Jim Ellis, dead at 45
He might not be a household name but the world is sadly one honorable person less this week. Ellis (along with fellow Duke University graduate Tom Truscott) invented the concept of Usenet back in 1979. A year later, the program was written and two computers in remote locations were allowed to share information between each other. By 1993, there were over a thousand Usenet newsgroups, and at the close of the century, nearly 40,000. Their efforts helped create the spread of information which became the foundation of what the web has done graphically, all without ever making a penny. I may have never known the guy, but without him, you wouldn't be reading brainwashed right now - I probably wouldn't have known Chris Miller, Greg Clow or Alan Ezust. On top of that, I probably wouldn't have held on to my beliefs and experiences from the early days that the exchange of this information should be free of charge, advertisements and corporate sponsorship. Thanks Jim, wherever you are, you were a visionary, a pioneer and man of principles.