Her Task Is to Wean the White House Off Floppy Disks • ©[NYTimes.com]
Ms. Smith, 50, an M.I.T.-trained mechanical engineer and former Google executive, is working hard to bring her Silicon Valley sensibility to the Obama administration. But four months into her job as the chief technology officer of the United States, the woman whose division at Google dreamed up Google Glass and the driverless car is facing culture shock in a federal bureaucracy ruled by creaky technology and run in part on the floppy disk.
Not only does she now carry a BlackBerry, she uses a 2013 Dell laptop: new by government standards, but clunky enough compared with the cutting-edge devices of her former life that her young son asked what it was.
So far, she has adopted a cheery tone.
“We’re on it,” she said of trying to solve the administration’s technology problems a year after the disastrous rollout of the federal health insurance website, healthcare.gov. “This is the administration that’s working to upgrade that and fix it.”