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Microsoft News

Bill Gates Is Coming To A College Near You 412

Xyn writes "Microsoft chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates visited UW-Madison today as part of his 2005 College Tour, designed to promote greater youth involvement in technology careers. Gates discussed "The Impact and Opportunity of Technology: Why Computer Science? Why Now?" at a student forum."
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Bill Gates Is Coming To A College Near You

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  • by Pichu0102 ( 916292 ) <pichu0102@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @11:59PM (#13779125) Homepage Journal
    I think he wants kids to grow up to replace Ballmer and NOT waste money on broken chairs.
  • Quick! (Score:5, Funny)

    by gardyloo ( 512791 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @11:59PM (#13779128)
    Everyone line up with the shiny bits to welcome Bill! Now... aim....
  • Answer (Score:5, Funny)

    by ravenspear ( 756059 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @11:59PM (#13779130)
    Why Computer Science? Why Now?

    Because we need people with more skill to fix up all your shit Bill.
    • Re:Answer (Score:3, Insightful)

      Funny, but to be fair to Gates, all indications are that he was a hell of a programmer individually.

      The software his company produces may suck (at times ... ok, most of the time), but he was apparently a hell of a programmer back in the day.
      • Re:Answer (Score:3, Funny)

        by jkrise ( 535370 )
        all indications are that he was a hell of a programmer individually. a programmer who used vi and a shell environment where ^c meant 'break' not 'copy'. And then he destroyed... or tried to destroy the environment he grew up in.
      • Re:Answer (Score:3, Interesting)

        "Back in the day" ... he was definitely a master of BASIC and pretty much the only person in the world who actually understood DOS... (I remember trying to figure that crap out when keyboards didn't even have a "\" key.) Apparently he was famously a twit back then too - there's an article from the 70s by him calling people thieves for copying his BASIC code and patronizingly explaining why since he wrote the code he should be able to dictate who is allowed to learn something from it... Maybe someone can di
      • Re:Answer (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Tom ( 822 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @05:47AM (#13780232) Homepage Journal
        Funny, but to be fair to Gates, all indications are that he was a hell of a programmer individually.

        You base this bold statement on which facts, exactly?

        The only software that wikipedia attributes to Gates personally [wikipedia.org] was the Altair BASIC interpreter, and even that was co-authored with Paul Allen.

        So, where are your "indications" ?
    • Or rather... what computer? what science? Colleges deal with science and technology.... and Microsoft has been - is -and will be a marketing company.
  • From the Post:

    designed to promote greater youth involvement in technology careers.

    Ahem.

    Anyway, I searched and searched for more information on Gates' special visit and what he really might have said. Alas, the closest I came was buried on a meta-referred pages was the helpful:

    General public: An archived version of the webcast will be available on F riday, Oct. 14.

    I hate to jump the gun here, but any wagers on the content of his presentation? Any bets "involvement in technology careers" was pretty mu

    • I've read about him doing these college talks [com.com] several times in the near past. My guess is the video would show something similar to what he's been saying. Something about how they need more CompSci majors, especially with some kind of business masters type skills for project management assignments. I've *heard* that these project management jobs are tougher to outsource than the straight technical stuff but I'm not sure how much I believe it.
    • by Stalus ( 646102 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @12:32AM (#13779312)

      We all knew he was coming, but his schedule was very much secret, and aimed at undergraduates. I hadn't even heard about the drop into the 302 class until now, and I know the guy that was teaching the class. Most of us had to watch a remote feed of the later talk, which I missed the beginning of, but the Q&A was better than most CEOs I've heard talk. Yes, a chunk of his presentation was "Look at the great products Microsoft is about to release" (XBox, Treo phone, etc). Funny thing is that he didn't mention Vista until someone specifically asked him about it.

      Anyway, the basic message he was trying to get across, in my opinion, was that no matter what you do these days, technology is going to play a role, so it would be advantageous to embrace it. Technology is becoming ubiquitous in the home. Most sciences rely on some sort of software for simulation or analysis. Traditional blue collar jobs are disappearing because they are being automated. Therefore, if you want a job in the future, you're going to need a better education than you could get away with in the past.

      I kind of left with the impression of.. "So, I'm in school longer, and will have to do more work, but will get paid the same or less... why is technology a good thing again?" Frankly though, you can watch the presentation in a few days.

