Cool Tools podcast guest: Jennifer Pahlka, founder of Code for America

My guest on the Cool Tools Show podcast this week is Jennifer Pahlka. Jennifer is the Founder of Code for America, a nonprofit dedicated to proving that government can work for all people in the digital age. She served as the U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer under President Obama, and founded the United States Digital Service dedicated to the same idea.

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Show notes:

Phaxio, a modern fax platform

“I will have to admit upfront, I'm not actually a coder, but I do work with our coding teams here at Code for America, and what I like about Phaxio is that it's sort of a hack, not just on sort of services, but on government. What we do here is we try to make services that work much better than the government services as it's offered. For instance, if you want to apply for food stamps in California and you want to do it online, you’ll go through an application form that’s over 50 screens long. … One of the things we started doing was just making a better online form and then having that form create a fax and then faxing it into the office. It turns out the place where faxes are still really, really useful is in government services, in government offices. I never would’ve said, 10 years ago, that fax was key, but it really is for the work that we do and it really helps us hack bureaucracies."

Selenium WebDriver

“I’d say [this is] like the next steps in making services that can sit on top of government services a lot easier to use. Read the rest