A more efficient American Revolution
You think your workload is tough? Imagine how it must have been for the Founding Fathers around this time in 1776, when they had to sit down, write, and ratify the Declaration of Independence. Let's give our forefathers a high-tech leg up. Here are 13 technologies—one for each colony—that would have expedited the Revolution and the drafting of that key document.
The men on the “Committee of Five,” who drafted the Declaration of Independence, lived in five different states. How did they get notes to one another? Nobody knows, but a simple tool like Evernote would have let them share ideas and clippings from the Massachusetts Spy much more easily.
Evernote | Free
For the hard task of writing the Declaration, a real word processor would have been invaluable.
Microsoft Office? There’s no way our liberty-minded lads would have agreed to the king's ransom asked for that software. Give me open source or give me death!
LibreOffice | Free
LibreOffice would have been fine for when Thomas Jefferson worked at home. But when it’s time to get collaborative, a cloud-based arrangement where everyone can pitch in is an even better idea.
On top of that, Google Docs allows for version control, so they could have rolled back changes if John Adams got a bit too excitable.
Google Docs | Free
Resolved: That John Adams may not have been the best typist, if the typewriter had been invented at the time.
Why not turn to the power of voice, then, and let the prose spill forth in a more free-flowing fashion than it does with a quill and a pot of ink?
Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 | $200
Livescribe Sky WiFi Smartpen
No time to train a voice-recognition tool because the British are coming? Try switching to handwriting and having it automatically digitized and transcribed into text, thanks to a digital pen such as the Livescribe.
Livescribe Sky WiFi Smartpen | $200
FFIM (Founding Father Instant Messaging) would have been great. Skype Premium would have been even better.
Through voice and video chats, the founders would have been able to convene in groups of ten to freely discuss the finer points of language used in the Declaration. Should it be tyranny or oppression? Decisions…
Skype Premium | $10 per month or $60 per year
Why limit the creation of our country’s most sacred manifesto to just five guys? Open it up to the rest of the colonists and crowdsource the thing instead.
Twitter would have given our forefathers an outlet to communicate with the masses—and to have the occasional hashtag smackdown, should one have been required.
Twitter | Free
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13
A true patriot can’t be lugging an 8-pound laptop all the way from Georgia to Philadelphia. An ultralight companion such as the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 would have fit comfortably in even the smallest of saddlebags.
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 | $1099
Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920
Nation-building can’t happen through email alone. It’s better to get the group working together by issuing everyone their own HD webcam—if only to see the grimace on Ben Franklin’s face over questionable grammar choices.
Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 | $100
HP Officejet 150 Mobile All-in-One
Getting 56 people to sign a single document is an inefficient way to go about doing things.
With a simple printer, everyone could have taken their own copy home for the night—you know, so the Founding Mothers could weigh in on things before anybody signed. A mobile printer would have made it easy to take the party anywhere.
Better yet, get rid of the pens and papers altogether. An e-signing system such as DocuSign Professional would have allowed the Declaration’s signers to autograph the famous document when and where they chose, no pen required…although, admittedly, the finished product would have looked much less impressive on display at the National Archives.
DocuSign Professional | $25 per month or $180 per year
Nothing against hardworking scriveners, but copying by hand is slow and prone to error. And just imagine how much parchment John Hancock would waste.
Burning copies of the Declaration of Independence to CD-R would have allowed them to stay tucked away for decades—ready to be copied perfectly over and over again for posterity.
Lite-On eNAU708 | $40
When the big document is finally finished and signed, what better way to let the world know about the new country that has just been formed than through a video upload on YouTube?
Even King George III would have been into it: Everyone knows that posting a good takedown in a response video is better than sending troops into battle to quell revolutionaries.
YouTube | Free