      • "So, I'm in school longer, and will have to do more work, but will get paid the same or less... why is technology a good thing again?" Theoretically technology makes the things you desire cheaper, so you don't need more money. The average American today lives more comfortably than kings of the past. In actuallity it isn't about having a comfortable life or any of that crap; it is about power and/or having more money than your neighbor.
  • by cdrdude ( 904978 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @12:02AM (#13779151) Journal
    What did the liberal arts major say to the compsci major?
    >
    >
    >
    >"Would you like fries with that order, sir?"
    • Does this joke honestly make sense in this day and age? As an unemployed graduate with a computer science degree, I say no, no it does not make sense in this day and age. :(
      • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @12:17AM (#13779240) Journal
        Then either
        1. Get a job.
        2. Make a job.
        You can do both. To get a job, you may have to move. To make a job, You may have to work. There are good ideas out there.

        With that said, Good luck. These are not like the 80's or 90's were.
      • Does this joke honestly make sense in this day and age? As an unemployed graduate with a computer science degree, I say no, no it does not make sense in this day and age. :(

        And as a computer programmer with a liberal arts degree....
        • by Fulcrum of Evil ( 560260 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @01:24AM (#13779518)

          And as a computer programmer with a liberal arts degree....

          ...you're talking to yourself. 'Would you like Prozac with that?'

          • by einhverfr ( 238914 ) <chris DOT travers AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:21AM (#13779708) Homepage Journal
            Honestly?

            Gates himself seemed to say many times that CS degrees were optional and that learning to program well required hands-on experience more than formal education. So it is interesting to see the turnaround on this issue. Yes, CS education formal or not (I get mine by hanging out in forums with people who have deep knowledge of the technologies I work with).

            But education is education and should be aimed not merely at teaching a vocation but teaching someone how to learn. Unlike most liberal arts majors, I have a strong interest in science and math and can hold my own in most of these fields. However, most of my formal education was spent on humanities such as History, and I have attempted to study linguistics, philology, and other fields on my own (though these are fields where one simply cannot do serious work without at least a MA in the fields). So part of the problem today is that many liberal arts majors are intellectually lazy, but one should not generalize to the relevant fields as a whole. There is absolutely no reason why a serious historian with an interest in and reasonable grasp of mathematics cannot become a good programmer in non-research fields.

            Why do geology majors do better in medical school than those with pre-med degrees? Again, if you are ready to learn a discipline, the fact that you have studied what you love and learned critical thinking skills in the process is far more important than taking a CS curriculum as a vocational track (if you love CS, it will *not* be a mere vocational curriculum, and I have seen plenty of history majors who treated it as a vocational track :-( ).

            So what I am saying is that to any student, you should study what you really want to study, because it is the educational and not vocational aspects that will build the best foundation for your life. Sure some fields give more leeway for intellectual laziness, but ideally you want something that will inspire you to go forward. If I was hiring a computer programmer and I had a choice between an Irish Lit Major who seemed excited and curious about technology and a CS major who seemed somewhat bored, I would hire the Irish Lit Major. If course if I was hiring kernel programmers for the next Cray, it is safe to say that neither would get much consideration, but these jobs are few and far between and really are only suited for CS majors who really are in love with the field.
    • by flatt ( 513465 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @12:13AM (#13779218) Homepage Journal
      What did the compsci major say to the liberal arts major?

      "Dude, shut up and give me a application already."
    • by NilObject ( 522433 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @12:17AM (#13779241) Homepage
      To which the computer science major said "no" because money has been tight ever since his job got shipped off to India. :-/
    • by OpenGLFan ( 56206 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @12:39AM (#13779346) Homepage
      What did the liberal arts major say to the comp. sci. major?

      "No, I won't go out with you."
    • What did the CompSci major say back?

      Ha ha. Very funny. Now get out of my way, my shift is next.
  • by Cruxus ( 657818 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @12:02AM (#13779157) Journal

    I was going to attend CS 480 tomorrow, but now I just don't know if it's worth the possibility of seeing the Evil One in person.

    • Come on, it's got to be worth a giggle. 200 other students think so, too!

      Just in case, why not stop by the food co-op on your way and pick out a nice armful of ripe, juicy tomatoes?

