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32 Bill Gates in his boyhood

BILL GATES IN HIS BOYHOOD

As a child—and as an adult as well—Bill was untidy. It has been said that in order to counteract this. Mary drew up weekly clothing plans for him. On Mondays he might go to school in blue, on Tuesdays in green, on Wednesdays in brown , on Thursdays in black, and so on , Weekend meal schedules might also be planned in detail. Everything time, at work or during his leisure time.

Dinner table discussions in the Gate’s family home were always lively and educational. “It was a rich environment in which to learn,” Bill remembered.

Bill’s contemporaries, even at the age, recognized that he was exceptional. Every year, he and his friends would go to summer camp. Bill especially liked swimming and other sports. One of his summer camp friends recalled, “He was never a nerd or a goof or the kind of kid you didn’t want your team. We all knew Bill was smarter than us. Even back then, when he was nine or ten years old, he talked like an adult and could express himself in ways that none of us understood.”

Bill was also well ahead of his classmates in mathematics and science. He needed to go to a school that challenged him to Lakeside—an all-boys’ school for exceptional students. It was Seattle’s most exclusive school and was noted for its rigorous academic demands, a place where “even the dumb kids were smart.”

Lakeside allowed students to pursue their own interests, to whatever extent they wished. The school prided itself on making conditions and facilities available that would enable all its students to reach their full potential . It was the ideal environment for someone like Bill Gates.

In 1968, the school made a decision that would change thirteen-year-old Bill Gates’s life—and that of many of others, too.

Funds were raised, mainly by parents, that enabled the school to gain access to a computer—a Program Data processor(PDP)—through a teletype machine. Type in a few instructions on the teletype machine and a few seconds later the PDP would type back its response. Bill Gates was immediately hooked— so was his best friend at the time, Kent Evans, and another student, Paul Allen, who was two years older than Bill.

Whenever they had free time, and sometimes when they didn’t, they would dash over to the computer room to use the machine. The students became so single-minded that they soon overtook their teachers in knowledge about computing and got into a lot of trouble because of their obsession. They were neglecting their other studies—every piece of word was handed in late. Classes were cut. Computer time was also proving to be very expensive. Within months, the whole budget that had been set aside for the year had been used up.

At fourteen, Bill was already writing short programs for the computer to perform. Early games programs such as Tic-Tac-Toe, or Noughts and Crosses, and Lunar Landing were written in what was to become Bill’s second language, BASIC.

One of the reasons Bill was so good at programming is because it is mathematical and logical. During his time at Lakeside, Bill scored a perfect eight hundred on a mathematics test. It was extremely important to him to get this grade-he had to take the test more than once in order to do it.

If Bill Gates was going to be good at something. It was essential to be the best.

Bill’s and Paul’s fascination with computers and the business world meant that they read a great deal. Paul enjoyed magazines like Popular Electronics, Computer time was expensive and, because both boys were desperate to get more time and because Bill already had an insight into what they could achieve financially, the two of them decided to set themselves up as a company: The Lakeside Programmers Group. “Let’s call the real world and try to sell something to it!” Bill announced.

童年时期——即使成了了大人——比尔也不修边幅。据说为了改此习惯,玛丽为他制定了一周着装计划。周一上学他穿蓝色装,周二绿色,周三棕色,周四黑色,等等。周末用餐时间也布置得细致入微。每件事都要井井有条。比尔·盖茨讨厌浪费时间,无论是在工作中或闲暇时。

在比尔家中的餐桌上讨论总是既生动又富有教育意义 。“那是个内容丰富的学习环境,”比尔回忆道。

比尔的同代人,即使是在那个年龄,都能看出他的与众不同。每年,他和朋友们都要去夏令营。比尔特别喜爱游泳运动等。他的一位在夏令营的朋友回忆道,“他绝不会是个不足挂齿或无足轻重之人。我们都晓得比尔比我们聪颖。甚至在更早的时候,当他九、十岁时,言谈就如同成人一般他说的话有时我们感到高深莫测。

在数学和自然方面比尔比同班同学也更胜一筹。他需要上一所对他充满挑战的学校。随即父母决定送他去湖畔中学—一所专门招收超常男生的学校。这是西雅图一所限制最严的学校,它以严格的课程要求而著称,是个“连哑童都聪明的”地方。

湖畔中学允许学生们按自己兴趣自由发挥,去通达他们希望的极至。令校方骄傲的是他们所创造的环境及设施使学生们能充分发挥各自的潜能。这是像比尔·盖茨这样学生的理想环境。

1968年,学校做出的一项决定改变了13岁的比尔·盖茨的生活——同时也改变了许多其他的人。

学校主要靠家长提供的资金通过一种电传打字机进入电脑——即程序数据处理机。在电传打字机上键入几条指令,几秒钟后程序数据处理机即会反馈回信息。比尔·盖茨当即就着了迷——他那时最要好的朋友坎特——他那时最要好的朋友坎特·埃文斯和另一名长他两岁的学生保罗·艾伦也是如此。

他们不管有没有空,都要赶到电脑室去用用那台机器。这些学生非常专注,以至于在电脑方面的知识都超过了老师,同时因为他们的执著也带来了不少麻烦。他们忽略了其他的课程——每项作业都迟迟才交,有时还旷课。上机时间也很昂贵。几个月后,当初留做一年用的预算就已经消耗殆尽了。

比尔十四岁时,就已开始编写简短的运行电脑的程序了。早期的游戏程序如“三棋杀三子”,或“画圈打叉游戏”,及“登月”就是用后来成为比尔的第二种语言BASIC来写的。

比尔善于编程的其中一个原因就是它蕴含的运算性与逻辑性。他在湖畔中学的那段时间,比尔在一次数学测验中取得了满分800分,取得这样的成绩对他来说是至关重要的—为了这个成绩他不得不参加几次测验。

倘若比尔•盖茨决定要做好某件事,他必定会做得最为出色。

比尔和保罗对电脑和商务的痴迷意味着他们要博览群书。保罗喜爱像《大众电子》之类的刊物,而比尔则翻阅商业杂志。上机时间的昂贵,以及因为这两个孩子迫切需要更多的上机时间,还有比尔早已洞察到他们在经济上会有所收益,于是他们俩决定自己组建公司:湖畔程序设计者集团。比尔宣布道:“让我们唤醒这个世界并给它推销点东西吧!”
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