They say that birds of a feather flock together – so it made sense that when U2’s uber-wealthy lead singer visited Seattle earlier this spring, he stayed with the world’s richest man.

According to news reports, Microsoft founder Bill Gates hosted Bono at his home in Bellevue, Wash., a $120-million

estate on the shores of Lake Washington. The pair also hung out together after a concert in Seattle. Gates, who shares Bono’s passion for Third World development and relief efforts, originally got to know the Irish rocker through their shared philanthropic endeavours several years ago.

But when asked if their friendship would entice him to buy one of Microsoft rival Apple Computer’s black-and-red U2 edition iPods, Gates reportedly said: “Absolutely not.” Looks like friendships only extend so far.

Weird windfall

Windfalls can come from the weirdest places. For example: A British engineer recently collected a $15,000 bounty for turning in his near-mint copy of a famous 40-year-old electronics magazine.

Intel had posted a reward for a copy of the April, 1965 issue of Electronics, in which company co-founder Gordon Moore accurately forecast years of exponential improvements in computer chip performance. Later dubbed Moore’s Law, the forecast has become gospel for $280-billion chip industry.

News of the reward reached Surrey, England, where an engineer named David Clark found a copy under the floorboards of his house among piles of other publications. So it would appear that being a pack-rat can pay off.

Intel’s high-profile bounty, posted on the Web auction site eBay, sent librarians around the United States scrambling to lock-down copies before bounty hunters arrived.

Intel spokesman Manny Vara told news agencies that the company’s listing turned up two dozen leads, but many of them turned out to be digital reprints, photocopies, or originals that were bound with other issues and could not be separated without destroying the original binding. Two other good copies turned up, but neither were in as good condition as Clark’s, he said. Intel plans to put the magazine on public display at the company’s museum in its Santa Clara, Calif. headquarters, Vara said.

The chip maker might still purchase a few more copies: One would serve as a backup for the museum, and the other to give to Moore himself, who lent out his copy years ago and apparently lost track of it.

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