Welcome to this special second edition of Reader Roundup for the “Leo and Mac” column here on Low End Mac where we take a look at a sampling of reactions shared by readers on articles I’ve written.
The article in question today is my feature piece written earlier this month, In Search of Charles W. Moore, where I detailed that Moore, 66, former writer of the Miscellaneous Ramblings column here on Low End Mac, has not been heard from since October of 2017, when he last wrote an article for MacPrices (a site which I also write for), and attempts to get in contact with him via email in the months since August 2017 have been unsuccessful, worrying me as his colleague and friend.
Many people on our Low End Mac (LEM) Facebook group who read my story responded and were eager to assist in the search. The amateur detective work ranged from searching for possible family members on Facebook, “scouring the internet” as one member put it for things such as obituaries, a recent article written by Moore on MacPrices dated June 1 of this year (I clarified to members that this was an old article written by Moore that had only recently been posted by the publisher), and what appeared to be a mobile number for a Charles Moore who also lives in Moore’s residence of Nova Scotia from the Canada 411 online directory but unconfirmed if this Charles Moore was one and the same.
Members on the Facebook group also reminisced about Moore with fond memories from him detailing stories of using a dial-up internet connection at home and going to the local library to use their broadband connection, to his affinity for the PowerBook G3 2000 model (also known by its code-name, Pismo).
Two members agreed to share their thoughts from the Facebook group post and gave their permission for their comments to be published in this Reader Roundup.
Randall Smith, 39, of Dacula, Georgia, who is a field manager for a merchandising company, said, “He wasn’t a young fellow. 🙁 I always enjoyed reading his columns.”
Sebastian Patting, 36, of Bavaria, Germany, who is a tech in the banking industry and also happens to be a former writer here on Low End Mac, said, “I loved all his articles on LEM. He was one of the reasons I would come back checking LEM every day. Hope he is alive and doing well, just taking a break from publishing!”
Another member suggested that Moore could be on holiday, saying that it’s not unusual for people to take a vacation for a prolonged period of time. This member also suggested that he may be retired and no longer interested in writing about computers.
Moore on Biotechnology
I can’t speak for Moore, but while writing about the Mac is what makes him well known in the web-verse – particularly among Apple enthusiasts and especially readers of Low End Mac – it seems that his interest has turned to technology in the medical field as of late, specifically, biotechnology. Moore told me in March 2015, in an email conversation, that aside from Macs, his new main gig was writing about, in his own words, “cutting edge medical research for an outfit in Texas” called Bionews Services, which I just discovered when doing a Google search for the news service that his position there is as its technology editor.
Wanting to find out a little more about Moore’s lesser known gig amongst us Mac news junkies, I reached out to Bionews Services and got a response from their executive editor, Mike Nace, who said, “Charles began with us in March of 2013, initially covering a wide range of science and biotech stories on our websites. I knew Charles previously because I had published a site called ‘the iPhone 5 News Blog,’ which he also wrote for. When we began staffing up writers for BioNews, he was the first person I contacted to join the team.”
During the first two years, Moore handled a wide range of feature-length stories and interviews in addition to his daily coverage of news, such as an interview he conducted with Neil Bush, a businessman and investor who is one of the sons of 41st U.S. President George H.W. Bush.
“Throughout the inception of BioNews, Charles was our ‘heavy hitter.’ His articles generally were the ones that drove the most engaged traffic to our sites,” said Nace. “After about a year in to his tenure here, we gave him a kind of honorary ‘Contributing Editor’ title, and later on, Technology Editor, since we began to funnel any and all stories that we covered about cutting-edge technologies within the life sciences to him. Given his background in covering consumer tech, it was a good fit.”
One of the more recent medical technology articles that Moore wrote, which I found interesting to mention here, is his April 2017 piece which talked about the speech tablet for non-verbal people with alternative communication needs designed by Swedish technology firm Tobii Dynavox, a division of Tobii Group comprised of three business units which include the former and Tobii Technologies, a company from an article I referenced about eye-tracking technology which was discussed in my story last month about computing interfaces of the future. (I was not aware they specialized in assistive technology, a topic very near and dear to me lately due to my blindness).
