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Gates: ‘store your digital life records on the Internet’

And you couldn't make it up -- they're putting his Altair code in a paper bag made out of lead

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Bill Gates displayed his famous tin ear once again when, on donating $20 million to Massachusetts Institute of Technology he announced that in the future people will store their "digital life records" on the Internet. We presume that's version 1.0 of this particular claim, as in recent times Microsoft's performance has led us to believe that it should read 'in the future Microsoft will collect and store people's digital life records via the Internet.' Bearing in mind that we need to cater for Register readers who keep telling us we're far too hard on Microsoft around these parts (they account for approximately 0.1 per cent of our fan mail) we should justify that. Note first that Microsoft has progressively tightened up the Windows installation and registration procedure, making it more online and more compulsory as it goes along. Note also that this data now goes via Microsoft (this is compulsory in the most recent versions of the OEM licences), that Microsoft has been caught swiping information it hasn't asked for a couple of times, and that the sole publicised major innovation for Windows 98 Second Edition (see yesterday's news) is an "improvement of the initial out-of-box experience." This is Redmond code for screwing the registration process down tighter again. And finally -- for the moment, anyway -- note that the new-look peripatetic visionary Gates was last year promising OS innovations that would integrate database functionality and position Microsoft as a giant storage and backup repository for use across the Web. Bill wants your digital life records, unquestionably, and if he gets your DNA structures as well the only thing that'll save you is the increasing length of Microsoft development cycles. But enough of Nostrodamus for today. Bill's $20 million is going towards a new Gates Building for the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science, and Bill has also thoughtfully donated the blueprints for his (surely his and Paul Allen's -- ed) Altair Basic to MIT's Time Capsule of Innovations. The Time Capsule, it says here, contains 57 (do we detect Heinz sponsorship?) innovations in the field of computer science, and will be in the Boston Museum of Science for the next two years. And here's the best bit. The Time Capsule is shaped like a paper bag made out of lead, and they're going to put stuff in it for the next 35 years. We begin to wonder how big MIT's surrealistic concept budget is... ®

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