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July 28, 2005 4:57 AM   Subscribe

Inventor of CTRL-ALT-DEL ridicules Bill Gates. "'I may have invented CTRL-ALT-DEL, but Bill Gates made it famous". Video clip of the episode, via TUAW, who say "The funniest part is the expression, or lack thereof, on the face of Bill."
posted by nthdegx (50 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Oh. Priceless.
posted by Rothko at 5:00 AM on July 28, 2005


Made me smile. Great find.
posted by bashos_frog at 5:09 AM on July 28, 2005


Someone should pull that stick of ram out of Gate's ass.
posted by furtive at 5:15 AM on July 28, 2005


Nice to see the clip's in Apple's superior Quicktime format. You can watch Bill's stoical expression frame by frame.
posted by disgruntled at 5:20 AM on July 28, 2005


Remember Grass Valley Gre, who invented the DELETE key?
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:23 AM on July 28, 2005


That was uncomfortably hysterical.
See, had he just laughed like everyone else, and not taken the remark as a personal insult (which I don't think Bradley intended that way), we wouldn't be reading this here.

Come on, when you are Bill Gates you -have- to expect some friendly (and not so) jabs here are there, and you have to learn how to roll with the punches and either defuse a situation, or put it to your advantage. I am actually amazed that he reacted this way.

Instead the whole world now knows how to push his buttons.

(Pardon the bad pun.)
posted by oneiros at 6:02 AM on July 28, 2005


Just proof that even the world's richest man still can't buy a sense of humor...
posted by clevershark at 6:24 AM on July 28, 2005


This was Aug 8, 2001, BTW.
posted by hyperizer at 6:42 AM on July 28, 2005


Someone should throw a pie at him, oh wait....
posted by a3matrix at 6:52 AM on July 28, 2005


that was awesome!
posted by j.p. Hung at 6:58 AM on July 28, 2005


A former colleague of my husband, where they both worked together at a language technology research company, had in a former life worked on localization and globalization projects directly with Bill Gates at MS.

This was around and about the time Windows 3.1 was in development...in the frenetic Halcyon days of computer invention.

Gustavo (who is originally from Cuba and is a language expert in technology language translation) has the opinion that Bill has a touch of either autism or Asperger's.

Gustavo was involved in myriad team meetings with Gates in close quarters. He said Gates never failed to stare locked into the middle distance and lecture non-stop during these working meetings...which was Bill's only toggle mode between communication and the time betwixt his diatribes where you'd always find Gates smiling and rocking methodically in his seat...rhythmically comforting himself and listening until others finished talking.

What fascinates me (especially as an former ancient times Macintosh MUG founder) is that it is possible that:BTW: Gustavo said Gates was (all-in-all) quite pleasant to work with in meetings.
posted by Dunvegan at 7:34 AM on July 28, 2005


Old, old, old. BUT, it's always fun seeing Bill get owned.
posted by keswick at 7:35 AM on July 28, 2005


That's a very interesting idea, Dunvegan.
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:46 AM on July 28, 2005


Asperger's types are drawn to work in software development. I have heard that that is why UI (user interfaces - i.e. interacting with humans) are often so horrible.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 7:49 AM on July 28, 2005


Does anybody have any links to actual studies on the Asperger’s/UI link?
posted by signal at 8:01 AM on July 28, 2005


Wow that was uncomfortable.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:03 AM on July 28, 2005


2. If Gates is a Asperger's type or a high-functioning autistic, and Windows is his omnipresent baby, what effect does it have in on the non-autistic to experience computer life through an autistic's vision of order in the average workplace.

Because, you know, Gates personally designs the interface.
posted by mendel at 8:05 AM on July 28, 2005




posted by voltairemodern at 8:06 AM on July 28, 2005


I'd expect Bill's bank account provides him some measure of comfort.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 8:09 AM on July 28, 2005


Gates doesn't personally design the interface today...but at the beginning most everything was either Gates' brainchild, or he reviewed and signed-off before a major function was integrated or developed for Microsoft.

Just sayin' that the Windows' GUI "look and feel" release was quite personally important to Gates...and asking a few questions.
posted by Dunvegan at 8:12 AM on July 28, 2005


3. What effect this has on our thinking over time.

This gets mighty wierd when you consider that the majority of our Television-based fiction is derived from the dreams of a an autistic child.
posted by thanotopsis at 8:33 AM on July 28, 2005


Isn't this rather old news and a double?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:49 AM on July 28, 2005


Bill is SUCH a douchebag. I want to give him the world's biggest wedgie and hang him from a stopsign by the waistband of his underwear.

