Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bill Gates, Commodore 64 Easter Egg, and Computer Archaeology

If you are a computer/techie geek like me, you owe it to yourself to check out the following blog post...The author walks through some of the early folklore that surrounds Microsoft and Bill Gates. Two things leap out at you after reading the story:

1. Computer programmers were incredibly paranoid, and for good reason. Those who recognized the technology's application and potential knew the stakes were enormous.

2. The early computers that predate what we have today is a great reminder of the progress that has occurred. Singularity is certainly closer than we were just 30 years ago. In fact, etching and circuit width is the latest bottleneck to processor speed. It's amazing to see the old 8-bit architectures that laid the foundation for the 64-bit technology that exist today.

For those who don't know, "Easter eggs" are things that programmers put into their work that are secret. But they are accessible, usually via some special action to trigger the special treat. Here is a link devoted to various easter eggs found in various formats (DVD movies, software, etc.). As a side note, the first egg i found was the one in Excel; the original programmers apparently put the game "Spy Hunter" into Excel 97, and the game would appear upon a certain formula and sequence of events in Excel.

Anyhow, for those that follow the folk lore of microsoft, check out the blog titled "Pagetable". The post on Bill Gates' first easter egg to send Commodore a message is a good one.

Link to Pagetable -- Software Archaeology