Jef Raskin: Farewell to a Brilliant Mind
This past weekend the computing world lost the brilliant and innovative mind of the uber talented Jef Raskin. His work in human-computer interactions was visionary, challenging, and inspiring. I remember being impressed by his desire to challenge the status quo when I heard him give a keynote presentation at the Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology. [He actually took the spoiler off his Prius (a standard feature at the time if I recall correctly) to challenge the claims about its purpose because he didn't buy into what the car dealer was telling him about it. He found no appreciable difference in fuel economy or downward force (for traction).]
Pacifica, CA February 27, 2005--Jef Raskin, a mathematician, orchestral soloist and composer, professor, bicycle racer, model airplane designer, and pioneer in the field of human-computer interactions, died peacefully at home in California on February 26th, 2005 surrounded by his family and loved ones. He had recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Jef created the Macintosh computer as employee number 31 at Apple in the early 1980s, revolutionizing computer interface design. Jef invented "click and drag" and many other methods now taken for granted by computer users. He named the Macintosh project after his favorite variety of apple, the McIntosh, modifying the spelling for copyright purposes. Jef's article "Holes in the Histories" <http://jef.raskincenter.org/published/holes.html> addresses some popular misconceptions about the Macintosh Project. Jef strongly believed that computers should make tasks easy for people, not the other way around. For twenty-five more years, his work focused on improving interfaces, culminating in his book, The Humane Interface (Addison-Wesley, 2000). Jef created the Raskin Center for Humane Interfaces (RCHI), <http://www.raskincenter.org>, which will soon release a preview of Archy, a culmination and exemplar of his design principles. Archy redesigns the basic building blocks of computing to demonstrate an entirely new paradigm for computer use. RCHI will continue under the technical leadership of Jef's son, Aza Raskin.
Farewell, Jef, and thank you.