John McCain has a problem. He's just not tech savvy enough, claiming that he "doesn't feel a particular need to email," describing his VP vetting process as "basically, it's a Google," and calling himself a tech "illiterate who has to rely on my wife for all of the assistance that I can get." But we feel bad for the aging senator, who if elected will be the oldest leader of any developed country in the world by the time he takes office. He's stumped by technology.
Well, John, DVICE is here to help. Pay attention for a minute or two and by November, you might just be ready to lead the free world in the 21st century — or at least not get creamed on any tech-related questions in your debates with Barack Obama. To read the 10 things you can do to get tech-savvy, just click on the Continue link, John (we write that for people like you, by the way).
1. Read Computers for Seniors for Dummies
This will serve as a great opener for you, Senator. Its hilariously convoluted title might require you to hide it inside some other more-prestigious-looking book, though, such as one of Adam Smith's economics treatises, or maybe you could just wrap it in the U.S. flag.
2. Get a Mac
Don't worry if computers seem complicated, because they make simple ones, and they're called Macs. They're pretty to look at, easy to set up (ask Cindy for help if you get stuck), and practically reach out and hand you all your e-mail. They're not exactly sold at bargain prices, but that shouldn't be a problem for someone who has rich republicans circling him 24/7.
3. Ask grandchildren for help
Any kid knows how to e-mail, has plumbed the intricacies of Google, and can even whisper some of the latest hepcat phrases for you to blurt out if someone starts blathering that tech talk during your stump speech. Your first question to ask the little grandkid darlings should be, "What's a meme?" so you'll be able to get all the "I can has prezidency?" and "All Your Base Are Belong to Us" Photoshops people are making of you.
4. Stop hating bloggers
I know, you said "I hate the bloggers," but you were just kidding, right? There's tons of info out here in the blogosphere, duplicated over and over again so it's easy to find for Net n00bs (ask the grandkids) like you. Might we suggest you start with DVICE, and also take a peek at Gizmodo, Engadget, Crunchgear and Shiny Shiny (to appeal that crucial female demo)? Don't forget to read what the big two mainstream gurus, Walt Mossberg and David Pogue, have to say.
5. Get a cell phone that does at least one more thing than make calls
OK, it doesn't have to be an iPhone, but just any cell phone that can do one measly thing more than simply call. Imagine: You could play solitaire on the thing, instead of engaging in that dangerous and tricky "straight talk" with those nosy journalists.
6. Get an iPod
Not only is it the easiest and most fun music player around, but using an iPod will get you used to how computers work today through iTunes. Trust us, rocking out to your own playlists will put you more in touch with the American people than any poll. But it might be a good idea to add an FM-tuner accessory for when you get tired of the five hundredth playing of "Johnny B. Goode."
7. Read the comments on YouTube (or DVICE) to see how vicious the online world is
Get a feel for how people communicate today in the pseudo-anonymous world of the Internet. Yep, the village idiot has gotten himself a computer and (almost) learned to type. But sometimes, from the mouths of babes comes truth. If you have time between thumbs-ups, take a minute to make a comment on something yourself, and then sit back and marvel at the resulting furor.
8. Keep track of your "Straight Talk Express" campaign bus with GPS navigation
Sure, when you're surrounded by Secret Service agents and are whisked everywhere you're going in stretch, armored limousines, GPS doesn't figure into the equation. But just for fun, get a handheld one that you can check out in the back of your bus when you're on the move. See how easy it is — even an old guy can do it. Be sure to yell those turn-by-turn directions to your driver!
9. Put Steve Jobs and Bill Gates on speed dial
These two dudes can fill you in on all the latest tech talk, and might even give you some pointers on how to convince people to do just about anything, possibly even fight fiercely on your behalf. Go ahead, call them up, anytime. I mean, you're John McCain — you can do that!
10. Pledge to send no less than five text messages a day
You see all those tech types surrounding you, each with his own BlackBerry? There's information coming through those things. It's all done with this cutting-edge "text messaging," sending little tidbits of info back and forth, arriving at your fingertips just when you need it. Hey, that could come in handy during the debates!