The article comes from the medical journal Cerebral Palsy News Today and is the first time I have ever read any of his work in that area. Thanks to reader Andreas Dimitrios, 38, a graphic designer from Larissa, Greece, for providing the link with Moore’s articles from that site (which he found during his online search for some of Moore’s most recent published work dated September 2017).
Where Has Moore Been Lately?
So what have I found out in regard to the search for Charles W. Moore, as inquiring minds want to know (to quote a famous tabloid publication)?
From what we now know, Moore is currently dealing with some personal medical issues and was hospitalized for four months and finally returned home in May. He and his wife Helen Moore of 44 years are both touched by everyone’s concern.
The news came straight from Moore’s wife, who got in contact with Naomi Pearce, owner of Pearce Communications and a partner of CMD-D, a PR professional (who by coincidence is a friend of mine) who did research to help find Moore. Pearce’s attention was called to my article by her husband, who saw a message on Twitter by Adam Engst, publisher of the TidBITS publication, asking if anyone had any information on Moore. That initiated the research which led to the discovery of an email address for Moore that Pearce used to contact him which his wife responded to. That message was then forwarded to me, and I, in turn, got in contact with Moore’s wife, which by the way was an email address for Moore that I was not in possession of.
Moore’s wife responded to my email and provided this official statement:
“Thank you to all those well wishers. Charles is still under a doctor’s care and we are all hoping for the best. We are taking it one day at a time and trusting in God’s providence.”
I asked Pearce what methods she used to help find Moore, and she had this to say:
“I just adore Charles and was very concerned to read he seemed to be missing. I gave it a shot using well-guarded data collected to allow clients to take a write-off related to review units. The IRS being retro came in handy. This is the first time I’ve ever dug into the data to try to help find someone missing. I’ll admit it was pretty gratifying when it worked, and I was relieved and glad to help.”
From Low End Mac Readers
In addition to the members of our Facebook group and Pearce, three other readers of Low End Mac personally reached out to me via email to offer help searching for Moore, and they all agreed to be included in this Reader Roundup. I asked each person a few questions: what they did to find their information on Moore, which were all direct hits on his home address, and if, of course, they are regular readers of Low End Mac.
First is a person that requested to be only identified as “Duckman” who is a 40-year-old and holds citizenship and right of residency in four countries including Moore’s country of Canada and works as a concierge support manager for an enterprise IT hardware company. Duckman, who is an expert web sleuth, but only does it as a hobby, found Moore’s exact home address and phone number, which I can confirm since I am personally in possession of it.
I will note here that I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I was in possession of Moore’s home address and personal phone number all this time! I had forgotten about it and only realized it after the fact when I put the email address that Moore’s wife responded to me from into my address book on my iPhone to update my contact information for Moore. I was given his address and phone number one time when I sent him a package in the mail which I don’t recall what that exactly was at the time.
“Someone posted your call for help to the Reddit ‘/r/vintageApple’ forum, and knowing LEM, I felt like a bit of a challenge,” said Duckman. “Some people do jigsaw puzzles; I find myself drawn to other challenges.”
“Reading his interview on LEM, I put in a Google search for ‘Charles W. Moore’ and ‘Nova Scotia’ and found a page which listed him as ‘editor/publisher of the Barquentine Ventures Online Journal and the MacCave Online Journal.’ This confirmed it was the same guy. The link to ‘Barquentine Ventures Online Journal’ was dead, but a search for that found it on another site. That site included photos of him, and that visually matched the photo you had provided. Taking a guess that this wasn’t the only ‘Barquentine Ventures,’ I did a search for just that and found a business listing in Nova Scotia with a phone number, then did a search for that phone number and it returned Charles’s name, which to me suggested it was very likely his number.”
