It's Halloween again and time for ghouls, spooks and things that go bump in the night. There are celebrations as old as mankind to mark the end of summer and the beginning of the long cold winter season.
Quite how this evolved into carved pumpkins, public nudity or parentally monitored begging by children, I'll never know.
As this is San Francisco things are even more unsettling. The Bay Area seems to get dressed up en masse for the holiday, and the streets are full of costumes of various levels of effectiveness.
Add in the fact that the local Giants team is playing in the finals of the World Series (stop laughing the rest of the world) and the city is a madhouse at the moment.
So, in the spirit of the season, here's a round-up of the people in the industry who scare us, for a variety of reasons.
Mention: Bill Gates
Iain Thomson: Bill Gates used to be one of the most hated men in the computing world, and we just felt he had to go on the list somewhere. That he's so low down the totem is down almost entirely to his post-Microsoft career.
In the early days Gates was hated and feared because he drove his company forward with the sort of fanatical zeal of Genghis Khan, using every dirty trick in the book and making up new ones as he went.
With Netscape, Gates took a simple solution in giving browsers away for free, and threats of similar action price wars were behind many a software company purchase.
Gates went through his 'buy all the toys' phase of being mega-rich fairly quickly, although his legendary house in Seattle was a money pit of epic proportions. But increasingly in middle age he turned his money and riches to charitable works.
He and Warren Buffett are also slowly persuading the rich that you can't take it with you, very much in the traditional of the potlatch ceremonies of the Native American lands Microsoft now sprawls across.
Gates is now funding some of the most important aid initiatives on the planet, helping to save millions of lives and studying the problem with the same manic intensity of his early computer days. Scary he may well have been, but he's well up the road to redemption.
Shaun Nichols: It's hard to classify the man who has committed nearly all of the world's largest fortune to wiping disease and poverty from the Earth as evil or scary, but there was a time when Bill Gates was super-villain number one in the tech world.
More than a few companies, including Netscape, Apple and IBM, were nearly driven to bankruptcy by Gates's ruthless tactics. He operated with little regard for the fortunes of others, and made Windows the backbone of nearly every personal computer on the planet.
Perhaps the worst part was that Microsoft didn't seem to care whether its product was the best in the market as long as it was the best selling. Offerings such as Internet Explorer succeeded more on their ubiquity than superior features.
Fortunately, Gates eventually decided that charity was a more important calling than selling software, and he has gone into it with as much zeal as any business venture.
In the process, he has gone from a feared businessman to one of the most beloved philanthropists on the planet.
Mention: Max Cannon
Shaun Nichols: There are a lot of comics out there on the web and in print, but few have the talent to be so delightfully twisted for as long as Max Cannon.
The creator of Red Meat, Cannon regularly graces the web with a three-panel strip that often involves just one picture repeated with different speech bubbles. What the strip lacks in that department is more than made up for by th e bizarre, hilarious and at times shocking dialogue.
If you're faint of heart and have a particular fondness for the welfare of children, animals and just about anything else, Red Meat may not be for you. But for those of us with a taste for twisted comedy, the comic is an absolute gold mine.
One can only imagine what Halloween is like with Milkman Dan, Bug-Eyed Earl and Johnny Lemonhead.
Iain Thomson: If you find yourself laughing helplessly at something while simultaneously realising it's sick, then Red Meat is high on the list of likely culprits.
Cannon has created a visual style that is unique, even if his three-strip cartoons are the most conventional format for the medium. His subject matter is nothing short of bizarre; pastiches of American suburban life with the added bonuses of sadistic milkmen and bizarre talking Easter Island statues.
But the pick of the crop comes with the Johnsons, the bizarre Ted, his long suffering and occasionally scary wife and their confused son. It's a family that makes the Simpsons look like model parents.
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