      I love the way he's got professor dress down: blue checked shirt always goes with green sweater! Go Bill, you trendy go-getter, you!
  • by CardiganKiller ( 854899 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @12:03AM (#13779159)
    ...He and Booger immediately started training to win their place as Delta Delta Deltas.
  • Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

    by XMetal2001 ( 850766 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @12:04AM (#13779164)
    No matter what your opinion of him, if the Richest Man in the world suddenly showed up in your Computer Science class as a guest speaker, that would be mindblowing.
    • Apparantely for his visit tommorow to the University of Waterloo (Ontario), tickets sold out extremely fast and students were trying very hard to get in on the presentation. No doubt, I would listen to the richest man in the world. I'm sure there's advice in there somewhere worth hearing.
    • No matter what your opinion of him, if the Richest Man in the world suddenly showed up in your Computer Science class as a guest speaker, that would be mindblowing.

      I suppose Ikea DOES use computers a fair bit...
    • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

      by markiv34 ( 889642 )
      Maybe I could suck his dick when he shows up at my college, and get some of his millions as a return favor. Give me a break, there have been plenty of rich men ever since creation of life, the only people we remember now are like Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Newton. Just because Bill Gates is the richest man now does not mean that he would be remembered by anyone even 50 years from now.
  • by ZachPruckowski ( 918562 ) <zachary.pruckowski@gmail.com> on Thursday October 13, 2005 @12:08AM (#13779180)
    I mean, why not MIT, etc, as his top five schools to visit? (No offense to any Wisconsiners out there, my Cheesehead suitemate will doubtlessly exact revenge on me for you)

    Anyways, wouldn't high schools be an even better choice? I mean, I feel that if I'm in college, I'm either already studying Computer Science, or not. I mean, maybe you could convert engineering students from other disciplines, but most college students with a major in mind would be harder to get to switch. I think he'd do better at the high school level, esp. around junior level, when he can influence the people to apply to schools with a CompSci bent, or convince them to take CompSci as a high school senior.

    Just my four cents. I found two extra in a vending machine, which doesn't even take pennies (stupid drunks)
    • I believe the article mentioned biology related material. Bioinformatics is big @ Madison.

      Wish I was there to catch one of his talks.
    • Maybe he's looking for a broader audience. If you're at MIT, Caltech, IIT, etc., chances are you're already in a technology/computer field. Sure, there are some crazy people that aren't, but if he went to these schools it be like the proverbial Locutus assimilating the collective...
    • Maybe the choice of coledge instead of highschools are because the need will arise sooner then later? Maybe we just need to saturate the field with as many Compsci people as we can so they all make $10 an hour and we can give India a fight?

      I think it might be along those lines somewere. When i told someone i finaly got my MCSE back in 2000, he said i could probably make a s much money as him. After i found out that it was a paycut i didn't talk about my certs anymore.
    • by Beller0ph1 ( 812228 ) <Beller0ph1&gmail,com> on Thursday October 13, 2005 @12:18AM (#13779249)
      Just a little background about the class: CS302 is our introduction to computer programming class. This is a pre-requisite for other classes in other majors. Some people even take it for "fun" to learn Java. Even though it is in the CS department, many other students from other science majors (Engineering, Physics, Math) take it. Heck, even the liberal studies people can take it if they are interested in Java programming. I think that would have been pretty neat to see him talk. I wonder if he actually did a little teaching? On Wisconsin!
    • by Gothic_Walrus ( 692125 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @12:45AM (#13779369) Journal
      Well, he was at the University of Michigan this morning. I was there. I know.

      Stupid article not mentioning my college...

      But then again, we had the distinct pleasure of watching him struggle with an Xbox 360 because he didn't turn on the controller. Silly Bill...

      • If he truely did visit University of Michigan, then that's 2 of the top states where the IT jobs count dropped the most since 2001. I guess this is Bill Gate's way of saying "We agreed on helping the industry ship tons of jobs over to India. In exchange, I'll make a personal visit."

    • Uh, because MIT has an Archemedes Death Ray?
    • Better dope.
    • UW-Madison does have a pretty highly rated CS department, but that's probably more a measure of faculty publications than the undergrad program. (Still, I wonder sometimes. My second semester programming course included topics like big O notation and sorting and searching algorithms; is that a sign of a good program or one that tries to cram too much into too little time?)
  • The full tour (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chris Pimlott ( 16212 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @12:10AM (#13779197)
    If you're sad you missed out on the opening dates, don't worry, there's a few more to come:

    Wednesday: University of Michigan and University of Wisconsin.
    Thursday: University of Waterloo and Columbia University.
    Friday: Princeton University and Howard University.

    Found the dates on Kevin Schofield's blog [msn.com], thanks!
    • Wednesday: University of Michigan and University of Wisconsin.

