This post will be slightly different than most on this blog. Normally we focus only on science and technology advances and interesting research or theories. However these two gentlemen who died this week had such an impact on the world of technology that they deserve mention.

The first is internet activist and pioneer, Aaron Swartz. As a child he learned computer programming and software development from his father, who operated a software company. By age 14 he was part of the working group that developed the RSS standard, which is still in common usage for blogs and news feeds, and soon after was one of the developers of the Reddit site. In recent years he helped to build Wikipedia to its current state, and ardently fought to stop SOPA and other internet privacy issues. Because of his work as an activist, he also faced a lot of corporate and government legal actions, but still fought hard for the principles of a free and open internet. Unfortunately his depression caught up with him Friday, and he seemingly chose to end his own life. He was far too young, and we can only imagine what more he could have contributed to a rapidly changing technological world.

On the other side of the generation gap, Vancouver based futurist Frank Ogden (aka Dr Tomorrow) died on Dec 29 at age 92. A longtime friend of fellow futurist Arthur C. Clarke, Ogden had published 22 books in which he predicted the rise of streaming video and Youtube type sites, predicted rising self employment versus a traditional workforce, and an assortment of other technologies - some currently in existence and some still in development. That was in addition to setting records as a pilot, lecturing around the world, advising governments, and generally being a jack-of-all-trades. He was a most interesting person, and a great author and lecturer. 

Both men were visionaries, and both have left the world a little better for having been.