Guy Royse

Work. Life. Code. Game. Later. Rinse. Repeat.

Let Him Who Hath Wisdom Reckon the Number of the Beast

My latest project is something that I have written three times: The Antichrist Detector.

The Antichrist Detector was conceived about 10 years ago when I stumbled upon the entertaining idea that Bill Gates was the Antichrist. The idea was simple and ludicrous. If you take the ASCII values of the name Bill Gates (uppercase only please as any good numerologist will tell you) they add up the 663.

“But wait!”, you’re saying, “That doesn’t add up to 666?”

Correct. But Bill Gates full name is William Henry Gates III. So, Bill Gates plus three does equal 666. It’s so obvious. How could you have not seen it?

Anyhow, this whole idea gave me a slightly twisted thought. You could automate this. Write a simple program and feed it the phone book and out pops a list of potential Antichrist. Not having a digitized phonebook handy I had another more practical (in as much as any of this is practical) idea. Why don’t I put up a website any let people enter their own names.

So, in 2000, I did. It was very successful and a lot of fun. It didn’t do much but it generated a healthy amount of traffic and a lot of logs. In fact, reading the logs was probably the best part about it. The emails I got, however, were also very interesting. The vast majority of them were from crackpots who thought I was serious. This greatly surprised but in hindsight, it probably shouldn’t have.

My initial attempt was written in C++ and invoked via CGI. When I started learning C# and .NET I decided to replatform it. So, version 2.0 was born. Later, I moved to new hosting and no longer had .NET so I replatformed it again and used it as an excuse to learn jQuery and PHP. 3.0 was born. In each incarnation I added new features. 2.0 gained statistics. 3.0 gained an RSS feed.

So, I am now staring down the barrel of The Antichrist Detector 4.0. This time, I am using it to learn Ruby, Google Appengine, and more advanced JavaScript techniques. I plan to also add features to this one as well. Most notably, you will now be able to issue Antichrist Detections via Twitter!

Obviously, the Antichrist Detector has turned into a bit of a “Hello World” application for me that I use to learn new technology. But, it’s also fun and I hope that you can enjoy it as well.

I’ll post the link to the new version once it is somewhat available.

— February 23, 2010