Jul 14 2008
05:52 pm

John McCain, posting on his blog

The AP is spreading misinformation about McCain, saying he was "born before computers."

This is simply not true. Herman Hollerith invented the punched card tabulating machine (and those 80 column cards you keypunched your FORTRAN programs onto in college) in 1896. His company eventually became IBM in 1911, twenty-five whole years before John McCain was born in 1936.

Also, 1936 was the same year German inventor Knoran Zuze invented the Z1 electrical binary programmable computer in his parents' living room. It was programmed using punched paper tape, just like Bill Gates' first version of BASIC that launched Microsoft.

So AP, McCain's not THAT old. He's just, uhm, "experienced," and has, uh, "witnessed a lot of technological advancements" first hand.

bizgrrl's picture

I was hoping someone would

I was hoping someone would respond to that AP headline. It may bring a laugh, but let's not let the young people think it is true.

R. Neal's picture

let's not let the young

let's not let the young people think it is true.

Well, if your point is that young people think the history of computing begins and ends with MySpace and YouTube, then, yeah.

Nelle's picture

Alaska, the zip code, plutonium ...

This seems relevant.

WhitesCreek's picture

You photoshopped McCain's

You photoshopped McCain's head onto my body, didn't you?

Wait...No, can't be me. He's using more than two fingers.

Anonymous's picture

Konrad Zuse invented the

Konrad Zuse invented the first electronic computer in the 1930s in Germany. The ENIAC was the first completely electronic US computer, I think, and it is older than McCain by a couple years.

Charles Babbage is credited with the design of the modern computer in the mid 1800s: the difference engine. He never quite finished it, though.

Wilhelm Shickard's Calculating Clock in 1623 could be considered for that matter. Napier's Bones was a manual computer.

Babbage is it. McCain is younger :-)

gonzone's picture

Is it true?

Is it true that McCain learned his Republican values while sitting on Abe Lincoln's knee?

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
Hunter S. Thompson

Anonymous's picture

Who cares?

See "subject" line.

RayCapps's picture

Well, if you really want to chase it...

The first device I know of that might plausibly be called a computer would be the "Antikythera Mechanism" developed in Greece, possibly by Hipparchus, and dating to 150 to 100 BC.

If John McCain predates that, then I'm switching my vote away from Obama. Seemingly immortal beings just command that much respect with me.

bizgrrl's picture

Check out Grace Hopper. She,

Check out Grace Hopper. She, a computer scientist, was born 30 years before McCain.

A pioneer in the field, she was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I calculator, and she developed the first compiler for a computer programming language.

R. Neal's picture

Grace Hopper, the mother of

Grace Hopper, the mother of COBOL.

Sarge's picture

Thats not a smear people

Thats not a smear people its satire, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Yellow Dog's picture

If McCain doesn't want to

If McCain doesn't want to promote the image of being born before computers, he might want to talk less openly about how computer illiterate he is, which makes him sound, well, old. From a NYT interview:

"[McCain] said, ruefully, that he had not mastered how to use the Internet and relied on his wife and aides like Mark Salter, a senior adviser, and Brooke Buchanan, his press secretary, to get him online to read newspapers (though he prefers reading those the old-fashioned way) and political Web sites and blogs.

'They go on for me,' he said. 'I am learning to get online myself, and I will have that down fairly soon, getting on myself.'"

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