You don’t really understand how important someone is in your life until they are suddenly gone. I have had the honor and privilege of working, playing, and laughing alongside Jim Weirich for the last few years. He was an amazing man. I miss him dearly.
Jim taught us how to think about computer programming. I once had a Physics professor tell me not to worry so much about the formulas and math. The most important thing was how to think. Everything thing after that would naturally fall into place. Jim embodied that philosophy for programming. The languages and algorithms poured almost effortlessly from his masterful fingers. He knew how to think about the problem, observe from a multitude of angles. Finally, bringing his experience, creativity, and humility to bear on it, he would shape it into a beautiful piece of code.
Jim showed us how to make. He was a master craftsman and a maker. The care and joy that infused his work was inspiring. He loved the process of Test Driven Development. Green tests were always a celebration. The surprise of beautiful code emerging from a refactoring was treated as a gift. He is best known for his Rake build tool, but his testing library rspec-given is one that reminds me most of him and the way that he loved to craft code.
Jim showed us how to care. Jim cared deeply about each and every person. While flying his drone in the office hallway, he would wave down a passing building maintenance worker and ask if they wanted to fly it. Over the course of the next few minutes, Jim would put them completely at ease and chat happily with them. He was like that to everyone. In the few days after his passing, many building workers, and people from other offices, that I only ever nodded at in passing, stopped by to give their sincere condolences his loss. He is without a doubt, the kindest person I have ever known. He took great joy in his faith and in his family. He would talk about his family all the time and how much they enjoyed each others company. He is without a doubt, one of the personally richest men I have ever known.
Jim taught us how to share. Jim wanted to share his knowledge. He was a great teacher and presenter. He gave engaging presentations that took people on a journey with him, not only imparting knowledge, but becoming friends with him in the process. He was a pillar in the local Cincinnati technical community. He is the reason why myself and countless others were drawn to Ruby and the Ruby community.
Jim dreamed with us. He was a creative. He was also a singer, song writer, musician, and artist. He brought that creative spirit, curiosity, and love of learning to the technical world. I will cherish our lunches spent together flying our AR Drones, sometimes crashing them into walls and each other, while trying to find creative ways of controlling them with code. He was just lately exploring with the micro-quadcopters like the Proto-X. We had plans to make all our Spheros, Roombas, big drones, and little drones dance to live coded music. We were both auditing on Autonomous Mobile Robots to see what we could learn to help us with our robot dreams.
I miss him dearly. I will cherish my memories of him and I am so grateful for all the ways he has enriched my life. I will remember that when I dream in code, he is still there with me.
Until that day when we will fly our friendly robots together again.