      Typical Microsoft planning: Tuesday, Wisconsin. Wednesday, Michigan - then back to Wisconsin!
  • Drop Out (Score:3, Informative)

    by micromuncher ( 171881 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @12:11AM (#13779204) Homepage
    Does he mention at all that he dropped out of post secondary?
  • The joke's on him (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 13, 2005 @12:12AM (#13779211)
    The intro programming class he crashed, CS 302, teaches OOP using Java.
  • by FakeRhino ( 884311 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @12:13AM (#13779220)
    I don't know about you, but at my college he would have been laughed out of the room... Plus, I really doubt he would show up in any of my CS classes this semester, Unix and System's Security.
  • by quantax ( 12175 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @12:13AM (#13779225) Homepage
    Bill Gates has been making himself a bit more high profile in the education movement so this is no surprise really. Back in February, he went to a conference with governers from the 50 states to discuss education:

    "America's high schools are obsolete..." - Bill Gates [yahoo.com]

    Though I am not a Bill Gates fan, he has a valid point, and more importantly, he has the power & money to actually do something about it beyond just talk. While I have little doubt that he wouldn't mind expanding MS's market share, I do not think Gates is disingenuous in his efforts. Anything/anyone that advocates a good look at our public education is a good thing (and I dont mean talking about vouchers), so lets not let the anti-MS attitudes overwhelm the basic good that can come out of his efforts.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Bill Gates was at the University of Michigan [umich.edu] in the morning. He pushed the XBox360, and grabbed the wrong controller for the demo.
  • by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @12:20AM (#13779256) Homepage
    So, a guy who famously became the richest person in the world by skipping college and leaving a technical career in favour of business is now trying to persuade people to go to college and study technology?

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I've known a few very successful businessmen that didn't finish college, and one even spoke at a local high school not long ago. He made a point to explain that while he dropped out of college and was still successful, he's the exception to the rule, not the standard. He explained that although a college degree isn't a requirement for some of the positions he hires for, people with a college degree get a more in-depth look at their resume compared to those who don't.

      I would assume Gates is the same way.
  • that low end and high end tech jobs are moving overseas and that plenty of graduates today are out of work and changing careers?

    THIS is why tech careers are so unpopular as a major in college now.
  • by SysKoll ( 48967 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @12:27AM (#13779287)
    Why Computer Science? Why Now?

    Come work in computer science, boys and girls! Why? Because you'll have an opportunity to experience first-hand the effect of offer and demand on the job market, when we at MS will lobby for an increase of H1B -- the ones for 2006 are already allocated. [thehindubusinessline.com]

    Because since the industry is mostly managed by lawyers and MBA, not engineers, you in the tech field will never compete with us lawyers and sons of lawyers for these coveted positions of execs who get a raise at the same time techies are laid off [siliconvalley.com].

    Because in spite of all Bill Gates' public wailing for attracting talent, he spits on tech talent, and so do most CEOs. The only "talent" he cares really about is execs, especially sales and marketing execs. That's talent. Design? Programming? Architecture? A commodity at best. A cost to be outsourced.

    And you wonder why there is such a decrease in engineering and science students? Of course they want to work in finance and law. Do you think they are stupid?

  • ...stand on a trireme.
  • If you think Bill Gates going to college is interesting, you might want to watch Bill Gates Goes to College [ifilm.com], a movie staring BillG and Napoleon Dynamite, everyone's favorite antihero. Totally hilarious...

    Napoleon: "I've got like, computer hacking skills, probably the best I know of."

    Bill: "I don't think so."

    MS plugs aside, it's really great, and watching Napoleon pull a roller-skating Bill from his totally sweet bike is well worth it. Enjoy =D
  • by KewlJedi ( 738594 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @12:43AM (#13779360)
  • Cradle Robbing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @12:44AM (#13779366) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft depends on recruiting young developers more than on any other population segment it reaches - market, purchasers, legislators, investors, whoever. All that crazy-ass "developers developers developers developers, developers developers developers developers" ranting comes from the heart over there. But Microsoft has lost the zeitgeist in that segment - Linux got it. Otherwise, Linux's tiny market share, especially among normals, would never justify the amount of software developed for it by multi-platform vendors.

