RIP Guy Kewney

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Guy Kewney.JPGIf you've been reading the computer press over the last 40 years chances are you've come across something written by Guy Kewney.

Born in 1946 Guy showed an early interest in computers and began his professional involvement as a programmer in 1966. However, he soon decided, in his words, that he was "no bloody good at it" and moved into explaining computer technology to others.

Guy was in at the start of the computer revolution and wrote a monthly column for Personal Computer World from the first issue in 1978 to the last in 2009. He founded Microscope and PC Dealer, had a long career in television on such programmes as 'Database' on Thames and 'Computer Buffs' on Channel 4 and was a mainstay of PC Magazine and IT Week in the UK and co-founded AFAICS Research.

During the computer boom of the 1980s and 1990s Guy was one of the most influential commentators on the IT industry, interviewing everyone from Bill Gates to Nicholas Negreponte. Clad in his trademark sandals Guy was well known in press conferences for being the journalist who made chief executives sweat with difficult questions backed up by hardcore technical knowledge.

He was a happy to be referred to as a geek (indeed, he wore the badge with pride) and said in interviews that he was an 'archetypal dilettante', but was never happier than when truffling through news conferences in search of a good story. However, he maintained a relatively low public profile, describing being recognised on the street as a distinctly unnerving experience.

More recently Guy's less than welcomed claim to fame came after he was asked onto the BBC to be interviewed about the Apple v The Beatles legal spat. A Congolese graduate interviewing for a driver's job called Guy Goma was also in the BBC reception and was mistaken for Kewney and dragged off to be questioned live about the case. The resultant video went viral and was lampooned in the popular TV comedy The IT Crowd.

Over the last few years Guy developed his own news site, Newswirelessnet, as well as contributing to a broad spread of magazines and media. He also devoted more time to his family and grandchildren as well as his love of sailing.

In 2009 Guy was diagnosed with cancer of the liver and bowel. He carried on as normal while exploring medical options and was still writing in the last few weeks before his death. He died peacefully at his home and is survived by his wife Mary and two daughters.

08 Apr 2010

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