Bill Gates traveling in Antarctica

Where does one of the richest men in the world go to get away from it all? Apparently, in the case of Bill Gates, it’s Antarctica. The Chairman of Microsoft used his twitter account to post his thoughts on the frozen continent a few days back, saying “the beauty is amazing”, while lamenting the fact that his satellite Internet connection prevented him from uploading photos.

Gates is reportedly on vacation at the bottom of the world, taking some time away from his duties with the software giant that he helped found and his Gates Foundation which works with a number of different programs on a global level to improve the lives of people around the world in a variety of ways.

How Gates is traveling in the Antarctic isn’t clear, but it’s likely that he is on an adventure cruise through the icy waters that surround the continent. While travel into the interior is done for the season, cruises will continue for several weeks yet.

In one of his tweets, Gates says “I’m guessing not much tweeting has been done from Antarctica”, but he might be surprised to hear that a number of explorers that traveled to the South Pole on skis over the past couple of years have used twitter to send updates back on their status and progress. Clearly technology has pervaded every segment of our life and communication is now possible from all corners of the planet.

Gates promises to tell us more about his journey on his Gates Notes website in the near future. Can’t wait to hear more about his trip.

Bench 2.0: the strangest seat in Bury St. Edmunds

In 2001, sleepy Bury St. Edmunds, England received an interesting gift, ultimately from Microsoft CEO Bill Gates. In the Abbey Garden, the town’s centerpiece, is what the locals claim to be the world’s first internet-enabled bench. Sponsored by, the seat contains jacks for internet cables and is said to provide direct access to the web. Unfortunately, the development has been rendered irrelevant already, thanks to the ubiquity of wireless internet access in Europe and around the world. Since I no longer travel with an arm’s length of Category 5 cable, I don’t know if the access from the bench works … though tour guide Anthony Mitchell referred to its functionality in the present tense.

Today, two cultures coexist comfortably in the Abbey Garden. The latest generation bench sits amid ruins from more than half a millennium ago. I guess there are worst settings for checking your Twitter feed!

Disclosure: Visit Britain shelled out some cash for this experience, and British Airways supplied the flights. I do wonder, though, if they would have liked me to write about anything else from the four hours I spent in St. Edmundsbury. We spent about five minutes at the bench, after all.

Globe-trotting with Bill and Warren

Now, doesn’t this scene look like loads of fun? Bill Gates and Warren Buffett hanging out on a Boeing Business Jet, totally relaxed, drinking soda, playing cards and talking biz? It’s not fun as in Hooters Air kind of fun, but the actual plane looks better. (If you look very closely, you will notice that Warren reads The New York Times, not The Wall Street Journal. Who knew?)

This is an actual ad for NetJets, a company Warren Buffett bought in 1998, I saw in The Economist this week. Netjets provide fractional jet ownership programs to those who find your typical first class cabin simply suffocating.

I wonder how much Warren had to pay Bill in order to be in his ad?