[sf-lug] Remembering Eric P. Scott

Michael Paoli Michael.Paoli at cal.berkeley.edu
Sun Jan 25 21:41:53 PST 2015

Eric P. Scott is missed, and shall be missed.

I'm not sure when I first met Eric, but most likely it was sometime in
2003, when I first started attending various Linux (and Unix) user
groups and related.  Always a great friendly guy, very helpful,
knowledgeable, and a wonderful contributor in many ways.  And as I've
learned, also very active helpful contributor to many communities in
addition to Linux and Open Source.

Just some of my many memories regarding Eric:

o Restaurant food maps - most certainly the best maps ever created for
   restaurant food to be found in the SOMA area around the Moscone
   Convention center and surrounding area, and also likewise the
   Financial District / North of Market map.  These were maps, which
   still today, make any similar attempts by Yelp or Google look like
   a poor joke.  He walked *all* those streets and alleys, and regularly
   updated those maps, and would often make them very available at, e.g.
   User Group booths at LinuxWorld Expo, other occasions/events, and
   also had them available on-line.  He did this for many years ... until
   his knees wouldn't well cooperate with that regularly walking those
   many many miles on hard cement sidewalks.

o Partimus - he was quite involved in Partimus, and I well remember
   working alongside Eric and others doing installation and setup of
   Ubuntu onto computers at Partimus school installation.

o BALUG, SF-LUG, Ubuntu, BAD, BerkeleyLUG, ... he was very involved in
   these and others.  Even today I was giving away and still have
   DVDs he'd earlier prepared and "burned", and in DVD envelope color
   he'd specifically obtained for well matching Ubuntu theme.  He was an
   endless source of great information - and often also including quite
   useful stuff you didn't even know existed.  E.g. he'd mentioned and
   showed some nifty 3.5"HH hard drive plastic transport/storage cases
   that Central Computers was carrying - e.g. just what one would want
   and need for doing backups to bare hard drives for off-site backups -
   and I'd almost certainly earlier mentioned that I was in fact doing
   such backups.  He then later gave me one of those cases, and at
   another time also mentioned when they were on sale for $1.00 each at
   Central Computers.  Very shortly after I'd learned of his passing, I
   realized that drive case right next to me - it was the one Eric gave
   me just late last year, and I'd used it earlier this month in
   transporting a drive to work on getting linuxmafia.com operational
   again, and was going to be using it yet again to retrieve that drive
   from the temporary rescue/repair use it had been put to, for which
   the drive was no longer needed for that purpose.  I remember him
   mentioning some quite good gratis (free as in beer, but not as in
   freedom) "desktop support" type software, that allows one to remotely
   access and see and manipulate user's desktop to be supported, and
   that it worked for Linux and Windows, both ends of connection, and
   required no "server" application running on the desktop to be
   supported, and worked across The Internet, even if NAT was involved
   on both ends - wish I could remember the precise name of it now -
   probable I may find it handy some day (e.g. "mom" support) - but
   alas, I can't ask Eric now.  It was also Eric that told me about
   OpenDNS's OpenLate.  Fortune Cookies - it was Eric's idea - and much
   of his work, that led to the Fortune Cookie giveaway that we did at
   LinuxWorld Expo - with BALUG message on one side of fortune, and
   Untangle (also largely sponsored the costs) message on the other side
   - and I believe Eric was also the single largest personal individual
   contributor to the costs of that project.

o Sci-Fi - I know Eric was also quite active in that community, and
   particularly remember conversations on project where he'd volunteered
   to put together a working on-site registration system for them ...
   with nothing but a set of donated computers that were supposed to be
   all working and complete (they weren't), and a near zero budget.

o Cellular - Eric was highly knowledgeable on cellular - carriers/plans,
   deals, phones.  Not just some "best", but most any specific selection
   criteria (optimize for / primary consideration), and he'd have
   excellent information for a best fit for the relevant selection
   criteria (e.g. specific features, coverage, best deal for most any
   specific selection criteria).  Not to mention also being quite
   knowledgeable on relevant bits of history, politics, regulation, etc.
   I can and will quite miss that from him - especially as I go through
   current and future cellular decisions/considerations.

o Public Transportation - another Eric was very involved in and highly
   knowledgeable of.  Don't think I've ever known anyone more generally
   knowledgeable on the topic for the Bay Area and even California more
   generally, not to mention also much interesting related politics and
   history thereof.

o Exploratorium - he was quite involved there, and I've always been very
   partial to The Exploratorium.  First time I finally managed to visit
   the new location was last year on Ground Hog Day - it was Eric that
   had mentioned to me that was coming up as a free admission day to The
   Exploratorium (and was far too much fun for my digital camera to
   attempt to capture on a single fully charged battery).

o Hospitality and always knew the tips - it was Eric, after a meeting,
   who had membership to get into VIP cardmember hospitality suite at
   Westfield, and being able to bring in a guest, invited me in too.  And
   when they got around to time to close the hospitality suite for the
   night, it was Eric who also knew and well pointed out to me - their
   fresh baked goodies - they don't carry them over 'till the next day,
   so ... they just start giving them all away as they get towards
   closing - he always knew so many wonderful tips and information - for
   whatever/wherever/whenever such was relevant.  The deals, the best,
   the particularly cool/unique/wonderful, the good free stuff, etc.,

o (to be) new system - and ideas.  In December, we'd spoken a bit about
   new system he was looking forward to putting together for himself.
   He'd already gotten the hard drive(s), and I think some to much of the
   other hardware.  He mentioned idea/consideration I had ... but hadn't
   spoken of before.  On drive encryption, he brought up idea of,
   effectively, a "destroy on tamper" setup.  I.e. a setup where, if the
   hardware were disturbed or tampered with, the secret
   passphrase(s)/key(s) would automatically be destroyed ... and we both
   had quite the same idea on this - that such would be taken in
   environmentally, and that disturbing the environment (e.g. disturbing
   the hardware or perimeter), would in the physical act destroy the
   key(s)/passphrase(s).  I think his passing was not only quite
   unexpected surprise to most or all of us, but also something I believe
   he himself also would not particularly have expected.

Yes, he is and will be missed.  And together, in groups, and
individually, we each deal with this in our own ways.

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