He also pointed out, “I read a lot. My mother was a librarian, and I was well skilled at the use of information retrieval systems at a young age (library catalogs!).”
Duckman’s web-sleuthing skills arose from trying to identify someone who “catfished” him when he was 17 and through his research online 15 years later — from old emails, photos on Flickr, to a family tree on the web — he was able to confirm the identity of the person he thought it was from the start.
“For work, one of our team [members] was visiting from the U.S., and asked me ‘what can you find out about me?’ I asked if she was sure she wanted me to look, she confirmed it, and five minutes later I said ‘You voted for Clinton, you have a silver BMW, and your legal first name isn’t ‘X,’ it’s ‘Y.’ Shall I continue?’ she looked horrified, then paused and said no.”
When asked to, Duckman later clarified that the specific Clinton being referred to was Hilary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate in the 2016 election.
On reading Low End Mac, he told me,”LEM is one of the sites I check out every few months, as I’m sure you know, when computer hardware gets old, there’s not really a fast pace of new information about it.”
“I am a long time Mac user,” added Duckman. “My grandfather imported a 128K to Australia himself in 1984. I used it as a young child when we lived with him, and I now have the very same one in a display cabinet, along with a small curated collection of other classic macs: Mac Portable, Color Classic, PowerBook 1400, G4 Cube plus TiBook.” (The term “TiBook” Duckman used is a nickname some Mac users call the Titanium PowerBook G4 from Apple).
One last thought that Duckman shared with me at the end of our conversation via email was that we all leave trails in this world, which I thought was right on topic because of what the next person who helped in the search for Moore told me.
Keelan Lightfoot, 37, of Kelowna, British Columbia, also in Moore’s country of Canada, who works in computer research, in his original email to me, said, “Charles seems to be fairly responsible when it comes to keeping a small internet footprint. His property hasn’t changed hands in recent history, so he’s probably still alive and kicking.”
Lightfoot also hit the nail on the head, so to speak, finding Moore’s home address and phone number – interestingly enough, like Duckman, doing so after seeing the same Reddit post which shared my article – and he spoke to me via email to answer my questions on the subject.
“I’ve helped people find ‘virtually’ missing people before, and it seemed like you were genuinely concerned for his well-being, so I thought I’d pitch in,” he said.
“He has a very common name, which made this an interesting challenge. I googled his name, figured out he was Canadian. Found a bio that listed newspapers he worked for, googled his name + newspaper name, found another bio that listed where he lived (very small town). Looked up the postal code for the small town, googled his name + postal code, found a white pages listing (listing only name + postal code + phone number), and a listing in a public registry of Canadian businesses that listed an address for his business that matched what I already knew (a bio mentioned the lake he lived near).”
“I Googled the address, found a real estate site that listed all sales since 2010 (none), so I knew there was a good chance he hadn’t moved. Really, the business registry listing is what put all the pieces together.”
Lightfoot developed these skills in order to help him assemble a registry of all the remaining Linotype machines in North America (antiquated typesetting machines)and through his job in computer research working on technology which maps out the internet to forecast its behavior to avoid network problems based on that intelligence.
On being a reader of Low End Mac, he tells us, “I confess I typically end up there not through the front page, but rather through your extensive and incredibly helpful documentation on vintage Apple hardware. Interestingly, only a week or so ago I had a thought: your site is my favorite for these things in part because it’s so clean and clutter (ad) free and that whoever was in charge was doing a damn fine job of keeping it among the rapidly dwindling ranks of ‘real’ websites.”
“For what it’s worth, I got my start developing software on the mac,” added Lightfoot, revealing that his only claim to fame in that arena was when he was younger – 17 years old to be exact – and created SimHolePunch, the hole punch simulator game. Not to be confused with the similar SimStapler from Freeverse Software, that venture helped garner him contract work with that company in the late 1990s. SimHolePunch also earned him fame in print with his game featured in an issue of MacAddict magazine which included his software on the free CDs that accompanied each edition of the magazine containing freeware, shareware, and other media on the disc.
