…well, retirement, actually. Gates leaves Micro$oft today to the surprise of none, having started to transition out 8 years ago, leaving the reins to Steve Ballmer. As an Apple user and borderline fanboy, I have made many jokes about Microshaft and Gates, but despite the BSOD, the frustrations of Vista, and rigging the board in favour of his own monopoly, you have to respect the man, even if his leadership style has often been akin to that of a dic(k)tator.
It’s also amusing to read all the “well, he’s not that bad, really, and Steve Jobs is kind of a dick, too” type articles popping up these days. After all the moaning and complaints, everybody still wants to be friends. But then, the prerogative of the fool is to speak the truths that others dare not, and at the end of the day, the fool is still a fool, and the king is still the king.
Our first machine was an Apple II (I think – I was 7. All I remember is that it was an Apple, and it had LodeRunner), then dad got something new and I got a C64, which was later upgraded to an Amiga (I just wanted a disc drive for my C64) with 16-bit graphics (awesome!), and 512K memory (kickass!), upgradeable to A WHOLE MEGABYTE (kickass-ier!). When I first got my own PC for schoolwork, I had lost interest in playing games (The guitar had entered my life). Add to that the fact that the PC I bought was a POS, and my love for Windoze never took root. In art school, I returned to the Mac, and when the iMacs first came out, I bought a blueberry iMac running OS 9 (which to be fair was just as frustrating as Windows). When Apple done bring OS X, it was all over for me, and I doubt I’ll ever go back (provided it stays as good). Still, I’ve used PCs for assorted jobs, and once I got used to the shortcuts, it was all right. I’ve still had far, FAR more crashes with PCs than Macs, but a seriously fitted PC running XP is fine to work on. I’ve recently watched my father upgrade to VIsta, and (like many) nearly lose his shit in the process. I know PCs are better if you want to customize and/or build, but if you’re like me and just want a computer that works out of the box, does what you want in the way you want each time, and almost never dies on you…well, shoot me for saying so, but Apple works for me. I should also add that I run Parallels with XP, which has allowed me to play my old Infocom text-only adventures (don’t laugh, damn you!). I sorta regret throwing out my Sierra Games, but then again…I never actually play games anymore, and if I go on a retro game kick, I dust off my Amiga instead.
It will be interesting to see what happens now. Microscoff is struggling in some areas. They still have total dominon, and while Apple is growing ever so slightly, they seem to be headed more for consumer elecronics. Linux is great, but still…I don’t see it taking over anytime soon. Will MS without Gates flail and fail, or will they take the Internet away from Google?
Well, Bill and wife Melinda will have their work cut out for them with the Gates Foundation. It should be very interesting to see how an engineer’s pragmatic approach to fighting poverty will work. Not much of a retirement, to be sure, but we can certainly wish them good luck!