Monday, September 29, 2008

Why can't McCain use a computer?

I'm very, VERY tired of hearing what is either cynical mock indignance or abject ignorance from people claiming that the reason McCain knows nothing about computers is that war injuries keep him from using one.

Now there's a new idiotic ad in which a vet claims that Obama is attacking John McCain because of McCain's physical disability resulting from his injuries sustained as a POW. I really think there should be SOME enforceable standard of truth in political advertising, since normal libel laws don't apply to most political statements.

If Stephen Hawking can use a computer, I'd think a relatively spry old bastard who's been a senior member of the Senate Commerce Committee overseeing the telecommunications industry and the FCC can probably manage to do so without too much difficulty. I understand that McCain has difficulty raising his arms above his head, but I don't generally put my keyboard or mouse above my head to use them, so that point doesn't suggest that he'd have a physical problem with it.

Assuming that McCain has a dexterity problem with his fingers (I haven't seen this stated anywhere, I'm just covering the worst-case scenario) there are excellent voice-recognition programs available as shrink-wrapped consumer software such as NaturallySpeaking that offer extensive voice control of Windows computers. (Yes, Howard, there's a Macintosh product for the same purpose.) It's quite clear that McCain is capable of speaking, so if he has any desire to learn to use a computer he should be able to do so.

So much for manufactured controversy. Why does it seem too much to ask to have the campaigns and the media concentrate on issues of governance? There are certainly enough out there to keep the media involved, but I guess real issues less entertaining than what Palin is wearing today and whether or not Obama will invite Ahmadinejad for tea in the Rose Garden.

1 comment:

Howard said...

The Mac does have some limit speech capabilities builtin. It can speak arbitrary text. I knew people who used this to create audio versions of books to listen to while driving. It's also relatively easy for applications to be written that understand spoken commands. It makes the builtin in Chess program much nicer, though the only app I use it with is Tofu, which wraps long text into newspaper-like columns. Since I'm just reading, rather than dealing with scrolling via mouse or trackpad, I just speak, "scroll right".