Ah, MacAddict magazine was one of my favorite Mac publications in print ever! I remember receiving a free copy of their premiere edition in the mail (I still don’t know to this day why I received a free copy, not that I’m complaining, but I suspect the company got a database of current Apple customers that they sent complimentary promotions of their premiere editions out to) and was immediately hooked, and being a true Mac addict, I filled out the subscription form and became a lifetime subscriber. That was until they changed their name and format to Mac | Life many years later, and its changes sadly caused me to end my subscription shortly thereafter. I kept every single issue of the magazines along with the CDs that came with them. But, I digress. (My apologies!).
The last person to lend assistance to finding Moore is Jordan Langille, 30, a real estate agent and freelance icon designer who is from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, so is not only in Moore’s country but practically in his backyard, in his initial email to me, said, “My family is originally from this area although I am very rarely up that way and live six hours Southwest of Guysborough County,” that county being where Moore resides in Nova Scotia, Canada. “Otherwise, I would go look for him for you.”
The sentiment was very touching, knowing that he was personally willing to visit Moore’s residence to seek him out.
Langille not only found Moore’s home address, which was queried from the Nova Scotia Land Registry Database, but in addition to that, provided a satellite photo of his home, something that I could not personally confirm and only Moore himself or his wife could, so naturally, I asked Helen and she confirmed the validity of the two images that were sent to me by Langille after I forwarded them to her.
“I knew I could easily pull up his address through the land database that I have access to at work,” he said. “It was a simple name query, having his middle initial made a big difference as there were numerous ‘Charles Moores’ in the province.”
Langille added, “I knew I had access to information that might be useful to you that is generally inaccessible to anybody not in the real estate / legal profession in the province of Nova Scotia. It felt wrong to ignore the request for help when I was one of very few who would be able to do so easily.”
So is Langille a regular reader of Low End Mac?
“Yes I am a regular reader which is how I saw the story,” he said. “I have been a Mac OS user since I was old enough to use my Dad’s SE/30 and have been an enthusiastic user since.
On specifically reading Moore’s past work, Langille said, “Even though I don’t recall any specific stories I am sure I have read much of his work over the years. I remember thinking it was cool that he was in Nova Scotia also.”
Sharing the News
After learning the news from Moore’s wife Helen, I, of course, informed our own Dan Knight, publisher of Low End Mac, and Steve Hildreth, publisher of MacPrices, of what I’d been told. I asked them for their thoughts for inclusion in this Reader Roundup about Moore.
Hildreth said, “We wish Charles all the best during his recovery and are grateful he is surrounded by friends and family in this trying time.”
“I am glad to hear that Charles W. Moore is still among us,” said Knight. “Charles was one of the most prolific writers on the Mac web, starting in 1995. He outlasted many of the sites he wrote for and consistently advocated for frugal (a.k.a. low-end) choices in computers, vehicles, and even hiking boots.”
For me personally, I am relieved to have found my colleague and friend alive. I’m hesitant to mention that one of the stories I had planned on my list of ideas was a tribute piece honoring Moore and detailing his life because it really looked like he was gone. But that of course was only if I had confirmed his passing through an obituary or similar report on the web. Thankfully that is not the case and coming up with a different idea, choosing to reach out to the public for help, found him!
On that note, I would like to thank Naomi Pearce and all who came forward and responded to my request for help in searching for Charles W. Moore. I would also ask now that the Low End Mac community and anyone in the Mac web-verse who is a fan of Moore to join me in keeping Moore, his wife, and family in prayer during this period of time in his life. I and certainly everyone else hope that he will be back to writing again soon when he is back on his feet. Blessings on you and Godspeed, Charles!
And that will just about wrap it up for this special second edition of the “Leo and Mac” Reader Roundup. Thanks for reading and catch you again next time.
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