Just a nice little easter egg for anyone who looks at the code,” WEC creative director Ben Ostrower said of the digital valentine inserted into a jumble of characters that give the Web meaning.

According to Ostrower, WEC began seeding its political sites with similar signatures about a year ago. Full story

August 20, 2014

Fed-Up Hill Types Get LaRouche Revenge on Wikipedia

The August recess seems like the perfect time to hit the links, bask in the blessed absence of meaningless electronic blather — and perhaps settle a few political scores.

Lawmakers may be away for the next few weeks, but the automated watchdogs at congress-edits noticed that one busy beaver on Capitol Hill felt compelled to share a little something about the acolytes of socio-economic gadfly Lyndon LaRouche with the rest of the world.

The online tweak to the official Lyndon LaRouche wiki, as is often the case with these anonymous changes, was less than complimentary.

(Screenshot)

(Screenshot)

HOH hasn’t bumped into any LaRouchies since last fall. Full story

August 11, 2014

Hackers Jack GPO With Swedish Beats

Is it wrong that we kinda dug the risqué enhancement rogue computer programmers unleashed on the Federal Depository Library Program homepage late last week?

A tipster noticed a disturbance in the Government Printing Office-run force, a rump-shaking hiccup online watchdogs attributed to presumably Polish pranksters operating under the guise of “SoWa BeZ OkA.”

Another cyber-sleuth spotted a similar incursion — same digitized kitty, same Swedish pop soundtrack — executed against the Finnish government.

GPO spokesman Gary Somerset confirmed the FDLP site had been compromised, but assured HOH federal authorities were on it. Full story

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