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Microsoft

Bill Gates Answers Questions From Redditors 154

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First time accepted submitter rroman writes "Bill Gates is answering questions on reddit. He talks about the work that is being done by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, about his life and about his opinions on various topics." Jump right to the answers.
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Bill Gates Answers Questions From Redditors

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  • Looking forward to watching the usual mental gymnastics from you guys trying to make him out to be evil or something. Bonus points for not reading a word he says.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 11, 2013 @09:02PM (#42867281)

      Think about the last time you saw Bill Gates on television. Did he look normal? Did he look quite how you remember him? If you were paying attention, you would have noticed that something was not quite the same.

      The Chinese character for the JFK assassination looks a lot like the character for Bill Gates's name.

      Invested parties have done a lot to make sure this stays under wraps.

      In 1750, Benjamin Franklin was observed by over fifteen residents of Philadelphia as he branded an unidentified man with an Illuminati insignia. He was overheard telling one of his associates, "my work will be done once Bill Gates arrives to complete it."

      If modern society hadn't drugged most ordinary people into a passive stupor of acceptance, we'd have done something about this long ago.

      Shortly after the JFK assassination, the number of diabetes cases in children born to parents living nearby almost tripled. However, the government refuses to research this effect or compensate the affected families.

      Corporate interests are preventing us from getting the truth out.

      Consider the facts, and ask yourself: are you willing to let them get away with this? The answer should be a resounding no.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Aaaah Slashdot. You never disappoint.

      • I read that in a Tracy Jordan voice.

      • by chrismcb (983081)

        Consider the facts, and ask yourself: are you willing to let them get away with this?

        They can get away with it, as long as they bring me my Breakfast Mountain Dew

    • Re:Looking forward (Score:5, Interesting)

      by earlzdotnet (2788729) on Monday February 11, 2013 @09:03PM (#42867289)
      I think we've all moved on to Steve Ballmer being an idiot rather than Bill Gates being evil
    • by rolfwind (528248)

      The human need to paint characters in black and white is annoying. Evil Gates is as annoying as those that want to paint a hagiography of him and not accept any criticism.

      Looking forward to watching the usual mental gymnastics from you guys trying to make him out to be evil or something. Bonus points for not reading a word he says.

      He was a ruthless businessman and set back computing in some ways that we are still feeling today. He's doing amazing things with his fortune since then.

      • by Alex Belits (437) *

        He's doing amazing things with his fortune since then.

        Throwing money at the crowds of poor people is not "amazing", and this is what all "charity" of the rich always amounted to.

    • by islisis (589694)

      If you see the potential in emerging technology, have a fortunate enough background to mark a sizeable degree of influence, proclaim yourself part of the movement by accepting the efforts of a sea of talented peers, and then on the cusp of a social revolution, turn it into a closed system, ignore a history of dedicated research culture which aimed to increase possibilties, not curate them, you no longer are capable of understanding your own role in the deviation of that potential back towards to the establi

  • by xtracto (837672) on Monday February 11, 2013 @08:59PM (#42867249) Journal

    Sign of the times... when /. is linking to Reddit.

  • Not as much as I would like to. I write some C, C# and some Basic. I am surprised new languages have not made more progress in simplifying programming. It would be great if most high school kids were exposed to programming...

    Does Gates not know about Python? Python IMO is a whole lot easier to learn than BASIC ever was and you can do a lot more with it. And Python is much easier than C/C#/C++ to learn and is much, much, much cleaner than Java.

    Slap on a few libraries and you can do just about anything in Python in less lines of code. AND you can actually read it when you're done :)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Well, at least he actually knows how to program. Take a look at the CEOs of HP, IBM, Oracle, Dell, SAP, Cisco, . . . etc.

      Most of them probably can't even manage to program themselves out of a paper bag.

      Now, what programming languages does Steve Ballmer know . . . ?

      • Steve Ballmer may not know much about programming, but he knows some useful language constructs. Like looping. Or exceptions.
      • Now, what programming languages does Steve Ballmer know . . . ?

