Developer's Toolkit

Blog archive

Never-Ending Bill for President 'Dilbert' Saga

As my faithful readers know, Redmond magazine was the first publication to seriously suggest that Bill Gates run for president. As you might also know, overexposed cartoonist Scott Adams had the same brilliant idea six weeks after you all heard about it -- and proceeded to take full credit.

One "Dilbert"-loving columnist, NetworkWorld's Paul McNamara, took the bait, and guessed that "Cartoonist Scott Adams started this flapdoodle with a Nov. 19 post on The Dilbert Blog that suggested there isn't anything wrong with this country that President Bill Gates couldn't cure in less time than it takes to get a new operating system out the door. Hey, everyone enjoys a good chuckle...and don't you just love that Dogbert?" Uh, no, and as for Dogbert, definitely no!

The otherwise upstanding Mr. McNamara continued his speciousness by again giving Adams full credit, even after the Barney/Adams idea seemed to die on the vine.

I've got to admit to being a little miffed, and whipped off this heated little message to my old pal:


As a columnist, imagine that you wrote a piece suggesting that Bill Gates run for president.

Before publishing, you do a thorough search to make sure the idea is not derivative. You find it's not.

You publish the column to 135,000 subscribers and many more pass along readers.

You also post it on the Web where you have a substantial audience.

There is a quick and passionate reader reaction.

Let's say you did this in October of last year.

Six weeks later, Scott Adams blogs about the same topic, and a different columnist from a different publication gives Adams total

Now, let's say the person who wrote the first column about Gates explained to the second columnist who it was that actually published the idea first, and did so to a broad audience.

You would think the second columnist, let's call him Net Buzz, would give proper credit the next time around.

Instead, this columnist, who purports to stand for honesty, once again gives credit to Scott Adams and then fawns over the fact that Adams sent him a seven-word reply.

If that happened to you, would you be irritated? I thought so.

Paul did apologize for his oversight, but somehow never bothered to correct it.

Posted by Doug Barney on 03/20/2007

comments powered by Disqus


  • Creating Reactive Applications in .NET

    In modern applications, data is being retrieved in asynchronous, real-time streams, as traditional pull requests where the clients asks for data from the server are becoming a thing of the past.

  • AI for GitHub Collaboration? Maybe Not So Much

    No doubt GitHub Copilot has been a boon for developers, but AI might not be the best tool for collaboration, according to developers weighing in on a recent social media post from the GitHub team.

  • Visual Studio 2022 Getting VS Code 'Command Palette' Equivalent

    As any Visual Studio Code user knows, the editor's command palette is a powerful tool for getting things done quickly, without having to navigate through menus and dialogs. Now, we learn how an equivalent is coming for Microsoft's flagship Visual Studio IDE, invoked by the same familiar Ctrl+Shift+P keyboard shortcut.

  • .NET 9 Preview 3: 'I've Been Waiting 9 Years for This API!'

    Microsoft's third preview of .NET 9 sees a lot of minor tweaks and fixes with no earth-shaking new functionality, but little things can be important to individual developers.

  • Data Anomaly Detection Using a Neural Autoencoder with C#

    Dr. James McCaffrey of Microsoft Research tackles the process of examining a set of source data to find data items that are different in some way from the majority of the source items.

Subscribe on YouTube