Ed Foster was one of the few reasons I continued to read InfoWorld after they decided to pursue a more management-oriented readership base. He wrote a column called “the Gripeline,” where he would focus on customer complaints — complaints against the shoddy customer service provided by various computer companies, and more and more often complaints against the unethical business practices of computer companies and other companies trying to take advantage of our lack of understanding of — and in some cases, the governments willful misreading of — intellectual property and contract law. Ed Foster was the first person I read who warned about the DMCA, he was on the forefront of criticizing companies for using the EULA as a backdoor moneymaking policy, he has consistently been a voice for consumer’s rights in a field that is increasingly trying to perpetuate the notion that consumers have no rights at all, other than the right to give companies more money for less value.
When Ed was let go from InfoWorld, he started his own blog to continue that work, and it became so popular that InfoWorld hired him back. His blog, Gripe2Ed, was a great resource for those of us who are getting more and more paranoid about what companies are trying to get away with these days.
I don’t mind admitting that I based more than one of my comic gags on something I read in his columns.
This Saturday, Ed Foster died of an apparent heart attack at the age of 59. My condolences go out to his family and his friends. He was a good man who did good things, and we will all be poorer for his passing.