The sad news promulgated several days ago that Ray Tomlinson passed away on Saturday, March 5th. Most known for his invention of email, Ray also contributed heavily to ARPANET, TENEX, and many other projects. He was one of the many great pioneers in the early days of digital computing technology who helped shape the world as we know it today. While much of his work and many of his contributions have already passed into obscurity due to the ever expanding, glamorous universe of modern technology, his memory still stands as a testament to what the people in our industry are capable of accomplishing even without any precedents.
So long, Ray, and thanks for all the email.
One of the stark realities that becomes more clear from Ray’s passing is that many of the technological frontiersmen from the 60s and 70s are closer to the end of their lives than they are to their prime. Another decade or so, and the generation that largely laid the foundation upon which western society in many aspects currently rests will no longer be with us.
Where would we be now without him? .. without bandwidth spikes at lunch time and many un-featured cats falling into boxes chasing laser pointers on youtube during lunch hour. That’s where!