        Oh, he knows Turbo Pascal quite well...

      • Well, at least he actually knows how to program. Take a look at the CEOs of HP, IBM, Oracle, Dell, SAP, Cisco, . . . etc.

        Most of them probably can't even manage to program themselves out of a paper bag.

        I'm working on the documentation for my game engine's (domain specific) entity interaction language. Thank you for your help in naming the example project that comes after the eponymous "Hello World". With a small change to the shape of the objects and the forces being applied from within rather than externally, the simplistic collision detection demo shall be dubbed "Paper Bag" so that we may finally have a definitive test with which to quantify the aforementioned skill level.

    • by Kwyj1b0 (2757125)

      Does Gates not know about Python? Python IMO is a whole lot easier to learn than BASIC ever was and you can do a lot more with it. And Python is much easier than C/C#/C++ to learn and is much, much, much cleaner than Java. Slap on a few libraries and you can do just about anything in Python in less lines of code. AND you can actually read it when you're done :)

      While that might be true, it still doesn't say much about the ease of learning Python compared to other traditional activities a high school student might engage in. I think Python is fairly neat, but I think that the abstractions required for modern OOP languages is something that is not easily understood by most people. Remember, this is high school he is talking about.

      What you'd need is a language that is easy to learn, and can be related to other classes/life without too much programming. For example,

      • by mrxak (727974) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @04:24AM (#42869175)

        Everyone in my class learned Logo in 3rd grade. In middle school they taught everyone HTML. In high school we were using Scheme in several math classes.

        I also learned C++ and Java in high school, though admittedly that was not everyone, and it was AP level classwork.

        I think the earlier you teach kids computer languages, the better, and the quicker they'll pick it up. I don't think OOP is something terribly scary. After all, objects is kind of what people have to deal with every day in the real world. You explain it as nouns and verbs, and it's not that hard to understand.

    • Python... our ultra underground language that only the super secret priesthood of unix admins knows about?? You are letting our divine truth out to the unthinking public! You better believe you are going to get shunned at the next invocation.
    • Nah, his comment is informed by the 90s, when people were coming up with all kinds of programming tools that would bring programming to the masses. Something like Visual programming languages [wikipedia.org]. There's a reason it's called visual basic, which has sometimes been described as drag-and-drop programming.

      He's wondering why no one has built an easy programming language that anyone can use. You can use mixins in Python, it's not an easy language.
    • by thue (121682)

      > Python IMO is a whole lot easier to learn than BASIC ever was and you can do a lot more with it.

      The language you already know every corner of is almost always faster if you just want to get something done.

      Since Microsoft got started with a basic compiler [wikipedia.org], I assume that Bill Gates know BASIC pretty well.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      >And Python is much easier than C/C#/C++ to learn and is much, much, much cleaner than Java.

      Python is a filthy scripting language with no types. Every other language you list is a JIT/compiled language with type safety. They are like comparing apples and oranges. For any software project beyond simple scripting, Python is inappropriate as a tool. It does not perform, has less exception safety, and does not scale.

      You can measure the experience of a programmer by how he/she discusses the pros and cons

    • by Alarash (746254)
      Talk for yourself. I like my sub-code to be curly-braced, not indented.
    • by chrismcb (983081)

      Does Gates not know about Python? Python IMO is a whole lot easier to learn than BASIC ever was and you can do a lot more with it.

      They are both turing complete languages. So what can you do in Python that can't be done in BASIC?

      Slap a few libraries on ANY language and you get do anything in less lines of codes. That's what libraries are for.

      • They are both turing complete languages. So what can you do in Python that can't be done in BASIC?

        Linked lists, since classic BASIC doesn't have full-fledged pointers or any equivalent.

