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Tore André Klock
Programmer, geek, hobby photographer, not necessarily in that order.
Programmer, geek, hobby photographer, not necessarily in that order.
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When all the unit tests pass, but something is still not quite right.

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Thoughts on naming things when building software.

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Just wanted to promote a photographer who makes me more homesick than anyone before him. Check out Jan's photos from Ålesund and the surrounding areas. Absolutely stunning work.

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Finally some good news for diabetics.

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Featuring a cast of the original saboteurs, this 1948 movie is regarded as one of the most accurate movie portrayals of Operation Swallow. The speech is in Norwegian, French, English and German. The YouTube video is captioned in English, where available.

Just noticed that if you press the audio playback button in Google translate, it will say the words slower every other time. Nice touch!

I received news this morning that my dear friend, Gard, had passed away due to cardiac arrest--six days before his 43rd birthday. He leaves behind his wife Kaire, four sons ages 2-8, his parents and his older brother Jardar and sister-in-law. I want to express my condolences to the family, but I also wanted to share a story.

My first thought was denial: it cannot be. This is some kind of cruel spam email. But it was real. My second thought was for Kaire and the children, and the rest of the family who will miss him so much.

I reached out to a friend who suggested that I think of my favorite happy story with him. I think that’s a great idea, but if you know Gard like I did, you not only appreciated his sense of humor, but especially his dark sense of humor as well. I can think of one particular story that illustrates Gard’s sense of humor, compassion for others, technical savvy and knack for (sometimes accidental) innovation all in one.

This was back in college, just before “the web” took off. It was just called “the Internet” back then; Newsgroups, IRC, FTP, Archive, Veronica and Gopher were all the buzz. We were in college, we were nerdy, and we were just planning on watching some Star Trek using the satellite TV at the Student Association. Meanwhile, there was a closed party going on next door, we were kinda in the dumps, and as a group with a relatively dark sense of humor we joked about “depping”. Depp being short for depression, but used in the sense of “the blues”, not in the sense of actual clinical depression.

In a surge of caffeinated creativity, Gard suggested we create a newsgroup for this, and we came up with “alt.depp”. The “no.” newsgroup hierarchy was off-limits, since that was for serious stuff only, but “alt.” was for anyone. We created a FAQ, as required by the guidelines, and Gard submitted it to the control group. In his own words: (from https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/alt.support.depression/L5j8vbKd-5Q/jMFTm3L1zjsJ)

"""
ASD was originally thought up by me and my friends in college,
Tore A Klock and Fritjof Haavik. Not having TOO good a time having to
sit in the corner in the student society doing calculus homework
while everybody was partying, we wanted to put up a big sign saying
"Depp" (Norwegian slang for "to be depressed", though it is, in a way,
a more active word). We wanted to start "alt.depp", and we even made
a FAQ for it. After a discussion on UseNet, however, administrators
were more conservative and wanted it under the alt.support hierarchy,
and even use the word "depression" fully spelled out.
The original idea was to make ASD an area to have fun and even use
reverse psychology to help people out of their depressions. If you
can't have fun, let's make fun of not having fun, and you'll have fun.
Get the drift? I'll attach the original FAQ below.
When I posted the control message, nothing happened. At least not in
Norway. Only a year later did I discover that ASD existed, through
access to a public system in the US. I then begged one of the
Norwegian UseNet administrators to please import that newsgroup.
However, at this time, an entire ASD community had already started to
form, and seeing what a GREAT group it had become, I kind of left it
alone. It had gone way beyond my expectations in the way I saw people
support each other, not to mention how people were digging into
medicine and psychology. I read the group for a while, but can't
remember if I ever posted anything.
After getting busy working and stuff, I was off UseNet for a while,
and while I lived in Toronto, I dropped by for a few moments, and
emailed a couple of the participants directly. I also saw that someone
had started working on an incredible FAQ, and I kind'a felt good about
having started something like this. Even though I was kept from
participating in the group from the beginning, I like what it has become.
"""

Gard (with some participation from us), had “accidentally“ created a newsgroup for people that were really struggling with depression, and it obviously filled an empty space in the vast universe of newsgroups that were around. Gard found out about it, and saw that it was good. And it was.

I also think, knowing that Gard having previously been a victim of bullying, was probably not a total stranger to depression, but he dealt with it in the best way possible: by fighting for other victims and for spreading the word about bullying, even as he himself continued to be seen as an outsider in some circles. Being “different” in a small community is never easy, which Gard knew better than most. Gard knew Janteloven by heart. Thus, part of his legacy is one of compassion for others, expressed through technology and fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves, even has he continued his own fight.

After college, he moved to Toronto, making many good friends there. He attended my wedding here in Ohio when I moved to America a couple of years later. Contact with Gard was less frequent after that, since we were so far apart, but while he was in Toronto and I worked for an ISP in Ohio, we co-located his server here, so I still talked to him a good bit during that time.

A little while after that, he moved back to Norway; to Finnmark, or about as far north and cold as you can get in Norway. It was while he lived in Finnmark he met Kaire, who from everything I have seen must have been the absolute love of his life. I was so happy for him that he had finally found someone so deserving of his love and companionship.

Now we were both busy with family, we did not keep in touch as often as we perhaps should have, but I did get to visit him and his beautiful family in the breathtaking surroundings on Runde island where he lived. I was so happy to see that this kind man, who had seen so much and been through so many different turns in life, had ended up with such a wonderful family. I cannot imagine him being any happier, and that warmed my heart.

He will be missed, not only because he was an outstanding programmer, technologist, writer, photographer, artist, philosopher and musician. But mostly because he was one of the nicest guys you could ever have the fortune to know.



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Every time I have to debug something in PHP... 😬

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