I’m saddened to relay this news, but Phil Goldman, who started his career at Apple and co-authored the System 6 MultiFinder with Erich Ringewald, passed away the day after Christmas. If you don’t remember his name from the "About MultiFinder" about box, you’ve probably heard of his most famous venture, WebTV, which he co-founded. More recently he founded Mailblocks, a company which provides spam-free email using a challenge-response approach.
The usual obituaries point out his career, his wife and two kids, and his work with Brave Kids, a charity that helps families with severely ill children remain connected through the Internet, in part by giving them free WebTVs.
But I will remember him as one of a very small class of people who understood software at the deepest levels. He could talk to you passionately about simplifying user interfaces and making software accessible, all the way down to how the Mac OS did process swaps efficiently… and he could debug it in MacsBug. He was also an exceptionally nice guy; in the WebTV days, he often had extra San Francisco 49ers tickets available, and he would send out email and give them away to whomever made it to his office first. Many of us in the computer industry will miss him personally, and the future will be poorer for the lack of his intelligence, insight, and passion.