20 tech promises Obama should make

Everyone and his grandma has an opinion on Barack Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention. Well, here's our nickel review: Too light on tech. The man may generate hype like the second coming, but we suspect tech-savvy voters like ourselves would like a little more substance.

Hey, Barack, like all politicians, you're promising us the world. Well, if you can do all that, certainly you could solve a few tech problems, too. So, sir, here’s our list of 20 campaign promises you could make to help win the iPhone-owning demographic. We'd love it if you could steer the full power of the executive branch toward making all these technological conveniences commonplace.

1. Capless fuel filler, no more gas caps
Ford has finally come up with an idea all vehicles should have: a capless fuel filler that works like a receptacle for the gas pump nozzle. Make all car manufacturers put these on their 2010 cars. No more unscrewing the fuel filler cap, just plug it in and pump.

2. Toggling elevator floor buttons
We need an "undo" on elevator buttons. A simple toggle switch would do the trick, oh miracle-working politician. Make it so.

3. Cozy Suite airplane seats
Even you can’t fix the airlines, but at least order them all to install some Cozy Suite seats, giving economy-class passengers privacy and comfort that’s a tiny bit like First.

4. Solar panel roof on every car
Millions of cars are sitting in sunny parking lots all over America. If they all had solar panels (like the upcoming Priuses), and then the country will be our solar collector. They can use that juice to power their air conditioners, and if there’s any power left over, maybe the rest could be fed into the residential power grid.

5. Auto online backup
We’ve been remiss, not backing up everything as we should, but even a third-rate miracle worker could require all operating systems to be regularly backed up online. Forget Apple’s “Time Machine.” We want federally mandated backup!

6. Online copy of all magazines online for subscribers
Magazines are dead, and you should make it official, Mr. President. Just sign a presidential decree that all their content must be online exactly as it is in their paper magazines — available to subscribers only, of course.

7. RF remote controls
Infrared (IR) remote controls seemed OK a few decades ago, but proclaim them illegal, oh holy one. Demand that all use RF (radio frequency) from now on, and spare us the heartache of the remote not working unless it’s pointed directly at the TV.

8. Unlimited broadband
Sure, they say it’s “unlimited broadband” (well, they’ve shied away from that lately), but get that big bad government jumping all over those service providers, making them actually provide unlimited broadband so we can watch our Apple TVs and Hulu in peace.

9. No air conditioning unless it's solar
If you just declare that nobody will stay frosty on a scorching day unless they’re using solar powered air conditioning, we’d see the fastest uptake of solar energy in the world. Hit people where they hurt, Barack, and make them sweat if they don’t comply.

10. Easy-open biodegradable packaging
Smack down the cruel packaging industry, which creates bulletproof packaging that’s impossible to open unless you’re using a razor-sharp jackhammer. In fact, half the packaging fobbed off on consumers is unnecessary and even dangerous, so make them stop!

11. Commercial-free movie theaters
We pay $10 for a ticket and they still bombard us with 27 minutes of commercials (we timed it). And yes, movie trailers count as commercials. If it’s OK to search anyone without cause and torture those who won’t talk, surely it would be simple to make this illegal.

12. Cell phone jammers in movie theaters
While we’re talking movie theaters… no cell phone service, no annoying rings, no way. Jam those signals in every theater in the U.S. of A.

13. “I’m OK, you’re OK” airport security
There must be some way to put together a database that pre-screens frequent fliers. This phony circus that is supposed to be airport security is a joke. Oh yes, there's a database, but that’s called the “No-Fly List.” We need a leader to expedite that Registered Traveler system that’s in the works to let you breeze through security, nationwide.

14. WiMax at 1 gigabit/sec for connectivity everywhere
Solve that monopoly problem where weasel companies such as Comcast and Time Warner gouge customers with no recourse. Let us wirelessly jack into the net anywhere, anytime, and make sure there’s competing providers to keep them honest.

15. TiVo-like pause/rewind on every car radio
OK, we do listen to NPR, but sometimes miss what they’re saying because, uh, we were busy driving. Put transport controls on every radio, giving it TiVo-like freedom to pause, rewind and fast-forward radio shows.

16. Real-time traffic on every GPS
Could the interconnectivity of the Dash Express GPS unit become standard on every GPS unit? They could all talk with each other and the net, reporting traffic tie-ups to each other and making life grand.

17. Outlaw DRM
It might take a miracle to figure out how to be sure artists get paid for their work, but make the record companies and movie studios stop suing their customers.

18. No more passwords
Passwords aren’t working, and even if they were, we’re getting sick of remembering dozens of strings of alphanumeric characters and PINs. Can’t somebody figure out how to use fingerprints, eye scans or voice recognition to securely prove identity?

19. Wi-Fi and video in every plane seat
The Republican Party promised a chicken in every pot back in 1928, but now it’s the 21st century, so Barack, you need to promise Wi-Fi and video in every airplane seat.

20. One-button hotel check-in
Order all hotels to install technology so those clerks don't have to do 139 button presses (we counted) just to give us a lousy room key. How hard can that be, oh anointed one?