October 1, 2022
Two essential figures in computing industry have died. Stephen E. Wilhite will be remembered as the creator of the Graphics Interchange Format-- the ubiquitous GIF-- and always insisted it be pronounced as "jif" with a soft "g". Those who pointed out that his preferred pronunciation was inconsistent or illogical were consulted with a stern: "They…

Two essential figures in computing industry have died.

Stephen E. Wilhite will be remembered as the creator of the Graphics Interchange Format– the ubiquitous GIF– and always insisted it be pronounced as “jif” with a soft “g”.

Those who pointed out that his preferred pronunciation was inconsistent or illogical were consulted with a stern: “They are incorrect”.

Wilhite created the GIF when working at CompuServe– a pioneering online service established in 1969 and which, by the mid-1980s, had actually evolved to the point some users expected to see graphics when they called in to examine their mails or chat in forums.

Wilhite and his colleagues devised the GIF in 1987 to make image display screen possible on CompuServe. The format became a de facto standard and after that delighted in a massive revival in the early 2000s thanks to its capability to display animations– a function considerably appreciated before the extensive development of streaming video– and later on by users of social networks.

A family obituary for Wilhite mentions that he

got a Webby Life time Accomplishment Award for the GIF and used his approval speech to once again restate his favored pronunciation for the file format he produced.

Youtube Video Wilhite and finished his profession as chief designer from America Online(which obtained CompuServe in 1997). He passed away aged 74 and is endured by his better half Kathaleen, his son David, numerous stepchildren, 11 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.

Numerous GIFs likely found their way onto the TRS-80– an early personal microcomputer sold by Tandy through its network of Radio Shack shops.

The computer system was the creation of John Roach, who in the mid-1970s saw the growing market for personal computers offered as sets and decided a market existed for a pre-built machine.

That maker was the TRS-80, and its $599.95 price (about $1050 in today’s money) saw it sell highly when it reached shops in 1977. And as Tandy ran over 8,000 stores at the time, the TRS-80 brought computers into the residential areas like no other previous machine.

The TRS-80 is also of massive importance due to the fact that Tandy hired a pair of chaps called Bill Gates and Paul Allen to write software application for the device. In case you haven’t been taking note, they later on established a little business you might have heard of called “Microsoft”.

Roach had a long profession at Tandy, ending up being CEO in 1983 and holding that position till 1999. He passed at age 83 and is made it through by his other half, their 2 children, 6 grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter.

On behalf of our readers, The Register extends its condolences to Mr Roach’s and Mr Wilhite’s families. Both guys made huge contributions to our market, and we feel sure that numerous readers’ very first experiences of computer systems or online neighborhoods included the TRS-80 or CompuServe.

If you wish to share your CompuServe, TRS-80, or GIF stories, drop me a line and we may give these pioneers a reader-contributed goodbye to match the one you helped us write for Sir Clive Sinclair. ®

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