GATES' HEAVENLY EXPERIENCE
Gates died and, much to everyone's surprise, went to Heaven. When
he got there, he had to wait in the reception area.
reception area was the size of Massachusetts. There were literally
millions of people milling about, living in tents with nothing to
do all day. Food and water were being distributed from the backs
of trucks, while staffers with clipboards slowly worked their way
through the crowd. Booze and drugs were being passed around. Fights
were commonplace. Sanitation conditions were appalling. All in all,
the scene looked like Woodstock gone metastatic.
lived in a tent for three weeks until, finally, one of the staffers
approached him. The staffer was a young man in his late teens, face
scarred with acne. He was wearing a blue T-shirt with the words
TEAM PETER emblazoned on it in large yellow lettering.
said the staffer in a bored voice that could have been the voice
of any clerk in any overgrown bureaucracy. "My name is Gabriel
and I'll be your induction coordinator." Bill started to ask
a question, but Gabriel interrupted him. "No, I'm not the Archangel
Gabriel. I'm just a guy from Philadelphia named Gabriel who died
in a car wreck at the age of 17. Now give me your name, last name
first, unless you were Chinese in which case it's first name first."
Bill." Gabriel started searching though the sheaf of papers
on his clipboard, looking for Bill's Record of Earthly Works. "What's
going on here?" asked Bill. "Why are all these people
here? Where's Saint Peter? Where are the Pearly Gates?"
ignored the questions until he located Bill's records. Then Gabriel
looked up in surprise. "It says here that you were the president
of a large software company. Is that right?"
then, do the math chip-head! When this Saint Peter business started,
it was an easy gig. Only a hundred or so people died every day,
and Peter could handle it all by himself, no problem. But now there
are over five billion people on earth. Jesus, when God said to,
'go forth and multiply,' he didn't say 'like rabbits!' With that
large a population, ten thousand people die every hour. Over a quarter-million
people a day. Do you think Peter can meet them all personally?"
guess right. So Peter had to franchise the operation. Now, Peter
is the CEO of Team Peter Enterprises, Inc. He just sits in the corporate
headquarters and sets policy. Franchisees like me handle the actual
inductions." Gabriel looked though his paperwork some more,
and then continued. "Your paperwork seems to be in order. And
with a background like yours, you'll be getting a plum job assignment."
course. Did you expect to spend the rest of eternity sitting on
your ass and drinking ambrosia? Heaven is a big operation. You have
to pull your weight around here!" Gabriel took out a triplicate
form, had Bill sign at the bottom, and then tore out the middle
copy and handed it to Bill. "Take this down to induction center
#23 and meet up with your occupational orientator. His name is Abraham."
started to ask a question, but Gabriel interrupted him, "No,
he's not that Abraham."
walked down a muddy trail for ten miles until he came to induction
center #23. He met with Abraham after a mere six-hour wait.
is centuries behind in building its data processing infrastructure,"
explained Abraham. "As you've seen, we're still doing everything
on paper. It takes us a week just to process new entries."
had to wait *three* weeks," said Bill. Abraham stared at Bill
angrily, and Bill realized that he'd made a mistake. Even in Heaven,
it's best not to contradict a bureaucrat. "Well," Bill
offered, "maybe that Bosnia thing has you guys backed up."
look of anger faded to mere annoyance. "Your job will be to
supervise Heaven's new data processing center. We're building the
largest computing facility in creation. Half a million computers
connected by a multi-segment fiber optic network, all running into
a back-end server network with a thousand CPUs on a gigabit channel.
Fully fault tolerant. Fully distributed processing. The works."
could barely contain his excitement. "Wow! What a great job!
This is really Heaven!"
just finishing construction, and we'll be starting operations soon.
Would you like to go see the center now?"
and Bill caught the shuttle bus and went to Heaven's new data processing
center. It was a truly huge facility, a hundred times bigger than
the Astrodome. Workmen were crawling all over the place, getting
the miles of fiber optic cables properly installed. But the center
was dominated by the computers. Half a million computers, arranged
neatly row-by-row, half a million,...
running Claris software! Not a PC in sight! Not a single byte of
thought of spending the rest of eternity using products that he
had spent his whole life working to destroy was too much for Bill.
"What about PCs???" he exclaimed.
about Windows??? What about Excel??? What about Word???"
forgetting something," said Abraham.
that?" asked Bill plaintively.
is Heaven," explained Abraham. "We need a computer system
that's heavenly to use. If you want to build a data processing center
based on PCs running Windows, then,...