How sweet would it be if some guerilla prankster squad had done that instead of throwing a pie in his face?
posted by scarabic at 8:56 AM on July 28, 2005


The caption under the quicktime window is terribly misleading. Perhaps the editor doesn't know what "inadvertantly" [sic] and "packpedal" [double-sic] means?
David Bradley describes how he invented CTRL-ALT-DEL, then tries to packpedal after he inadvertantly slams Bill Gates for making it famous.
posted by nobody at 9:21 AM on July 28, 2005


(Live Preview means I forget to change "means" to "mean" after adding "and 'packpedal.'" In a comment ridiculing spelling errors, this is a little embarrassing.)
posted by nobody at 9:34 AM on July 28, 2005


Gates is such a putz. I hate it when people do that-- purposefully or stupidly take a comment the wrong way and make someone else look like a jerk. Unless...little Bill is playing the straight man for comedic effect. He IS a genius!
posted by jimmy76 at 11:16 AM on July 28, 2005


Isn't this rather old news and a double?

If it's a double post I apologise -- I couldn't find it. I don't give a rat's arse about it being old. That has so relevance to whether it's worth posting.
posted by nthdegx at 11:39 AM on July 28, 2005


My God. If looks could kill.

The book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time might be of interest to anyone who wants to follow up on the Asperger's angle: it's written from the perspective of a boy with the condition. It also introduced me to the Monty Hall problem - which does my brain in. I guess this is pretty well known in the States, but no so well known this side of the pond.
posted by PurpleJack at 12:07 PM on July 28, 2005


Monkeysaltednuts says : Asperger's types are drawn to work in software development. I have heard that that is why UI (user interfaces - i.e. interacting with humans) are often so horrible.

Bull-pucky. You're just propagating the tired old "programmers have no people skills" canard, and taking it to the next level by saying that we are apparently diseased.

Let me shed some light on the subject - UIs suck because, oftentimes, they are designed by a programmer and not a designer. This is bad- not because programmers are diseased and thus unable to comprehend reality in the same way as "normal folk," but simply because a programmer sees an application from a different perspective than the average user.

As a programmer, you are intimately familiar with the inner workings of the code. Thus, there is a natural tendency to structure the UI in the same way that the program's inner workings are structured. In most cases, this is a terrible idea, since the way a program is used is often only tangentially related to how its code is structured. This problem is further exacerbated when the programmer happens to be someone who would never actually use the program, and they don't take the time to communicate with their users and testers. Unfortunately, this is the case about 90% at a time, even (some would say especially) in places like Microsoft.

The solution -

1) A programmer should NEVER design their own UI. Designers should do this. They are very good at it, and that's why we keep them around.

2) Whether or not a programmer writes their own UI, they should ALWAYS use their own application, and solicit as much feedback from their users as possible.

And yes, as it turns out, I do happen to be a programmer. No Asperger's here. Sorry.
posted by afroblanca at 12:16 PM on July 28, 2005


Thank you afroblanca.
posted by yerfatma at 2:58 PM on July 28, 2005


It's a spectrum, from autism to Asperger's to overly-systematic-analytic-technical thinking and then all the way to the other side where you have people who can't read maps but loooove people.

I don't think it's out of line to suggest that the Asperger's-esque side of the spectrum is what makes up programmers. It seems pretty true to me. If you can't put yourself in the shoes of someone who isn't deeply intimately familiar with your code and knows what it already does before they start -- I think that could arguably be termed a failure of at least some kind of people-related skills.
posted by blacklite at 3:05 PM on July 28, 2005


If you can't put yourself in the shoes of someone who isn't deeply intimately familiar with your code and knows what it already does before they start -- I think that could arguably be termed a failure of at least some kind of people-related skills.

There's a big, big, big difference between the inability to see things from a user's perspective, and just plain not doing it. There are many good reasons why programmers don't spend an awful lot of time on UI, and many of these have nothing at all to do with ability.

A lot of people aren't familiar with the concept of usability, and when something isn't considered important, it isn't going to get a lot of attention or resources. In my current job, I'm fortunate enough to have a boss who places a high value on usability, but I know that this isn't the case for many programmers.

Don't get me wrong - I know that to the outside world, programmers often appear antisocial. However, from personal experience, I have found programmers to be a *very* social lot. Unfortunately, a lot of programmers are only interested in things that other technically-minded people are interested in. I really wish that this weren't the case, but I don't think that it's because of a mental disability.

