Don't Ask Bill
Bill Gates pens a semi-monthly column which is distributed to more than 120 newspapers internationally through the New York Times Syndicate. The column alternates essay and question and answer formats. Topics and questions come directly from readers. But since Bill Gates has a life of his own here on Gusworld, we thought we'd give him free reign, even though he didn't pen a single word of what follows.

Q.What are the advantages and disadvantages of being an entrepreneur?

Well, the advantage is being really, really rich, having your choice of the babes and getting to put the word entrepreneur on your passport where it says "occupation".Disadvantages include having to learn how to spell the word Entrepreuner correctly.

Q. Do you ever get bored?

Well I mostly don't have the time to get bored, but to tell you the truth, you bore me shitless. I started reading your letter and the the drool started coming out of the left hand corner of my mouth. Then my wife walked in and she balled me out because she saw me at the computer dribbling and assumed I was looking at again and she got really, really shitty and said she was sick of me looking at porn. So basically you've caused me so much trouble that I've hired someone to kill you.

Q. What kind of people attract you?

Well, I'm looking for someone who like Pina Colada, gettting caught in the rain, someone who's not into yoga and they have half a brain. Oh, I also like making love at midnight. Damn it, you attract me. You send a shiver down my spine as I just read your e-mail. God, you drive me wild.

Q.Do you foresee a time when it will be desirable or even necessary to have only one worldwide language? And will it come about because of the Internet?

I invented the computer language BASIC in 1975, and I think it would make a great universal language.

20 END

That's how you say 'Hello' in BASIC. Neat, hey? You can also say much more complicated things: for instance, this is what I would say to Scott McNealy, the CEO of Sun, who just took me to court:

20 YOU
50 GOTO 10

That's 'How are you today, McNealy old son?' In fact, I may say this when I face him across the courtroom, if Mr Bigfist doesn't get there first.

Q.Have you ever failed at anything?

I failed to get tickets to Kylie Minogue's Rhythm of Love tour. I thought, "I'll just finish writing the code for the clock in Windows 3.1 and then I'll go" and then when I finished Steve Ballmer came in and asked if I wanted to have a game of Electronic Battleship and then I finally got down to the ticket office and the woman said they'd just sold out. Indecent Obsession were the support act, as well. And I lost that game of battleship. My life sucks.

Q. Kindly share your thoughts on recent victory of a computer over chess champion Gary Kasparov.

A. That wasn't recent at all. You're silly and I don't like you.

Q.Many companies and industries will have to restructure in response to information technology. Some will be indefensibly impacted. Which industries will be affected first?

If I have my way it will be Borland, but I think that they can achieve that without my help. As for industries that will be impacted, I think the typewriter and abacus industry will be hard hit. Also paper companies that make that paper with the holes in it for dot matrix printers. And 5.25" floppy disc makers.

Q.Could you offer perspective on the "network computer"?

Well, surely your brain does that for you. You look at a network computer and some bits of it look further away than others. If you mean "What do I think of the network computer?", well, I think it is just swell. I really like the way you can't attach it to a printer and I really, really hope that everyone stops buying PCs with Windows on it and buys an NC instead. Fuckhead. I mean, I've only been going on and on for two years to anyone who will listen, from Comdex to in bed with my wife, about how stupid the NC is and you ask me what I think of it. What do you reckon I would think of it? It was only designed to break my stranglehold in the computer industry and I think it's just fucking great.

Q. Will the demand for new PCs stay strong over the next 10 years? Or will companies decide to stick with what they ve got?

I think it was Bryan Ferry who said "Come on, come on, let's stick together". Then Jerry Hall left him and married Mick Jagger. Not many people know that as part of the deal we made to use 'Start Me Up' as the Windows 95 theme song, I'm allowed to ring up and laugh at Bryan whenever I want. Sometimes I ring up when it's three o'clock in the morning in London and just cack myself.

Sorry, I got distracted there for a minute. The answer to your question is: as long as we keep pumping out new versions of Windows which require 48 times the processing power of Deep Blue, market demand will be really pumpin', babe. Can I call you that?

Q.Is the rapid rate of change a social problem?

No, it's more like a mathematics problem. You can express it as an equation:

change = new stuff - old stuff/Time

I didn't spend ten minutes at college for nothing, you know.

Q.Are you right-handed or left-handed?

Well, it depends what I'm doing with my other hand while I'm masturbating. Did I write that? As if! I can afford twenty people for each testicle, me. Although then the sauna gets a bit crowded.

Q.How do programmers link up all their parts to form the whole?

That's the stupidest question I've ever, ever, ever heard! Lamebrain! Programmers are just like other people. Our parts are connected by blood and tissue and whatnot. On the outside, velcro and press studs keep it all hanging together.