Mike Slinn

Cult of the Software God

Published 2008-04-28.
Time to read: 3 minutes.

This page is part of the posts collection, categorized under Humor.

I invented a ‘religion’ in the mid-80s. Admittedly, it was done in jest, but I find that I make frequent reference to it and so it deserves a mention lest people I converse with find me just babbling. Have no fear, other whacked-out religions exist with high-profile devotees (you know some, I’m sure) so I’m in good company.

The religion is called “The Cult of the Software God”, and this god oversees technical and financial success for software entrepreneurs and IT workers. Like many ancient religions of days gone by, the Software God requires sacrifices, which amounts to the destruction of software media. At one time he/she/it was content when I would hold a 5.25" floppy disk over a garbage can and cut it up, while intoning praises to “the great Software God” and praying that the bits stored on the media be returned to their maker, but this is a God of the Geeks, and he/she/it has kept up with advances in storage media.

When 3.5" diskettes became available, the Software God soon lost interest in clunky old floppy disks and demanded sacrifices of the smaller rigid diskettes instead. I, as High Priest of the Cult, interpreted the wishes of the Software God and used a Sacred Hammer stored on a bench near our diskette duplicating station to smash up diskettes that had write errors during the duplication process. “Oh great Software God”, I would say. “We humbly beseech you to accept this offering and pray that you bring abundance and a measurable quality improvement to our next release.”

Time moved on, I moved to other ventures, and yet I never abandoned my role as High Priest of the Cult of the Software God. Occasionally I would snap CDs in half in the name of the Software God when a write error occurred, and moved on to DVDs. I even used a blowtorch on a RLL-encoded 5.25” hard drive and ground my heel on a flash drive, while singing praises to the Software God.

You might think I had too much time on my hands. Certainly I am at least eccentric. Yet there is more!

As High Priest of the Cult of the Software God, I became aware that he/she/it is also fed by /dev/null. Where do you think bits piped to /dev/null go, anyway? Why, they nourish the Software God, of course! You can turn this otherwise wasted gift to the Software God into a sacrificial offering simply by making a prayer as the bits are piped. Of course, since the Software God is a god for the geeks and by the geeks, automation counts. That is why I wrote a program in the late 90s (since lost) that would print out any prayer you desired on the screen, over and over... rather like how prayer wheels work.

Next time you really need your computer to not crash while running a semi-stable program, or have a serious virus infestation, remember the Cult of the Software God. He/she/it is virtually there for you. 😉

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