        (yes, yes, you can do it with PEEK and POKE, or by using indices into a dynamically reallocated array as pseudo-pointers - and you can do OOP in assembly too; but when we talk about doing something "in language X", it usually implies some higher-level abstractions)

  • Good Read (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GreggBz (777373) on Monday February 11, 2013 @09:07PM (#42867311) Homepage
    This really is an excellent AMA. It's good to see Mr. Gates mixing witty one-liners with several long, open and thoughtful answers.

    In a weird way I wish that this was the Bill Gates that was still leading Microsoft. I mean, in that alternate universe it certainly wouldn't be all rainbows and freedom, but at least Microsoft would be a company that I could understand. These days, I have no clue where Microsoft is going and it kind of makes me sad that they are becoming a weaker, less competent rival to their open source and corporate opposition. Ah well, It's likely better that he's taken his drive and his billions and put it towards a noble cause.
    • by wile_e8 (958263)

      These days, I have no clue where Microsoft is going

      Oh, that's easy to figure out. Just look at what Apple did in the last year and expect Microsoft to go there in two years.

      • by c0lo (1497653)

        These days, I have no clue where Microsoft is going

        Oh, that's easy to figure out. Just look at what Apple did in the last year and expect Microsoft to go there in two years.

        Ummm... shed 40% of the stock price in the last 5 months? I think it will happen to MS sooner than 2 years.

        • Ummm... shed 40% of the stock price in the last 5 months? I think it will happen to MS sooner than 2 years.

          I think the opposite, wanna short some MSFT from me?

    • I wish that this was the Bill Gates that was still leading Microsoft.

      He may be back. Medvedev did it..

  • by kentrel (526003) on Monday February 11, 2013 @09:09PM (#42867323) Journal

    I want one!!
    http://i.imgur.com/1JqrLVc.jpg [imgur.com]

  • And Mr. Gates' answer? Higher is better.
    Ah, I guess that was the developers' motto during product design as well. ;)

  • Handwriting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dan East (318230) on Monday February 11, 2013 @09:16PM (#42867369) Homepage Journal

    Robots, pervasive screens, speech interaction will all change the way we look at "computers". Once seeing, hearing, and reading (including handwriting) work very well you will interact in new ways..

    I'm very surprised he's still hung up on handwriting recognition. It is a DEAD END for human interfacing to a computer (with the sole exception of OCRing existing handwritten documents, and perhaps security as a form of credential). Think about it for one moment, the amount of muscle control, precision and time required to DRAW A SHAPE which is then interpreted as a single input glyph. It is a horribly slow and tedious method of input - I would rather (and literally have) key Morse Code into my android phone than write text.

    It also shows he's still a bit out of touch, and still thinking stylus-centric (which, IMO, was one of the reasons Window Mobile / Windows CE failed, was because it never completely shook the stylus-required-to-interact-with-tiny-widgets problem). Is a person really expected to draw on a modern touch screen with their finger to write letters for the device to recognize (and feel like a preschooler fingerpainting)? Or are we going to step back into having to keep track of a stylus?

    Just found it odd he threw in handwriting in this day and age. It was beat to death with Palm starting a decade and a half ago. It's gone. Dead. Byebye.

    • Re:Handwriting (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kwyj1b0 (2757125) on Monday February 11, 2013 @09:42PM (#42867515)

      Just found it odd he threw in handwriting in this day and age. It was beat to death with Palm starting a decade and a half ago. It's gone. Dead. Byebye.

      There was another article which stated that paper-and-pencils are the best tools in the classroom. While handwriting recognition (like all technologies) has had its hype, it is now becoming a serious tool. The stylus is actually a nice way to get work done on a computer in many technical fields (where drawings and notes are the way the people communicate).

      I know faculty and students who use OneNote/EndNote and really like the Ink-to-Math and Ink-to-Text functionality.

    • by data64 (300466)
      Gestures are a form of hand-writing too.
    • For me, writing something with a pen is still faster than typing it on a phone keyboard. I also require less muscle control to write with a pen than I do to not throw the phone into a wall after I've hit the wrong letter for the 10th time in a five word sentance.
    • by DerPflanz (525793)

      Windows CE didn't fail. It is all over industrial handheld devices (barcode scanners mainly, but also embedded computers). I have yet to see a multitude of Android / Windows Phone devices. There are some, but the large majority is Windows CE5.

