Aaron Schwartz — getting ‘real information’ to people

It’ll be years before the furor  over Aaron Schwartz’s death dies down,  and it probably never will  fade completely.

Nor should it, nor should the role played by Carmen Ortiz  and her Confederates  in his death.

There are scores of stories about him and his short life, but for me, The idealist by in Slate. stands out.

He  goes into detail about Aaron’s life and accomplishments  and he touches on something  I found  particularly intriguing

Peters writes »»»

While Swartz struggled to make his way in the offline world, his online life was thriving. He’d accompanied his father on a business trip to MIT, where he sat in on a lecture by Philip Greenspun, a professor and open-source-software advocate.

Greenspun had a company called ArsDigita, which sponsored a contest in which teenagers competed to build useful, non-commercial websites. Swartz entered the contest in 2000 and was honored as a finalist for his entry, The Info Network, an encyclopedia that anyone could edit. (This was months before Wikipedia launched in 2001. (My emphasis)

“Getting ‘real information’ to people on the World Wide Web is 13-year-old Aaron Swartz’s job.

He’s tired of all the banner ads, the sponsorships and other miscellaneous ‘junk’ hogging the screens,” explained the Chicago Tribune in a June 2000 article about Swartz’s contest entry.

“That’s not what the Internet was made for. It was based on open standards and freedom, not ads,” Swartz told the Tribune. It didn’t matter that Swartz’s friends and family were the only ones that used The Info Network, or that, for some reason, its highest-rated entries tended to concern Chicago Cubs benchwarmers like Shane Andrews and Jeff Reed.

At an early age, he’d discovered what he loved to do: find information, organize it, and share it with anyone who cared to look.

It’s trite to say Aaron was one-of-a-kind, but he was.

Will we see his like again? For sure  There’ll be other like whiz kids   who’ll shake the world, but there was only one Aaron Swartz.

Peters concludes  in his Slate piece »»»

AaronWhen he lived in Massachusetts, Swartz would compete in the MIT Mystery Hunt, an annual weekend-long puzzle-solving marathon.

Exactly one week after Swartz died, on the day the 2013 Mystery Hunt kicked off, his old team hosted an ice cream social in his memory. A large banner was spread out on a table, on which friends and admirers wrote a long list of personalized messages: funny memories, words of condolence. Near the end of the night, a slender boy in a plain sweatshirt who looked too young to be there came over to the table.

He uncapped a marker. He wrote, simply,

“We will continue.”

Jon Newton — myblogdammit

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