Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A look at the “techies” we lost in 2013

There have been amazing technological advances in the past century.  2013 saw it’s share of  innovative, pioneers that have impacted the industry dramatically.  Young and old, each person on this list helped shape our technology industry with a lasting impression.

Here are the trailblazer’s and their accomplishments:


Hank Asher (Pioneered Databases)
Hank Asher didn’t make it through highschool but he did create “data fusion”.   A software integrating databases and mining them.  Asher founded two data companies; Database Technologies, and Seisant.  AutoTrack, Accurint and Matrix are some of his products used by law enforcement for data-mining.

He died peacefully at his home at the age of 61.


Aaron Swartz (Programming Prodigy)
At 14 years old, Swartz contributed to RSS standard code.  In his teens, he founded a company that merged into Reddit.  Swartz became an activist, hacking the legal database PACER, so public court decisions were freely available. JSTOR was also hacked by Swartz, an academic database, which resulted in his arrest and charged with multiple felonies.

He committed suicide days before his trial at the age of 26.


Amar Bose (Genius of Boss)

Amar Bose the problem solver.  In 1956 Bose had a problem with some hi-fi speakers he purchased, so figured out how to make them better.  He started his “Bose” speaker company in 1964 and developed new approaches on acoustics and noise-canceling headphones.  Bose made breakthrough’s with aviation, defense, and even nuclear physics.

He died at the age of 83 in Wayland, Massachusetts.


Ken Brill (Father of Datacenters)

Brill was an electrical engineer in training when he founded the UpTime Institute in 1993.  He used the platform to mark the data center, which built the foundation on which cloud computing emerged.  UpTime is known best for its tier classification for comparing data centers.

Brill died at the age of 69 after developing cancer.


Doug Engelbart (The Mouse of Man)

One of computing’s greatest visionaries, Engelbart invented the computer mouse.  He contributed to the development of hypertext, word processing, graphical user interfaces, networking and real-time collaboration, including videoconferencing.  Although he was the visionary and inventor, he didn’t commercialize his ideas.  That was left to others at the Stanford Reasearch Institute.

Engelbart died at the age of 88.


Barnaby Jack (“Jackpotter”)

Barnaby Jack was able to make cash spit out money from atm’s like it was “jackpotting”.  He showed his ability to hack a pacemaker from 30 feet to make it discharge enough electricity to kill its user.  Jack was able to find flaws embedded in the devices.

The New Zealand-born hacker died the week before giving a talk to the Black Hat security conference on how pacemakers and other medical devices could be hacked.  Barnaby Jack died at the age of 35 in his home in San Francisco, with the cause unknown.


Ray Dolby (Amplification & Clarification)

In 1971, starting with A Clockwork Orange, Dolby revolutionized movies with surround sound.  Sound became an art form, Dolby pioneered to work on inspiring technologies that fueled the imagination of the entertainment and communications industries.

The modest Dolby, died at the age of 80.


Wayne Green (Take a Byte out of life)

Wayne Green began writing on amateur radio in the 1950′s.  The facinator of laptops, cell phones, e-mail, and consumer computing. Wayne was the editor of CQ magazine before he went on to 73, 80 Micro, Byte, CD Review, Cold Fusion and many more in his career.  In the 1980′s, Green created the groundbreaking Brazilian microcomputing magazine.

Wayne Green died at the age of 91.


Hiroshi Yamauchi (Game Man)

Hiroshi Yamauchi took over his family’s Japanese playing-card company Nintendo in 1949, at the age of 21.  Nintendo was revolutionary in the gaming industry.  Even though Yamauchi was not a gamer, Nintendo dominated the business.

Hiroshi Yamauchi died at the age of 85 from phenumonia.


Willis Ware (Electronics Visionary)

Few saw the future of computing like Willis Ware did.  Ware worked on classified electronics during World War II.  Ware built an early digital computer with John von Neumann, then another for RAND.  In 1972, Ware recommended against secret databases, saying that people should know what data is help on them and how it is used.  He was ignored.

Ware died at the age of 93.

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Tech luminaries we lost in 2013 – ComputerWorld

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