Chris Long's Column: Bill Gates knows I'm a dork!

I don't know what all this fuss about technology is about personally.

Frankly I think it is all a bit over rated. I mean, are there any really useful bits of technology out there? For example, I have this new Pentium III PC with all mod cons, and all it does is what other PCs do but a bit faster. Which essentially means the amount of time between it hanging is shorter.

I want real technology with real technology stuff in it. Like say a device that can turn water into Budweiser. Turn my TR7 into a rust free zone or get Gina Davis to go out with me.

And the Internet is a prime place to look for things to improve. Let us start at the most basic part of the Internet -- writing on line. Email and online conferencing was once described to me as being a very blunt instrument. This may have been because I was having an email row with a loved one and she probably wanted to hit me with said blunt instrument -- those welding and panel beating evening classes rather took over her life.

What we want is some sort of technology that takes emails and online postings and sorts them out. Making them understandable would be a good start. And to anyone who felt the need to suggest my writing as the first candidate well, actually maybe you have a point. Unfortunately it was my writing that really focused my mind on just HOW MUCH we need, or, indeed, I need, a piece of technology to say 'are you sure you want to send this because you are just about to make a complete dork of yourself?'

All I want is the option. The option to know when I'm going to make a complete dork of myself and say 'yeah I've not made a dork of myself for about 25 minutes, lets do it!' Or 'Noooooooooooooooooooo! Not a dork, not this time!'

It's a simple story, last month a producer a director and myself, flew to Seattle. It was a long flight made no shorter by the fact that I had apparently been given a child's seat. I don't know which particular child's seat I had been given but I knew for sure they weren't anything over 4 foot tall and very thin.

At the end of the flight was an hour with Bill Gates -- I didn't needed to be rested and relaxed, I needed my head examined.

See, I have this day job working for Sky's Technology Channel [.tv] (pronounced 'Dot TV') and in a moment of incredible foolhardiness I suggested we do a TV interview with Gates. I never thought it would come off. Me and Bill Gates? That'll teach me to not eat before I go drinking.

Anyway the interview went fine and we caught the flight home. I sat in the same size seat but this time next to a whining vegan with a screaming two year old daughter, but I was getting used to it by now.

To mark the success of the interview I sent Mr Gates a thank you email -- not for one instant thinking he would read it. "This is just a quick note to say thanks for the interview you gave" I said, and whittered on for a line or two and signed off. I spent about an hour making it seem as spontaneous as possible.

He did read it and eleven days later I got a reply from him and I was horrified.

Underneath his polite reply was my original message, I saw what I had written and had sent to the RICHEST AND POSSIBLY THE MOST POWERFUL BUSINESS MAN IN THE WORLD. The following excerpt from my email will probably be accompanied by sobbing sounds, do not adjust your computer, it's only me.

I had written: "This is just a quick note to say thanks for the you gave interview"

"the you gave interview"? Oh my god!

I want some technology and I want it now! Anything, maybe just a bag to put over my head, just something to stop me sending important people emails with terrible mistakes in them. Tell me I'm not the only person that does this -- please!!

Someone tell him I didn't mean it.