INFO SCIENCE: You know, I'm just now finishing up my degree at the UW (a campus with no less then three buildings named after a Gates relative -- and don't forget Allen Hall; complete with Microsoft Atrium), and having read this article...
Gates went on a tour of major universities in the spring to try to drum up interest in computer science. During his speech yesterday, he told the university faculty that it shouldn't be hard to convince people to choose computer science over "Wall Street or something where it's just numbers, (and) you're not really changing anything."
I have to say, Bill Gates may be rich, but inspiring he aint. Seriously, if Sergey Brin and Larry Page came to my campus, geeks would crawl out of the woodwork to see them speak. When Ray Kurzweil talks, geeks come and geeks declare a major in a technology field. The same goes for Steve Jobs, Bill Joy and Linus Torvalds. These are the rock stars of Computer Science.
You want to know who comes out to see Bill Gates? The business majors. (Which makes his statement about Wall Street workers "not changing anything" a bit rude, considering they are his biggest fans. And besides, business people can be just as creative and influential as software engineers. If we learned anything from Enron, it's that even people you don't want to be creative can be, accountants for example. But I digress.) A few geeks may come out to see him, but really, Gates has come to personify all that is cold and boring in the technology fields. He represents a company that was once possibly as exciting as Google, but is now as boring and old as General Electric.
Furthermore, Gates has exactly zero Elvis quality, something all of the above folks have plenty of. Not to mention this is a guy with very little vision. (Arthur C. Clarke foresaw the Internet in the 1960's, Bill Gates missed its importance until the late 1990's.)
So, I wouldn't exactly expect to see the kids beating down the door trying to get into Computer Science programs after Bill comes to town. If he really wanted to drum up some interest with the smart kids, he'd pay for Torvalds to visit every major university in the nation. Or, more realistically, at least try to link Microsoft to something more exciting then Business Software. Last but not least, he could prove with his own company that if kids pay $40,000 to get an education, they won't have to move to India to work on Longhorn (to be released in 2009, so you still have time to get that degree and work on it). Ok, I can write no more, I'm starting to drift off myself thinking of that boring boring face of his.