Think about it. Anthropologists have lots of specialized knowledge. However, the stuff that THEY know a lot about is thought of as "interesting" to a large part of the population. Thus, they can bring up their job-related skills at a party, and people want to talk about it. Compare that to the number of non-programmers at a party who want to talk about design patterns and class libraries.

And you know what? I *AM* going to drag out the "overmedicated, overdiagnosed society" argument. I didn't want to, but you forced my hand. At what point in history did everybody's personal quirks and eccentricities become diseases and disorders? I'm glad that Paxil wasn't around during the time of Nikola Tesla, otherwise we may all be using DC power. (I know that Edison was a fan)

Anyway, back on topic.

My main point remains the same. If you want good UI, make it a priority. Hire a designer. Have a non-programmer supervise the UI development. Encourage your programmers to communicate with the users. It isn't that hard to make good UI once the people involved realize its importance. Half the time, all you need to do is follow the KISS principal. (Keep It Simple, Stupid!)

Its also important to keep in mind that the study of usability is still pretty young, and I think that we're going to see some exciting developments in this area in the next several years.
posted by afroblanca at 3:44 PM on July 28, 2005 [1 favorite]


The funniest part is the expression, or lack thereof, on the face of Bill.

That's true, but it's quite a back-handed compliment.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:12 PM on July 28, 2005


it's funny cause it's true... he he
posted by thedoctorpants at 4:51 PM on July 28, 2005


afroblanca, some people would disagree with you that Asperger's Syndrome means one is "diseased." No wonder you take it as an insult, if that's what it means to you -- but it's quite likely that Aspie-like processing is not a liability or a "mental disability" in many fields. Computer science is pretty clearly one of them. Obviously, if billg has AS (and he does have symptoms, but none of us are privy to his medical reports) it hasn't been a liability to him.

If you are a programmer and not an Aspie, that is fine, but being a programmer, you probably have more in common with an Aspie than the typical non-programmer. That doesn't make you -- or the Aspie -- "diseased", it just makes you an analytical thinker with an interest in computers, most likely. And that is nothing to be ashamed of, whether it comes as part of the autistic spectrum or not.
posted by litlnemo at 6:22 PM on July 28, 2005


litlnemo- Sorry If I was mischaracterizing Asperger's Syndrome as a disease, but whenever I hear the word "syndrome," I tend to think of "disease," "disorder," or just "sh*t aint right." Maybe this is a mistake on my part.

In general though, I'm pretty sick of people insisting that every goddamn personality quirk is some sort of problem. Can't we just be human anymore?
posted by afroblanca at 7:43 PM on July 28, 2005


On top of that, I'm really annoyed at how people who know nothing about the software development process are just running around and blaming bad UI on the programmers. Programmers are builders. Occasionally we're architects. Very rarely do we set our own priorities. Software is a business, and is thus controlled by business people. If you, like me, think that not enough emphasis is being placed on usability, blame the business people. Do not blame the builders!
posted by afroblanca at 7:47 PM on July 28, 2005


Gates is such a putz. I hate it when people do that-- purposefully or stupidly take a comment the wrong way and make someone else look like a jerk.

Wait -- I thought it was pretty clear that this was an intentional (though probably spontaneous) joke at Bill Gates' expense. I don't think B.Gates was taking the comment the wrong way; I think he took it exactly the right way, but wasn't being gracious enough to laugh at himself about it.

I suppose mocking (previous versions of) the man's operating system -- an OS which maintained huge market-share through abuse of its monopoly position -- for being crash-prone probably hits a bit close to home.

posted by nobody at 9:35 PM on July 28, 2005


I prefer the clip where Gates is showcasing windows 98 at a huge conference and it blue-screens on him.
posted by sophist at 12:00 AM on July 29, 2005


I wonder if there's a link between the rise in Asperger's/autism and market penetration of the Windows OS.
posted by keds at 12:21 AM on July 29, 2005


" I'd expect Bill's bank account provides him some measure of comfort."

If his bank account provided him comfort he would have probably quit a long long time ago.
posted by angrynative at 12:23 AM on July 29, 2005


afroblanca : "I have found programmers to be a *very* social lot. Unfortunately, a lot of programmers are only interested in things that other technically-minded people are interested in"

People who can be engaging and social, only or mostly, with regards to certain kinds of topics (technical things) are not exactly social. 'Social' here refers to the ability to engage with people, just for the sake of engaging with people, rather than being triggered by, and centered around, shared technical interests.
posted by Gyan at 4:33 AM on July 29, 2005


I thought he just sat and smiled and took it rather well, really.
posted by nthdegx at 5:13 AM on July 29, 2005


Gyan says : People who can be engaging and social, only or mostly, with regards to certain kinds of topics (technical things) are not exactly social. 'Social' here refers to the ability to engage with people, just for the sake of engaging with people, rather than being triggered by, and centered around, shared technical interests.

