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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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SOME 10 days ago, foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides raised expectations by announcing the possibility of a deal with Turkey for the opening of the fenced off area of Famagusta, for the return of its inhabitants. In exchange the Cyprus government would agree to the opening of Tymbou airport to direct flights. ...
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By George Psyllides PRIVATE auditors have expressed doubt the electricity authority (EAC) could be considered a going concern and have asked its board to draft a credible plan to tackle the problem, according to the auditor-general’s 2012 report on the semi-state company. Among other issues, ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Bill Gates: capitalist brainiac or plain old nerd? ]

Bill Gates: capitalist brainiac or plain old nerd?

BILL GATES went to his office as Microsoft head honcho for the last time last Friday. The man who changed the world like nobody else in history, from tomorrow morning, will not be at the helm of the company he founded in 1975 with his friend Paul Allen. He was just 20 and had dropped out of Harvard, where he had studied for two years.

He has withdrawn from the company to devote his time and energy to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is involved in charity work all over the world. I know Gates has his critics and has had several disputes with the US authorities over Microsoft’s business practices, but I think we still owe him a big, warm ‘thank-you’, as he literally changed our lives for the better.

I do not know how many people appreciate the magnitude of Gates’ contribution to today’s world. Surely no other person in the history of humanity has changed our daily life so drastically in such a short period of time. In the space of 20 years – from 1980 to 2000 – technology has made more progress than it had made in the rest of its history. And Gates was the undisputed pioneer of this incredible progress.

It is easy to understand the scale of this change by casting the mind back to the start of the eighties and recalling how daily life was at work and at home. Just think how we would perform our daily work today without the computer technology we have at our disposal and nowadays take for granted.

We would still be using a typewriter for all documents; accountants would still be making entries by hand in those bulky log books of yesteryear, still using adding machines. Newspapers would still be produced in unhealthy environments and at the supermarket you would need longer for your bill to be prepared by hand than you would to shop; our bank statement would arrive at the end of the next month.

In other words, productivity would have been a small fraction of what it is today without computer technology. Businesses and services would have required many more staff to operate and at a speed we can only laugh at today.

So who is this man who had such a far-reaching effect on our life? David Rensin, who interviewed Gates for Playboy magazine in 1994, wrote the following:

“Since founding Microsoft in 1975 with Paul Allen, Gates has been described as everything from a capitalist brainiac to a plain old nerd.”

The New Yorker wrote: “To many people, the rise of Bill Gates marks the revenge of the nerd. Actually, Gates probably represents the end of the word nerd as we know it. Maybe that’s why a software competitor and friend once called him one part Albert Einstein, one part John McEnroe and one part General Patton.”

Today, 14 years later, one could add, with no intention of being sacrilegious, and “one part Christ” – and not just for the effect he has had on people’s lives. Gates, who until last year was the wealthiest man in the world – worth $52 billion – has donated $29 billion to help people. He has contributed large sums of money towards fighting AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and starvation in Africa; he has offered countless scholarships and financed educational projects.

Presumably, from tomorrow he will dedicate himself to helping people, using a large part of his fortune, and I am sure he will make a good job of it. But even if he does nothing else ever again he has already booked a place in the history books. After all, is there anyone else who has made such a big contribution to the history of humanity?

(Source: Cyprus Mail)

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