Bill Gates won't fork over for a decent haircut but wants us to buy 'postage stamps'.

Bill, you greedy sombitch, it’s obvious from the following that you’ve had servants fetching (and filtering) your snail mail for quite some time…

Since the U.S. Postal Service delivers junk mail for at bulk rates, mailboxes already ‘runneth over’ with credit-card offers, sweepstakes entries, and supermarket fliers. That’s why you get so much junk mail: It’s cheaper (per piece) to send than what you pay to send a Mother’s Day card or your tax return.

If the USPS, or whoever’s gonna sell the stamps, agrees to take over my ISP fees, I’ll consider buying email postage stamps. They’re gonna give spammers… I mean direct email marketers, bulk rate anyhow.


I do have to say that his hair is looking better on the CNN link. Not good, but better.


Read the entire article before jumping to conclusions.

At the risk of being torn a new ass… Gates does have a point.

Bill Gates said:

Yeah, that, and there are a lot of people out there with nothing better to do with their time than create template emails for “BUY SOME VIAGRAAAX!!11!” etc.

A lot of people are going to simply dismiss this idea as crap, but I think that with little work (as with any idea) a serious solution to SPAM could be found.


Seems reasonable to donate a few processor cycles in exchange for free email, but I’m probably being gullible and clueless here.

Read it yourself.

If we’re just going to need to do a little ‘math puzzle’, the why the talk of postage stamps and prices at all? Do you really want to solve a math puzzle every single time you send an email? Hell, most people can’t even manage to use Bcc or delete the original message when they hit ‘Reply’, let alone type or spell properly. You know damn well they’re just gonna let their PayPal account chalk up another ‘postage stamp’ rather than solve a math equation, and Bill knows it, too. I’ll bet he’s banking on it.

Of course, it’s the big emailers that are going to have to put a stop to this whole idea. I mean message boards like the SDMB that allow members to receive email notification of thread activity. Of course, they could just start charging us for membership here.

gluteus maximus said:

It was just an example showing that “purchasing stamps” doesn’t necessarily have to involve real money. If nothing else, this should get people thinking of other “payment options.”

My wife had brought up another interesting point, too-- what if people could determine the “price” of sending email to their inbox? For example: I could say, “Any emails from address xxxxx, don’t need postage. Emails from yyyyy should have to pay <insert amount here>. Any other emails should cost <some predetermined amount>”. In this case, you wouldn’t have to worry about not getting any emails from family members, or newsletters, etc.

I still think it’s a good idea. Or at least a step in a good direction.


While I realise it’s easy and fun to bash Gates, you really aren’t even trying to be even-handed here. No-one is talking about making a user crack out a pencil to convolve a gaussian by hand; this is a suggestion for a transparent system whereby the email client would, say, factor a largeish number for a second or so for each email sent. The imposition of a small computational cost on email in this manner would have a significant impact on mass-mailers without noticeably affecting genuine correspondents.

Certainly, bona fide bulk senders would be affected, but if we’re redesigning the email infrastructure then it’s easy to imagine a solution to this. This, after all, is essentially a proof-of-motives system; unsolicited mails need to contain a proof that some effort has been put into sending them. If an email does not contain this proof, one might automatically consider it to be spam. However, it would be just as easy to accept such emails on a per-address basis; the only difference would be that I might have to configure my email client to accept proofless emails from the straightdope.

Furthermore, this is only one of the many, many suggestions currently circulating for spam circumvention. This, incidentally, is the cause of your confusion between the monetary price proposals and this one, which is a computational price. It isn’t even Gates’s idea, and doesn’t involve paying him money. It’s far too easy to assign eeeeevil motives to Gates (“he’s saving babies? Well sure, but why do you think he wants them alive, eh?”), and it obscures rational assessment of solutions to what is, undeniably, a huge problem. So cut it out and try and think this through sensibly.

Oh christ, read it yourself.

Blindly bashing Bill Gates has become rather old.

With a little thought, this is indeed bashworthy.

Sure, it sounds like a good idea. Tie up the spammers’ machines with distributed calculations. But exactly how does he propose to do this?

  1. Tie it into MS email programs. Sounds good, but even for Windows, there are approximately eight billion e-mail programs. Spammers don’t use Outlook, there are mass-mail programs that simply read from a list of emails and spew forth the penis enlargement offers.

  2. Tie it into Windows. Now, there are other OSes out there, as all of you should know. How eager would Mr. G be to give all competing systems a black eye by claiming it’s impossible to spam from a Windows machine? (Well, except for 3.1-XP, assuming that this feature gets built into Longhorn)

  3. Make a new e-mail standard. So, then, there’d be e-mail and MS-mail. I’d like to continue sending mail to my Windows-using friends, thank you very much. Not to mention that traditional computers aren’t even the only thing that can send e-mail these days. My cell phone just doesn’t have the cycles to loan out to Folding@Home. This could also potentially cripple web-based mail systems that are running at high load already.

Just some thoughts. I’ll let someone else do the actual bashing.

Ya know what, Ian Fan? Fuck you!

