The geek community lost someone truly special today. Someone who touched a lot of lives and inspired a lot of people. Someone who may not be fortunate enough to have a movie or book made about her life, but who inspired so many of us to do amazing things.
I am speaking of my old friend Melody Bliss. Back in the 1990s, I knew her as Melody Yoon, and she lived across the street from me when I rented a small one-bedroom apartment in Mountain View in 1997. Mel would regale all of us with her expert wisdom on all things UNIX, Texas, gun safety, and kittens.
I was really a beginner, a noob as they say, and Mel was one of those people who always made time to explain things. I used to joke that she taught me how to spell ‘ls’, the first UNIX command I ever used. It’s probably actually true.
Melody taught me how to set up dialup networking on my Sun Sparc IPX, running the Solaris operating system. She made things look easy, because they were easy for her. I remember being completely dumbfounded and baffled when she set up my computer to use PPP over the Metricom Ricochet wireless service.
We all knew her as _Melody_ on IRC (Internet Relay Chat), and I believe she probably added the underscores in her name because she was so popular that it made an extra few steps so that she would get fewer chat messages and things would be manageable.
Mel had persistent health issues and lost her battle today. We all lost her battle. She will be truly missed. Whatever you are doing, and whatever your field of expertise is, take a moment to think about someone who helped you when you were a beginner, and thank them.