The news that Bill Gates is to buy Cliveden, the stately pile made notorious by the Profumo affair, strikes a chord with Mole that resonates deeply.
He is transported back to his first meeting with Bill Gates, an occasion on which the boy genius opened his heart and embraced Mole as a confidante.
The interview had been hastily but cunningly arranged in such a way as to expose the then Master Gates to a minimum of difficult or - heaven forbid - hostile questioning. Mole had been allowed to travel with Mr Gates in his limousine between speaking engagements. As luck would have it heavy traffic turned what should have been a 10 minute journey into a 40 minute crawl through central London affording Mole with ample opportunities for difficult but not, of course, hostile questions, and causing visible discomfiture to David Svendsen, Microsoft's newly appointed managing director, who was riding shotgun.
Bored with hearing about Windows, the new product Gates was in London to promote, Mole chose instead to pitch his questions higher in an attempt to discover what Microsoft felt it should do to address the serious end of the computer market. This was a mistake. NT was still years away and Mr Gates was in the habit of rubbishing anything redolent of the old order, reserving his most withering remarks for Unix, which he regarded with abject contempt.
Adopting his customary approach to questions he disliked, Mr Gates spent most of the journey in a petulant silence staring out of the window, until finally he turned to Mole.
"Nobody gives a flying damn about Unix," he said quietly, though those might not have been his precise words. "Talk about something else." "Very well," Mole replied. "Would you describe yourself as happy?" Then a curious thing happened: Mr Gates face softened and Mole could swear he saw the faintest glimmer of a tear in his eye, though it might have been the light catching his spectacles.
Mole is not going to divulge the rest of the conversation, which he considers a private matter between Mr Gates and himself. Suffice it to say that Mole came to understand how lonely it can be at the top and how Mr Gates, like the rest of us, simply craves love, understanding and the respect of his fellow human beings. In particular, he saw how desperately the young Gates sought to give the impression of breeding and culture, how he longed in vain for something that the crass and superficial world of computer software could never supply, that intangible quality we call tradition.
"We can all improve ourselves," young man, Mole found himself saying.
"Even you. You should get out a bit more, go to the theatre, the art gallery; spend more time reading. Surround yourself with beautiful things. Take the occasional bath. Lose that suit. Get a girlfriend. Try to think about something other than money."
Gates said nothing, but turned his gaze back to the window for the remainder of the journey. When the car came to rest and it was time for Mole to depart, a strange spasm afflicted the lower part of Mr Gates' pudgy visage.
If Mole didn't know better, he'd swear it was a smile.
Since then, Mr Gates has frequently sought Mole's advice on personal matters, without which he might never have married and fathered a child.
He has also spent a fortune on what he calls "cultural enrichment tools", including works of art and various properties - not just on the vulgar modern house he has had built at enormous cost in Seattle, but on a rather nice townhouse in St John's Wood and now Cliveden, parts of which date back to the mid 17th century.
According to the press reports, the consortium which includes Mr Gates has bought the house as an investment. Don't be fooled. The few paltry millions to be made from the acquisition are hardly likely to excite the famous Gates commercial instincts. This is just another example of Mr Gates' campaign to become a true man of substance - not just the billionaire head of the world's largest software company, but someone people can really look up to.
Perhaps the joke has gone on long enough, but Mole doesn't have the heart to tell Mr Gates he was only kidding. Some people may be capable of reinventing themselves, but alas Mr Gates isn't one of them.
Parents anxious to improve their children in the hope that they don't turn out like poor Mr Gates are increasingly turning to computers for help. Software is now available to teach spelling, grammar, history, science, arithmetic and just about everything else on the curriculum. Some of this software has shown an alarming tendency to misbehave. "Secret Writer's Society," a product of Matsushita's Panasonic Interactive Media division, reads back children's creative writing in a Dalek voice, but is also clever enough to filter out any bad language that may have found its way into little Jenny's account of what she did on her holidays. Or that's what it's meant to do. In fact, under certain circumstances and particularly when the program is running on a Macintosh, the software reaches into the ripest part of its extensive vocabulary of dirty words, and issues forth a string of obscenities at the top of its electronic voice. This behaviour has been described as a bug, but Mole suspects the authors of deliberately building in this functionality, not for mischievous reasons, but simply so that the children receive some practical grounding in understanding their foul-mouthed parents.
It looks as if the "lardware" label, applied in a recent column to the latest version of Windows NT, will stick. Just a decade ago, Bill Gates was reassuring everyone that 640Kb was adequate for most purposes, now anyone planning to install NT 5 is looking at something closer to 640Mb.
A reader who has tuned into the lardware theme, suggests that given the typical gap between announcement and availability of Microsoft products, not to mention the wasted hours spent watching the system hang after the software finally arrives, users of lardware should be known as wait watchers.
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