If you don’t like reading Bill Gates bashing, then don’t read it, and go post somewhere else.
Oh, nice coding, BTW. :rolleyes:

I don’t use hotmail, or yahoo, or AOL, or any other web-based email, and you know what? I don’t get any spam, either. So, no, I don’t want to spend another 10 seconds playing footsie with my ISP to fucking use the service that I already have paid for, and I don’t want to have to pay an extra fee for every email I send, either. If the email service providers really wanted to get rid of spam, they’d have done it already, just like if the USPS hated junk mail as much as the people who receive it do, it would stop delivering it.

Why should the individual, private, innocent emailers have to pay in time or money to fix a problem that they haven’t contributed to (except by having an email address)? Why should I have to prove that my email to my parents on the other side of the globe, or to my friend (via cell phone) across town is legitimate when I’ve already paid for the fucking connection?

Ok, everyone needs to stop freaking out about Bill Gates being one of the featured individuals of the above CNN link.

This sort of mechanism would probably not be instantiated on an individual’s computer (i.e. on a computer set up with Outlook). I would imagine that something this large-scale would have to be handled on a basis of ISPs and their hardware. (Just a side note-- there are many ISPs out there besides MSN. So, even if Gates were to bring any money in off of this, so would all of his competitor-- like AOL.)

I think people are imagining scenarios like what Tentacle Monster described, and not realizing how far off base those kind of ideas are. Yeah, I will agree that Gates is a shady character, but c’mon people, he’s not an idiot.

I think 4 years of having GW in office has made everyone super paranoid.


Oh, yeah?

How many versions of the Windows OS have you purchased?

Check for yourself how many ‘help me with this XP problem’ threads have been posted in GQ.

Bill Gates is the reincarnation of P.T. Barnum.

It just looks like the bowl they use to cut around it now has a large jagged edge.

I wish my head was as clear as his. Just walk out looking like a poster-boy for dorks with no concern for style, etc. We all should be that ignorantly bliss.

gluteus maximus said:

I’ve been using Windows OSs for as long as I have worked with computers (with the exception of my Commodore 64). I am quite aware of the many problems existing in these operating systems (I even <gasp> develop applications for these “horrid” operating systems). I still fail to see how or why Gates would try to corner this type of “market” with Windows (or an application, or whatever). Yeah, I’ll agree that he would like to see some kind of profit from this, but doing what you’re thinking he would do would fail more miserably than Windows ME.

I don’t have any problems with people calling Gates names, pitting Windows, etc… I do have a problem with people trying to believe he knows nothing about computers, and their role in our society.


Yeah, but the point is that the proof of computation is included in the email itself, and is not trivially forgeable. So regardless of what email client you use, you still can’t get your email through if you don’t do the computation. Given the diversity of the email world, it’s difficult to see how Gates can force a closed standard on the world without a concerted mass hari-kiri on the part of the other email vendors, not to mention the sysadmins of non-Exchange networks. Bill doesn’t have the power in the internet world that he does on the desktop; witness Microsoft’s relative failure thus far with smartphones and set-top boxes.

Again, it’s difficult to see how this makes technical sense. The proposed system is an infrastructural “herd” type of thing, much like immunisation. It’s not about what you’re allowed to send, it’s about what you expect to ever get read. There’s no mechanism to stop you sending plain ol’ email, it’s just that by moving to a system where readers require some sort of authenticated mail, senders need to move to this scheme too.

See my earlier point about MS’ ability to force a new standard on the market. This isn’t something they can get out there by bundling; it will have to offer a genuine advantage if people are to adopt it. If it does, then it deserves to be adopted, and if it doesn’t it won’t.

My personal opinion is that this isn’t the ideal solution, purely from a technical standpoint. The other options, such as small-currency stamps worth a cent or two, and simple certification combined with blacklists both have their problems. The former suffer from a lack of decent micropayment technologies at the moment, and the latter would probably end up over-centralised, giving some organisation too much power. However, it’s easy to ascribe sinister motives to any solution that is proposed, be it payment , computational or certificate based. The argument that company X is trying to get everyone to use their own system is the weakest of all - of course they are, that is the reason they are in business. Shaky ground is reached when it is presumed that they have some magical ability to force us to use it. IE and Office aren’t comparable examples, since these are standalone programs, not infrastructure replacements. Each arrived on a user’s computer from the get-go, with the user unaware anything else was necessary. Email is so utterly embedded that to say Bill Gates is going to somehow force us all to pay him tribute to use it is just unrealistic.

And could you imagine the carnage if tomorrow, the unwashed masses went out and installed Linux on their desktops? All those open Sendmail relays , so little time… (Because I sorta doubt Joe User, who cannot be bothered to click ‘update now’, will secure their alternative OS properly)

I was on the admin team for the world’s largest private email system, and believe you me, spam costs. Unfortunately, I don’t think we will ever have a perfect solution, barring accepting only trusted emails. But then, email won’t really be email. Capital punishement for spammers, say I.

As for the haircut, Gates probably figures “On the internet, nobody knows if you look like a dork.” :wink:

Your secret is safe. :slight_smile:

My elite coding skills are necessary so that your thick head has a chance of actually interpreting the article. I suggest you look past your hate for Gates and actually start thinking objectively. You started out with the notion that Gates is going to try to get a penny from you every time you send e-mail, which is not the case. Now you’re just ranting over your annoyance with the system, which is fine. Two completely different things. I have no problem with reasonable debate, but tainting a topic with incorrect information because of your bias is absurd.