Blue screen of death crashes Gates at CES
Opening keynote does not go entirely to plan
Iain Thomson, vnunet.com 06 Jan 2005
Bill Gates's legendary luck failed him during his keynote presentation at the 2005 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
His demonstration of Microsoft Media Center crashed during the presentation on integrating digital photography, and later a Microsoft product manager failed to access the internet with a Tablet PC.
A new game, Forza Motor Sport, also triggered the dreaded Windows blue screen of death.
The presentation started on a jokey theme, with late-night TV host Conan O'Brien presenting a mock version of his own show and a video diary of his and Bill's 'lost weekend' in Las Vegas.
"I got too drunk, I woke up with a hooker," O'Brien said. "Bill got too drunk, he woke up with an Apple computer."
O'Brien said that he was unable to criticise Microsoft because it had implanted a Pentium in his brain, and suggested that Gates should be played by Milhouse from The Simpsons.
But his banter was less welcome when things started to go wrong. "OK, and right now nine people are being fired," O'Brien said as they waited for a slide show to appear.
Gates traditionally has a reputation for being lucky at showing off software to its best effect.
A major slip occurred at a Windows 98 demo at Comdex in 1998 that went into blue screen mode, but Gates returned the next year to successfully show off the progress that had been made.
I was half listening, half watching (don't ask) this last night as it happen, and it was pretty entertaining, mostly for all the wrong reasons. It seemed like every time they (Microsoft) tried to show something off, it didn't work. Conan was great and made this all very entertaining, saying things like, "Man, who's in charge of Micros...oh...never mind."
The good news for those who missed this and want to watch it is that you still can. For a small clip which includes Gates talking about the Xbox, which includes the BSOD with Forza, you can download a clip from this site (~20 MB)
. Key points of interest are around the 7:50 mark, right before the game crashes, and around the 10:15 mark, which shows Conan's screen going at very low frame rates while he raced Bill.
If you want the whole thing, use this address:
You can either stream it by opening it in Windows Media Player or you can download it (like I'm doing now) using HiDownload, Flashget, or whatever program that will let you download it. Also, be warned that this is ~178 MB, and the show is, IIRC, longer than an hour. Conan helped by making a lot of funny jokes, which really seemed to piss Bill off, and the Microsoft screwups were pretty funny as well, but this may still be pretty boring, unless you are into the future of consumer electronics or something like that. The only part of the demonstration that was interesting, IMO, was the baseball demo that showed numerous baseball games at once along with different viewing angles. The "no delay between channels" thing was ok too.
If these links don't work and if you tell me, I'll see if I can find some more somewhere else (unless someone here knows of some places). This is a pretty big joke in other forums, so I may be able to find an alternate link there.
BTW, for anyone who read my earlier posts about me thinking they were going to announce Xbox2 at CES, this obviously didn't happen (at least not yet). Now it seems as though GDC in March will be most likely place to announce it, unless Microsoft wants to announce it in a special announcement on their own.