You're missing my point. I wasn't saying that all programmers can talk about is programming. People talk to each other about things that they are interested in. It's just that many of the things that programmers are interested in are of no interest to the rest of the population.

Want some stereotypical examples of programmers being social?

1) Attend a LAN party
2) Attend a Sci Fi convention
3) Attend the meeting of some sort of user group

These are all the most stereotypical examples, but they prove a point. Programmers like human contact as much as anyone else. Often, however, they are interested in things that most people aren't. As I mentioned before, this is unfortunate, but it doesn't mean that they have some sort of mental problem.
posted by afroblanca at 6:36 AM on July 29, 2005


I just realized something. While all of this talk has been about the stereotypical programmer, very few of the programmers that I have known personally even come close to fitting the stereotype.

Case in point - this whole discussion started with BillG and MS. I have friends at MS. I've been to Redmond on numerous occasions. I have visited their campus. I have gone to their parties. Most of the people at MS that I've met? Pretty goddamn normal. They go camping. They have poker parties. (Texas Hold 'em is pretty popular.) They go to bars and try to meet women. They drive nice cars and have big TV sets. Granted, I do occasionally have to tell them to put a lid on the MS talk ("No, I really don't care what *CRAZY* thing Shell Team did last week...), but I've experienced the same thing with anthropologists ("Wow, Celtic safety pins..... How.... Interesting....) If you met most of the programmers that I've known, I doubt that you would say that they had a mental problem.

And for all this talk about Bill Gates having Asperger's, and thus proving that programmers are all diseased, guess what? BillG isn't even a programmer! Sure, he may have been back in 1973, but he earned his great fame and fortune as a BUSINESS PERSON.

So why do people like to say that all programmers fit a cookie-cutter stereotype when they really don't? For the same reason people want to blame bad UI on the programmers. Because most people have no idea what programmers really do.
posted by afroblanca at 7:12 AM on July 29, 2005


afroblanca : "You're missing my point. I wasn't saying that all programmers can talk about is programming. People talk to each other about things that they are interested in. It's just that many of the things that programmers are interested in are of no interest to the rest of the population."

No, but you've missed mine. I never implied that programmers like programming only and physicists physics. My point was that social people don't need to share certain types of interests to converse and socialize. They can converse, just for the sake of conversation. The topic is chosen, just as a premise for conversation. Whereas for programmers, the topic is important, in and of itself. All 3 of your examples illustrate that. There's no programmers party to gossip on soap operas. And the fact that these topics don't coincide with the rest, is a result of their personality.
posted by Gyan at 7:14 AM on July 29, 2005


Gyan - Correct me if I'm wrong, but most social gatherings have some sort of intended purpose. Do most people go bowling simply for love of the sport?

Anyway, those were really only the most stereotypical examples. Programmers just are as likely as non-programmers to get together with each other for the purpose of just "shootin' the sh*t." However, when they do, they tend to talk about stuff that most people aren't interested in.

If you are ever in a group of programmers and they start talking about code, here's a thought - change the subject! I've found that programmers are perfectly capable of talking about soap operas or what have you.

(well, maybe not soap operas, but you know what I'm saying)
posted by afroblanca at 7:29 AM on July 29, 2005


afroblanca : "Programmers just are as likely as non-programmers to get together with each other for the purpose of just 'shootin" the sh*t."

No, they're not. That's the point. Don't shoot down the strawman that no programmer does this. The point is about probabilities, not absolutes. Most of my roommates are, and have been, coders.

Do most people go bowling simply for love of the sport?

The point is, that the idea or activity is equally important for programmers. For socializers, it's just the glue du jour.
posted by Gyan at 7:45 AM on July 29, 2005


Gyan, we're just going to have to agree to disagree.

If you want to talk about conversation, though, I would say that most programmers are above-average in that regard. I mean, if I were to compare my MS friends to my roommate who a) has never been to college b) believes in conspiracy theories and c) enjoys Steven Segal movies, I would say that the programmers win hands down. But I guess it all depends on who you like to hang around and what you like to talk about.
posted by afroblanca at 7:52 AM on July 29, 2005


afroblanca, I agree...the "feature bloat" usually comes from software companies that skimp on hiring UI people and let the programmers do the UI.

UI experts are, well...good at user interface. Programmers are good at features.
posted by Dunvegan at 12:19 PM on July 29, 2005


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