Charles Edge

RIP Charles.

I’ve had just over a week to collect thoughts. Just going to share a couple stories involving Charles’ sense of humour as well as how smart he was.

Story 1: My first appearance on the Mac Admins Podcast.

Being on the receiving end of Charles’ sense of humour could be an interesting experience to say the least.

The most notable time that wasn’t public, was my first ever appearance on the Mac Admins Podcast.

I was talking about all the smartcard work I was doing at the time. We had to arrange a convenient time to deal with the difference between Swiss and US time zones. Tom Bridge, didn’t have a lot of time and we were really shoehorning things in.

The way the recording worked at the time was we were all on a Zoom call, but you also had to use Audacity to record your own audio stream. Later on, upload that and by the magic of James Smith he’d splice the local audio together rather than use Zoom’s version of it.

Audacity is beta. Audacity is crashy. Audacity really doesn’t like it if the USB plug for the headset you’re recording with suddenly breaks free of the laptop going “FREE AT LAST! FREE AT LAST!”.

So I’m hurriedly trying to get this thing to work again, pointing at headphones while i’ve gone silent mid sentence. Tom’s not happy, because we have to start again and second time is never as good as the first. Did I mention time pressures?

I sort out my side, and before I even get to apologise … well let’s just say Charles broke the mood and very firmly at my expense 😉

Later on he grilled me pretty hard on macOS and smart cards. Either he already knew from previous days or he’d spent a lot of time researching it before going live. He knew more than I did, and i’d been living breathing the things for about eight months at that point!

I have a belief that no matter how good you are at something, someone else will always know something you don’t. Charles was that man in most tech cases for me.

Story 2: Facebook Messenger chats on his Computing History book

We didn’t talk that much, but he did put out a post on Facebook asking for any details especially on the UK side of computing history. I know a few things from the 80s, and other things i’ve gathered later.

Once we got past the mutual hatred for spinning rust storage (another story, another time), we moved onto talking about PDP’s and DEC. Told him a story he didn’t know about DEC building the first non fully ARM designed cpu’s called the “StrongARM” … how they ran their design through ARM’s software design validation suite.

Problem was ARM’s suite was written before they spun out from Acorn Computers. It was written by an interesting character called Hugo Tyson, written for his friends and very very informal. In fact the error messages were very informal too … quite sweary in a few cases.

Anyway DEC wasn’t used to professional chip testing software swearing at them.

Hugo tells it better here:

A couple links later and Charles had a lot more research material for his book. Sorry for increasing the workload!

That was one of the few times I ever knew something he didn’t.

Goodbye my friend.

(picture shamelessly borrowed from his Facebook profile)