Robert Spinrad, computer pioneer, RIP

Pioneering computer designer Robert Spinrad, former director of Xerox PARC, has died. He was 77. Dr. Spinrad was a prototypical maker who turned his passion for hacking electronics into groundbreaking research on laboratory automation and the use of computers in scientific experimentation. From the New York Times:
 Images 2009 09 07 Technology 07Spinrad190 Trained in electrical engineering before computer science was a widely taught discipline, Dr. Spinrad built his own computer from discarded telephone switching equipment while he was a student at Columbia. He said that while he was proud of his creation, at the time most people had no interest in the machines. “I may as well have been talking about the study of Kwakiutl Indians, for all my friends knew,” he told a reporter for The New York Times in 1983.

"Robert Spinrad, a Pioneer in Computing, Dies at 77"
Dr. Spinrad was the father of our pal and former BB guestblogger Paul Spinrad, an editor at MAKE. Our thoughts go out to Paul and his whole family.