Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ed Foster, IT Consumer Advocate, Dies at age 59

Editor of Gripe Line at Infoworld, Ed Foster, passed away July 26, 2008

Ed Foster wrote one of the most important columns in the IT computer industry. I'm sure that lots of companies might not have appreciated him calling them out on their bad service, faulty products or restrictive End User License Agreements. But many of us consumers of computer hardware and software sure appreciated his work.

Ed wrote the kind of column that get people to subscribe. His was the column that I always turned to first. I trusted Ed. David Pogue at the New York Times has a bigger readership and Walt Mossberger of the WSJ is more influential, but Ed was the guy who cared about all the things that drove consumers of sophisticated hardware and software products nuts.

You can see in my blog title that "consumer advocate" is the second thing that I list as what I write about. Ed was an inspiration to me. He took on HUGE issues like End User License Agreements which have gotten out of control. Ed kept on exposing their draconian restrictions and suggesting better language for them. He was like my friends over at Boing Boing and EFF who care about the fine print--especially when it is used against consumers and citizens to make live more difficult or more frustrating.

Ed was a voice for the End User to the corporations. His family (and this publisher) should be so proud of him. Ed stood up for us. Read what some of his other fans had to say:
We have lost a staunch ally in the fight against industry injustices. -Rocktman2
Our industry has lost a true champion of not only what should be right but what should also be common sense - anonymous

Surely right now Ed is in heaven reviewing the fit, finish, software, and power supply to his harp to make sure it does not use DRM to broadcast its songs... econobiker

Smart corporations would use Ed as a way to easily find out what their customers were upset with. Instead of paying tens of thousands of dollars for end user research they could just go to Ed's column and see what people were unhappy about. (Of course it was public, which they probably didn't like, but since it was public they are more apt to do something than to bury it.)

There will be a hole in the page where is column lived, and there is a hole in the consumer advocate ranks today, but Ed's fighting spirit still lives on in the hearts and minds of all his loyal readers.

UPDATE: In lieu of flowers, Ed's family asks that donations be made to the Electronic Frontier Foundation in his name.


Blogger Rich said...

Does anyone know if Crooksandliars.com is down?

It's been down for hours and I'm wondering what the blockage is about (here in Central Florida).

3:05 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

Oh, the RSS feed is coming through http://politics.originalsignal.com/ on Friday 3pm pst.

3:07 PM  

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