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NGO_Vleeptron (aka "Bob from Massachusetts") recently featured LIVE on BBC WORLD SERVICE, heard briefly by Gazillions!!!

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24 June 2006

In the beginning, Bill created the Heavens and the Earth (virtually)

Yeah yeah just click 2 times
& fine things will happen

giggle I stumbled into this last night on IRC Undernet #pakistan. Buncha guys chattering on in Urdu

{incrediblysexyfellow} yadda yadda Bill Gates

{handsomebrilliantguy} yadda yadda MITS Altair yadda

{incrediblysexyfellow} yadda yadda 1976 yadda

and then one of them put up a URL and I clicked on the URL and found this rather amazing typewritten pissed-off letter from the ancient past, from a Time that kneweth not Britney Spears nor Beyonce.

I'm sorry, but this is why I admire this guy.

I built me a kit computer about two years after he wrote this letter, not a MITS Altair, but an IMSAI (the computer in the kid's bedroom in "War Games"), and it used the same chip (Intel 8080) as the MITS Altair -- the world's first home computer.

Well, my amazing incredibly expensive home computer mostly just sat there doing nothing -- I called it The $3000 Alarm Clock, because that was the fanciest thing I could make it do in Machine/Assembly language, I had to program it in 0010010011110001110 off the front panel switches. (I am slightly grateful that I had to learn Machine Language to make it do something more than be plugged in and make 16 little red lights glow oooooooooooooooo)

Bill Gates' first BASIC compiler/interpreter/whatever was the first piece of software I ever bought. I could afford it, it worked, and suddenly my IMSAI could do interesting, even useful stuff. Bill Gates brought my home computer to life, like Dr. Frankenstein brought the monster to life.

In the 28 years since then, whenever I've needed software, Microsoft has had it, they've charged me a price I could afford, and the stuff worked -- if not perfectly, better than anything else I could find. (And usually there was nothing else to find. A million other companies have sold software, but a day late and a dollar short.)

But mostly I admire Bill Gates because in 1976, better than anyone else on earth, he saw the Future so clearly that he was able to Shape it largely the way he wanted. Who cares if I don't like the way he created the Virtual World?

Visionary. Prophet. If you think those words give him too much credit -- well, who's been better at seeing 28 years into the Future?

If you think he's just a greedy capitalist pig, compare what he does with his life and his fortune to that Publicke Asshole Donald Trump.

I apologize that The World Is Not A Simple Place.
Bill Gates is doing more to help sick kids in the Third World than the US Government (Bush Administration). He and Melinda pay for their medical care, and they don't make them swear on the Bible to abstain from premarital sex before they can get the medicine.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heh it sure is a nice letter. It was actually me who posted that link that day on Undernet #Pakistan on IRC, and surprisingly while checking somethings at the server, i found your blog link.

Yeps, that letter from gates shows the future and intentions he had when he built his billion dollar empire.

Nice blog!


Blogger Bob Merkin said...

salam and yo Khurram --

hmmm i'll post this here and on undernetpakistan and hope ya read it.

well thanks for the nifty letter!

this is a crappy week for most of the dry surface of planet Earth. but just when you want to completely give up on it, you can crank up Internet Relay Chat and find another planet Earth, a virtual neighborhood of virtual neighbors merrily chatting away, and cutting through the Official Hatreds and the Official Ignorances, and learning about each other.

the infrastructure that makes that possible was whipped together, largely, by the bill gates guy.

right now, the USA's Official Villain du Jour is Iran, and Official Iran ain't too happy with the USA either.

I posted a few months ago about the thousands of people all over the world who are devoting their PCs' unused compute time to trying to solve the deep biochemical problem called Protein Folding.

on the world map on the Stanford University folding_at_home site, there are 2 dots, one in Tehran, and one in the university city in Iran's northeast, which indicate small clusters of PCs whose owners have chosen to join the worldwide effort to solve this biological mystery. For them, and for PC owners in Eurasia, Africa and the Americas, governments, and their threats and sabre-rattling and noisy bad breath, are irrelavent. All that matters is the hope that ten years from now, this new knowledge bubbling out of their PC may generate medicines to cure now-hopeless diseases.

