Monday, January 05, 2009

Sad News

I was very sad to hear the news of Tom Conlon's death. I only worked occasionally with Tom but when I did meet him, I enjoyed his company. He was stimulating, fun and challenging - a good combination as far as I'm concerned.

He was at times controversial but even when I disagreed with him there was usually something at the heart of what he was saying that was worth hearing. For example, relatively recently he ruffled a few feathers by criticising Glow in the TESS. I meant to reply to some of the comments that condemned or dismissed what he was saying because I thought he made some important points... but I never got round to it. Perhaps that's another point about him that is worth remembering - unlike me, if he had something he thought should be said, I suspect he would have found the time and would have got round to saying it.

His contributions to the development of Computing in Scotland (and beyond) are immense. He will be missed.


Ruby said...

Sad news indeed. You may be interested in seeing one of Tom's hobbies outside the office:
That's how I'll remember him!

David said...

Hello Ruby.

I knew he was a biker because he used to turn up to SQA things in all the gear. I should have realised that he might have been one of your biker chums!

I meant to do a follow up post to this because the more I thought about it, the more I realised there is no one else who is doing what he did. He was a part of the system working to develop Computing (for example, I first worked with him when he was principle assessor for SYS Computing) but he was a faithful critic of the system too. He was not afraid to say that the emperor had no clothes... and crucially to say it in print.

Schools Computing benefited greatly from Tom asking awkward questions. At the moment, I don't see who will fill this role now that Tom's gone.

Steve Gregory said...

Unfortunately I never met Tom in biking gear...

Incidentally, Tom's wife has set up an online guestbook as a kind of tribute to him:
If anyone reading this has any memories/messages about Tom, I know she will appreciate them being posted there. Thanks.