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TUCoPS :: Cyber Law :: cbowl.txt

West coast nerds beat Eastern eggheads at computer competition




Reprinted without permission from Wall Street Journal

           West Coast Nerds Beat East Eggheads In Computer Bowl
                                   * * *
           Microsoft's William Gates Is trivial At The Contest;
                                   * * *
                          Key to the ASCII Escape
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     BOSTON--In the game show, as in life, the West Coast computer nerds beat
the East-following a close contest that was decided in a sudden-death
finish.
     The storied rivalry between Silicon Valley's laid-back computer
wizards and the buttoned-down businessman of Boston's flagging Route 128
region was reflected Friday in the second annual Computer Bowl.  The
Boston Computer Museum benefit, modeled after the college bowl game
show, featured an all-star cast including William H. Gates, reformed
hacker and billionaire chairman of Microsoft Corp. and Mitchell Kaper,
trivia whiz and founder of Lotus Corp.
     The East Coast team, captianed by Patrick J. McGovern, chairman of
International Data Corp. maintained a slim lead through much of the
contest, fielding the most obscure computer trivia questions.  Bob
Frankston, co-developer of the first electronic spreadsheet and chief
scientist at Lotus, was the Easst's most valuable player.
     The rapid-fire questions ranged from real softballs, (E-PROM as any
nerd knows stand for Eraseable Programmable Read-Only Memory) to the truly
arcane (Q. What's the ASCII equivalent for the ESCape key? A. 27).  Mr.
Frankston clad in the dark business suit that was the uniform of the East,
knew that one.  The West wore shirt sleeves.
     The West's big gun, Mr. Gates, didn't turn out to be much of a factor,
through he delivered in a couple of clutch situtations.  He was hot in a
warm-up round before the bowl-to be broadcast nationwide on PBS's "Computer
Chronicles" in May-but the East took the primary.  There was some
speculation that the warm-up loss was a setup by the wily Mr. Gates, and
someone from Microsoft was indeedseen taking bets.
     It was a bitter defeat for the East.  It's bad enough that the
momentum in the industry has shifted to the West and smaller, more nimble
machine, leaving the Eastern firms bleeting.  This was personal!
     After trailing most of the game, the West seized the lead in the fourth
quarter.  The East tied the score in the final seconds, but the West won at
the buzzer.  The coveted silver Computer Bowl was handed to the
Californians.  "The defeat of the unkown nerds from the failing East Coast
companies were inevitable." said West Coast captain and venture capitalist
L. John Doerr who couldn't resist rubbing it in.






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