My Grandfather on my dad's side was a tinkerer. A quiet, shy man who was forever building something interesting. The way my father tells it he was alway fiddling with some sort of electronics. He built machines that were self-aligning, soldered things, played with electricity, messed with lasers and wrote C code. Later, he taught himself about the web and built sites into his 70s.
I remember my father telling me about this company called Microsoft that my Grandfather had called to tell him about. He said the personal computer would change the world and explained why 32 bits and the i386 was such a big deal. Shortly after that my father got his hands on an old 8bit Apple II e that was wasting away in our landlords attic and my mother began volunteering in my elementary schools computer lab.
I did not know what a huge impact computers would have on my life at the time (I wanted to fly airplanes and build a helicopter) but I enjoyed hearing about my Grandfather and liked to build things too. Hal never made it out to California and I only met him in person a handful of times over the years. It’s a shame we did not know each other better but I know Hal was like us and he would have liked everything we are trying to build here and would have really enjoyed this community.
He had a good run and told my aunt he was ready to go. Hal Brown was born Jan 21st 1930, raised six kids, outlived his wife Lenore (Lenny) and one of his children, and died the morning of January 17th 2014. He would have been 84 today. I’m sad he's gone and I’ll tell my little boy some stories about him when he gets a bit older.
PS. I'd love to hear about the people in your life that inspired you.