Tech blogger Robert Scoble, formerly of Microsoft and now with Fast Company, spent some time hanging out in the Times' research and development division, which exists (really?), and filmed some of their wacky publishing experiments. One innovation, set to go online today, is a browsable interface to the Times' historic back issues, which have been available through search but which can now be viewed as a series of front pages through an interface called Times Machine. More interesting: A prototype newspaper rack with a digital window display and the ability to generate custom versions of the newspaper. Of course, newspaper companies like the Times have been imagining the future for decades, and have jumped in at the earliest stages of most technological leaps, from radio to satellite data transmission to the internet. But they've never known their customers well enough to lead in the application of technology, and it's by no means clear whether the Times can make itself the exception to that rule, geek lab or not. Judge for yourself after watching a video clip of the magic rack after the jump.

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[Scobelizer via Fimoculous]