    Gates is out there trying to keep Microsoft looking cool to their most important audience. Too bad he's easily outcooled by an expat Finn and a cartoon penguin.
  • .. will be available Friday: http://webstreamer.doit.wisc.edu/gates/ [wisc.edu]

    I attended the event this afternoon, and overall found it to be interesting, particularly the Q&A session. Gates' response to a question concerning Microsoft potentially collaborating with Google was entertaining. :)

    Other moments of note:

    A short starring Bill Gates and Jon Heder (of Napolean Dynamite) was shown, which I found to be surprisingly hilarious..
    "Where do you want to go today?"
    "Wherever I feel like going, gosh..."

  • Great Opportunity (Score:5, Interesting)

    by max born ( 739948 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @12:53AM (#13779402)
    If you happen to be there. Ask him lots of questions. Let's get something on the record. Here are some I can think of. Make up your own.

    Could Microsoft ever open its code and make more money from support than developement?

    What's up with Microsoft and Linux? Seems like you guys have the same goal of wanting to write geat software for the benefit of everyone. Why not collaborate?

    Microsoft was recently sued by 20 states and found guilty of violatling the Clayton and Sherman anti trust acts. What have you done to rectify that?

    It's still not possible to buy an MS-free computer from many vendords. Why? Will you personally pledge you will put no pressure on an vendors to sell "microsoft only" systems.


    Just keep asking questions. We want to know.
    • When will you stop beating your wife?

      How many chairs does Ballmer go through in a month?

      You've said "the Chinese fucked us" to Kai Fu Lee, what exactly did you mean by that?

      What do you think about outsourcing?
  • Quick! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Anyone involved with the music programs at the remaining colleges on the tour should organize pep bands to greet him with the Imperial March.
  • hopefully (Score:2, Funny)

    by Dr Floppy ( 898439 )
    someone can bean him with a pie again! Thats about the best picture of him.
  • welcome our new... WHAT AM I SAYING! *slaps self*
    whew, that was close.
  • by moo083 ( 716213 )
    If he came by my university, UC Santa Cruz, I think he would not be verbally attacked. Not in an abusive way, but I think the professors might ask him questions that make him look stupid. The School of Engineering here is almost entirely Unix based and almost all (or all, I'm not sure) the professors in the School of Engineering run some flavor of *nix (Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X). I remember worrying about having to use windows for my CS major when I got here, and quickly learned that you do not need
  • Why Computer Science? Why bother?
  • by Tablizer ( 95088 )
    About 2 years ago he lectured in a southern Calif university. I was there (on the outside) as part of a demonstration against H1B's and outsourcing. One of his suited handlers came up to a demonstrator and claimed more H1B's were needed for the "tech shortage". He was talking to an unemployed techie. Gotta love suits. They have their own reality.
  • Good idea. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by andreyw ( 798182 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:05AM (#13779649) Homepage
    One thing that I noticed in my two years of college now is that Microsoft is *very active*, always coming to CS orientation classes to give talks (UIC alums working at MS), giving talks to the CS college, actively looking for interns two times a year, actively partecipating in job fairs.

    Kudos to them. They realize that if they want future talent, they need to sell the idea of working for MS as early as possible. Why don't I see Apple, Sun, IBM doing this?
  • Wrong approach (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Percy_Blakeney ( 542178 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:41AM (#13779780) Homepage
    Obviously, Bill Gates pulled this stunt in an effort to curb the declining CS enrollment in the US. The problem with his approach, though, is that this won't do anything to change the situation; the problem isn't that anyone considers computer science to be irrelevant, but rather that many people see it as having a limited future in this country. Look no further than the very visible layoffs due to outsourcing, and you will see why CS enrollment is down.

    If I had been in the class, I would have asked Bill the following:

    • What financial motivation do large software companies have to keep CS jobs in the United States?
    • Do you see outsourcing as a growing or shrinking trend?
    • If overseas workers are brilliant, low-paid, and trained in the US, then how will US workers ever be able to compete?
    • How would you compare the long-term job prospects in the US of a business major vs. a computer science major?
  • by mtenhagen ( 450608 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @03:35AM (#13779931) Homepage
    I have a few questions for Bill,

    1) Should a society defend it self against monopolies. If so how?
    2) Should children be raised with the thechnologie from one company?
    3) What is worse, people using pirated windows or people using linux?
    4) Should technology be accesable to everyone or only those who can afford?
    5) What is more important, money or a social society?
    6) How can we learn operating systems without the source?

    Are the answers from Microsoft different than your own? If sow why?
  • by jandersen ( 462034 ) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @05:55AM (#13780250)
    Indeed, why? When you can learn something useful, like bricklaying, and earn as much or more with less effort?

You have a tendency to feel you are superior to most computers.

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