      • Last time I was in an Apple Store, buying an iPhone, my purchase was completed on a Windows CE device.
    • by mattr (78516)

      I wouldn't handwrite a book, but it might help with carpal tunnel and you know there are languages where it is easier to draw a character (like Japanese/Chinese) than use a front end processor / dictionary which happens to also use up cpu. Also really understanding what you are doing with a pen is a hard AI problem. It would be cool if you could annotate something on an e-ink display even if it is just underlining or putting a star on something and a few letters long steno type comment. Where you are commun

    • by T.E.D. (34228)

      It also shows he's still a bit out of touch, and still thinking stylus-centric

      It isn't odd at all. Its perfectly in character for him. This is the same guy who looked at a impending revolution in ease of copying things, and thought to himself, "What this new ecosystem needs is old-fashioned steam-press era copyright law [wikipedia.org] applied to it".

      Bill Gates wasn't really born in the era of electronic information, and either never fully understood it, or just flat out isn't a fan of its implications for society.

  • by detritus. (46421) on Monday February 11, 2013 @09:51PM (#42867567)

    We love the guy!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    of the cage match with Stallman?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @02:13AM (#42868779)

    Bill Gates supports circumcision as a way to fight HIV. That really is not an effective way to fight HIV, since many Americans are circumcised and still get HIV. Also, many European men are not circumcised and they don't get HIV as frequently as Americans. Using a condom is really the most effective way to protect yourself from HIV, and if you're going to use a condom, then there's no need to get circumcised.

    Not to mention the fact that babies aren't even capable of having sex, so there's no need to circumcise a baby. When he's an adult, let him decide for himself whether he wants to permanently remove a body part that offers sexual benefits. And in 15-20 years there may be a REAL cure for HIV.

    Saying that we should circumcise babies to protect them from HIV makes as much sense as saying we should give mastectomies to all young women to protect them from breast cancer.

    • by clarkn0va (807617)

      Using a condom is really the most effective way to protect yourself from HIV

      Not exchanging body fluids with people who have HIV is the most effective way to protect yourself from HIV. Just sayin'.

      • Saying "Just sayin'" makes you sound like a fucking retard. I thought you'd choose more wisely in future if you were better informed.
    • Saying that we should circumcise babies to protect them from HIV makes as much sense as saying we should give mastectomies to all young women to protect them from breast cancer.

      This is EXACTLY what I say to people who support sexual mutilations of babies. They usually mumble something about not being the same and quickly change the subject. I don't have mod points but this needs a '+5 insightful'.

    • According to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation website, circumcision reduces the risk of HIV transmission by 60 percent. I have no means of verifying that claim, but if it is really true, why shouldn't he pursue it? Sure, it won't make people immune, but it would at least slow propagation of the virus down.

      And yes, condoms are obviously better (and doesn't the Foundation also support them?), but backwards societies such as what you see in many places in Africa often frown on them for various cultural

  • He picks and chooses what he answers so naturally he only answers the softball questions that he wants to answer. It's not a "ask me anything" it's a "let my fans circle around and ejaculate into their own mouths over my awesomeness".
  • @loucatellia: "How did you feel about your portrayal in Pirates of Silicon Valley, and who do you want to play you next in a movie"?

    @thisisbillgates: "That portrayal was reasonably accurate"....
    --

    "We should wait until we have a way to do a high level of integration that will be harder for the likes of Notes, Wordperfect to achieve, and which will give Office a real advantage". Bill Gates [groklaw.net]

    "You never sent me a response on the question of what things an app would do that would make it run with MSDOS
  • Something I might've asked him was posed by Louis C.K [youtube.com]
    With $85B (or whatever it is nowadays), "how do you not do that?"

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