and the practical infrastructure that hooks all this computing together -- more than anybody else, that's Gates' vision and pioneering and aggressively kicking the market in the butt until it did his bidding.

he didn't get that rich by trying to extort $2500 from me. i couldn't have afforded that for anybody's disk of zeros and ones.

he got rich by squeezing $50 here and $100 there out of me -- and every time I paid up, my computer could do a new burst of surprising and nifty new tricks. and so could a million other PCs all over the planet who ponied up $50 or $100.

ever see that made-for-TV movie "Pirates of Silicon Valley"? Find it. It's very fact-based, but hysterically funny and fascinating. It's not just about the visionary Bill Gates in those early years. It's also about the CEOs and brilliant businessmen of Xerox and IBM who were totally deaf, dumb and blind to the future of practical personal computing. (They're the ones who didn't drop out of Harvard.)

I'll stop now. Thanks for the nifty letter! Undernet Forever!


Anonymous Khurram said...

Hey again Bob,

Those are some nice thoughts there. Kinda deep but very true. Whats lovely is that more and more people are opening their eyes to the truth now and seeing the real picture, outside the box.

Just adding a few more thoughts to yours, if you compare the price spent on missions to "Mars" and "Space" explorations, that money alone can cure most, if not all diseases on this planet by producing and supplying drugs for free. But hey, who would make profits then! They have made chips the size of a grain now, they surely can make processors capable of parallel processing gigs of data and solving the unsolved mysteries. Only, if they were serious in helping humanity! sigh..

A little irrelevant, but here is a parody song from old times.. sometimes i just wish there was a song like this one for each piece of software we use today..

Anyways, crude blessings of the Silicon era continue and if they just haven't abandoned the Teledesic Internet in the Sky project years back, we would have been using free wireless all over the globe by now.

Only someone like Microsoft has the capacity in today's world to launch a project like that on its own..maybe they will! and Bill Gates does deserve the credit for using his mind at the right time, at the right place, when he started all this user friendly stuff! its stuff alright but its in every second home too.

Yeah, Undernet Rocks!


Anonymous Matthew said...

Hear hear!

I love the email rant that says something to the effect that "if you don't like Microsoft, you should make your own software and release it on the market and try COMPETING", i.e., stop the crying because someone else succeeded.


Blogger Bob Merkin said...

Hmmm okay Vleeptron feels obliged to Modify its old Rule

1. No Anonymous Driveby Comments without Links or I.D.s


1. No Anonymous Driveby Comments without Links or I.D.s, unless I like the Comment, or the Comment says flattering things about me and Vleeptron.

So Matthew, hope you check back here and read this. Thanks! What strange clickage led you to this Vleeptron post??

I shall take this unexpected opportunity to hope that our Great Publicke Asshole Donald Trump gets some loathsome sexually-transmitted disease which Folding@Home -- which Bill Gates and Al Gore (giggle) made possible -- may someday cure.

Yesterday Richard Branson, the Virgin Gazillionaire, convened a press conference in which he offered a huge cash prize to the scientist who discovers a method of neutralizing/eliminating Greenhouse Gasses from the Atmosphere. Al Gore sat next to Sir Richard.

Bill Gates wasn't there; my guess is he was busy with his and Melinda's activities on behalf of Third-World medicine.

Also not there was George Bush, whose administration thinks Global Warming is just a bunch of left-wing liberal crap.

What an odd moment this is. Governments proudly announce they are clueless to recognize and impotent to address Earth's greatest problems and perils. All they can do is rattle sabers and escalate hopeless liars' and scoundrels' and bigots' wars.

So Gazillionaires -- Gates, Branson, Soros -- are stepping up to the plate and Leading.

I don't love them, I don't want to have their baby. I acknowledge their naughty capitalist aggressiveness, and I don't forgive them for every one of their sins.

But compare how they act and behave with their incalculable Scrooge McDuck Money Bin profits with the way Bush and Blair act.

We're all careening toward the Future, with all its threats and troubles. Who's doing anything to avoid The Great Train Wreck Famine & Plague of 2045? Bush, the leader of the world's greatest military and economic Superpower? The New Rome is being led into the Future by Emperor Clueless Stupid I (later deified).

Matthew and Khurram, keep visiting Planet Vleeptron! Thanks for the interesting and terribly pleasing thoughts!


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