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, some of which we actually wrote quite a long time ago.

Ask Bill Q&A. A disgusting geek writes:

Q: What is this large, unattractive growth on my stomach?

A: How should I know? I do know, though, that the PC is leading us into very exciting times and that if you send me any more e-mail, I'll kill you.

Q: How many questions do you receive? What chance do I have of getting a personal reply?

A: Well, you've asked two. As for your second question, if you include a photograph of yourself in your underwear you are guaranteed a personal reply -- unless you are Lou Gerstner.

Ask Bill Q&A. A cynic writes:

Q: Is it true that you don't really write your own columns, but have PR people do it for you.

A: "Of course not. My readers are very important to me," said Gates at a recent press event.

Q: Why did you buy one of Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks?

A: What possessed you to write to me with such a dumb question? Fool.

Ask Bill Q&A. An insane person writes:

Q: Do you foresee a time when someone can buy a computer and not have to worry about upgrading it in six months?

A: Ha ha ha ha ha. Are you nuts? What would we all do then? Sit on our butts in some communist utopia? You should be grateful to live in a society where there is freedom to buy things, you commie.

Ask Bill Q&A. Someone who really needs to get a life writes:

Q: I really like this girl but I'm not sure how to approach her. Being such a stud muffin, what would you advise?

A. Well, when I want to impress a girl, I invent an operating system and name it after her. I used to like a woman called Wendy Indows, but she still wouldn't go out with me. Now I'm chasing her auNTy.

Ask Bill Q&A. A small businessperson asks:

Q: Are there any advantages to a big company adopting the approach of a small one?

A: No, but there are lots of advantages to a big company buying a small one.

Ask Bill Q&A. How to impress me in a job interview:

Q. How does somebody impress you on a job interview?

A. I like people who are open and friendly, just like my operating system. When an applicant walks in, instead of a formal handshake I prefer it if someone grabs me in a headlock and playfully ruffles my hair while saying, "How are they hangin' Bill you old so and so, you?"

Ask Bill Q&A. The importance of education:

Q: Do you regret not finishing college?

A: Do you regret not being the richest man in the world?

Ask Bill Q&A. Your computer:

Q. Is it true that the only computer you own is a 486 notebook?

A. Well, when I say it's a 486, it's actually a chip I made myself using a paper clip, three elastic bands and a clockwork mouse. The case of the notebook is made of old ice cream containers and the hard drive is a 7in single of Underworld's 1987 hit, `Underneath the Radar' with Windows 95 loaded onto the space between the grooves.

Q: Is it `right' to leave your computer on all the time?

A: No it isn't and you can read about this and my other 10 Commandments in my forthcoming book The Gospel According to Gates. This book will also give detailed descriptions of Windows Heaven 96 and Hell 96 -- the latter being where you end up if you leave your computer on.

Ask Bill Q&A. The wisdom of letting psychiatric patients near e-mail:

Q: I've often wished that I could travel back in time with one of today's computers just to see the look on the face of a computer pioneer as he sees my amazing machine. If someone from 1995 had time travelled back 20 years to you in your early Microsoft days with a modern laptop under their arm, what would your reaction have been?

A: Tell your doctor to double your dosage of Prozac and not let you near a PC again.

Q: Why is it that you fly in coach class?

A: How do you think I got so rich? You need to learn to be like me and work hard, then, and only then, can you do things like buy up cultural artefacts of the Western world for your own private amusement.

Ask Bill Q&A. Ask Mr Fu-fu:

Q: What is your nickname?

A: My friends usually call me Bill but my wife calls me SM (for StudMuffin).

Q: When did you start developing software?

A: The book's called The Road Ahead and it's $39.99. Just buy it, okay?

Q: Shouldn't you be laying off the Jolt cola?

A: Yes, perhaps you are right, I've calmed down now.