The passing of a computer pioneer and woodworker

If you appreciate the history of woodworking, you know that computers and woodworking haven’t coexisted until recently. In a former career, I was a computer geek. I got paid to teach and consult with others about how to maximize their productivity with CAD (Computer-Aided Drafting/Design) applications, specifically AutoCAD.

When I first learned CAD software back in the 1980’s I immediately started to put it to use designing woodworking projects. I would produce working drawings that I could take to the shop.

My career changed directions as I become an editor for Woodsmith and ShopNotes magazines, but I still dabble with CAD software, primarily Google’s SketchUp.

So, it was with interest and sadness that I read about the passing of one of the early pioneers of the personal computer as we know it. Dr. H. Edward Roberts was the inventor of the Altair computer. And he was a mentor to none other than Bill Gates, cofounder of Microsoft. What I found most interesting was that Dr. Edwards never lost his love for tinkering and was an accomplished woodworker.

Who says woodworking and computers don’t mix.

Here’s the article in The New York Times. It’s worth reading just for the historical information.