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Gates Discusses U.S. Competitiveness--and Parenting in the Internet Age

Kim Hart

Today Bill Gates testified before Congress for what may have been the last time as he transitions away from Microsoft to spend more time with his foundation. He appeared before the House Committee on Science and Technology to commemorate the panel's 50th anniversary. (It was founded following the launch of the Sputnik satellite in 1957).

Gates, 52, urged Congress for the same things he's been wanting for years: more money for math and science education, more funds for research and more visas for skilled foreign workers.

But mostly, it seemed, the committee wanted an excuse to talk to the Microsoft founder. Many thanked him for the contributions he's made to the technology field. Some asked him about his thoughts on the next scientific breakthrough that will capture the world's attention the way space travel did half a century ago. (He said he thought alternative energy discoveries is the next hot area).

Others wanted to get his advice on raising kids in the Internet age. "How do you make sure they get the best out of the Internet without sacrificing the interactions that make us human?" asked Rep. Steven Rothman, D-NJ.

Gates responded by saying that all the computers in his house are "out in the open" so his kids will know he and Melinda will be walking by and able to see what they're doing. "Parents need to stay involved in understanding how kids spend their time," he said.

Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN), the committee's chairman, tried to find common ground with Gates and couldn't come up with many shared attributes.

"You're a billionaire, and I'm not. I'm a college graduate, and you're not," he jabbed. But he and Gates both have a 7-year-old daughter, he said.

Gates kept smiling graciously, and quickly changed the subject. "The ability to (use the Internet) to pursue your curiosity is really phenomenal today," he said. "The best we could do when I was a kid was read the World Book--alphabetical and not very enticing."

In his case, it looks like those World Books paid off.

By Kim Hart  |  March 12, 2008; 4:42 PM ET  | Category:  Kim Hart
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

I wonder if Bill Gates learned about ruthless, probably illegal business tactics in the World Book encyclopedias?

Posted by: Microsoft Patents Ones, Zeroes | March 18, 2008 2:18 PM

The US is very competitive and I feel Microsoft has taken competitive to the next level. Forced upgrades.

The following is an email I sent and have received nothing from Microsoft.

Hello ???? March 18, 2008

Your personal firewall will NOT give me a contact name.

I am being forced to buy Office 2007 or not apply service packs to Office 2003.

I purchased an IBM laptop on eBay with XP home edition software loaded. Office 2003 professional was also loaded.

Everything worked in Office 2003 until I downloaded and tried to install Office 2003 service pack 3. The install failed with error 0x51F and Excel 2003 no longer worked. There is NO error in Excel, it just starts the installation process and calls for the installation disk.

I called for support and the first thing that I was told that would fix the problem was to upgrade to Office 2007. The next thing was get the original installation disk. Every tech I have talked to says the SKU011.CAB file does not exist.

I paid for Microsoft Office 2003 Professional with the laptop. I tried to apply service pack 3 as recommended by Microsoft. It did work and now I am being told to buy Office 2007. This will cost about $450 plus tax.

I have called more than once to get this fixed.
Case number 1060159403. No action, only upgrade to 2007.
I called to complain. Complaint number 1-1208682871.
New case number 1060915110.

I researched the problem and found many entries on MSDN for a missing file SKU011.CAB that was causing this problem.

I called for support and again was told I could NOT get the SKU011.CAB file. I told the tech that the problem was documented on MSDN. He did NOT know what MSDN was or how to find it.

I called 1-425-882-8080 to register my complaint.
Ann, the operator would NOT connect me with anyone because I did not have the name of the person to talk to.

I decided to give Microsoft one more chance to fix the problem. I called support and spoke to Patrick on 03/11/ 08. He said he would take ownership of the problem and sent me an email of his ownership. A few hours later, Anit, Patrick's supervisor called me and said I would have a solution by Friday (03/14/08).

LAST STRAW! It is now Tuesday, March 18, 2008, and no one as called or emailed me with the solution or to say they are still working on the problem.


I have been in data processing over 40 years. Those 40 years cover Mainframe and PC platforms. I have been a project manager in both areas and have packaged software for distribution in both areas. I know that a file MUST exist if you have put it on an installation disk.

My action plan is as follows if I do not hear from you within the 48 hours as told to me by Ann.
1. Ask all publications to publish what they will about this issue.
2. File claim in court for cost of upgrade and lost time to recover from service pack 3.
3. Get as many of my friends, family, students, and general public to file claims in court as possible.
4. Get as many as I can to NOT buy anything from Microsoft for 30 days or one quarter. April 1, 2008 would be a good start date not to buy.

Bottom Line for Me!
I have turned off automatic updates because I DO NOT TRUST MICROSOFT.
1. Testing and/or packaging is inadequate to produce a quality update.
2. Microsoft produces code to force customers to buy upgrade.

Please reply all so we will all know your response or no response.
Please put any future communication with me in writing. The time for talking has past.

Thank you.
Duane Dean

Posted by: Duane Dean | March 20, 2008 5:42 PM

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