Bill Peden, 1968-2002

(pictured here Dec 2001)

me_bill.jpg (107517 bytes)
Creative, charismatic, energetic, highly intelligent, generous, wicked sense of humour. But enough about me (not). Bill came into my life in 1996, while I was in Melbourne working on a large software project for Bell South (OPEDS). Working on a low level component for our subsystem, he would sit by the window, producing quality code & offering unique insights into anything you could think of. He was a key member of the British/American/Australian gang that moved to Denver in the summer of that year. As foreigners living in an enclave (albeit a resort of an enclave, the Breakers), we grew close.

Bill has been one of few software engineering heroes in my life. On that project he not only tackled the most algorithmically challenging parts of the project but he actually unit-tested everything before releasing it. When something went wrong he would reproduce it and examine the reams of debug output. His code was 'solid', in the McConnell sense of the word (well designed, good naming, object based -- we were using C, readable, never coo difficult to follow, never a performance glitch). 

He has inspired me & others to want to become that bedrock. We came up with new words to "The Man with the Golden Gun" Bond film tune for him for when things did go wrong (as they inevitably do) "Bill Peden/He's the man/The man with the golden code/But now it's hosed" (of course, more often that not that would be us, not him). I sang it to him over the phone when I was last in Australia and he knew exactly who it was, in spite of an email-only relationship for 4 years.

His sense of humour pervaded everything he did and was a key characteristic. Not only was he capable of (occasionally brutal) sarcasm but he also infused energy into his humour. His paper aeroplane construction embodied his humour, dedication and creativity, as well as his assertion of independence. I would copy his designs, hoping to catch an ever higher thermal.

His love of life was unfettered. That translated into software, his friends, cooking, wine, rowing, skiing, music, sex or literature. I remember going to Tattered Cover bookshop and he had got about a dozen books for a month's consumption. That particular selection included Plato, Mark Twain and an artificial intelligence book. He was truly a renaissance man.

I last saw Bill at James Sanders' wedding in December 2001. He was his typical self, really engaging everyone he spoke to (very definitely not unpopular with the opposite sex) and cracking fun here & there. We were planning for a trip to Burning Man for 2002. I only wish things could have been different.

I've included a couple of emails from 1999 which I have in my Inbox. We'll miss you sorely, Bill.

>From: Bill Peden <>
>To: "Philip Penn" <>
>Subject: Noodle Kidoodle Skadoodle
>Date: Wed, 6 Oct 1999 09:10:28 +1000 (EST)
>Happy psychlling around China... Though I'm surprised you've decided to
>skip Chechenya. Where will you be on NYE?
>"What I like about ordering a taxi... is that when it picks you up,
> the driver reminds you who you are and where you're going."
>>>>> "pp" == Philip Penn <> writes:

pp> You've been chosen to receive an artistic and/or witty
pp> from my good self (probably from a gaol in central Asia)
at some
pp> stage over the next 4 months.

pp> Please respond with some sort of address which my
captors will
pp> not find too offensive/unbelievable.

Thank you for the very personal email Mr Penn.

You may contact me at:

Mr Bill "Please don't anally abuse Phil in captivity" Peden,
27 Ivan Street,
North Fitzroy 3068

An update on the BP file

o 10 days in New Zealand as coach of the Australian Universities

o 4 days skiing in fresh snow at Mt Hotham.

o another 5 days skiing at Hotham in 10 days time.

o Coaching the Melbourne university VIII to compete in the
Collegiate Regatta in Taiwan.

o Orgyanising the MUBC Bondage Party, with superb emphasis on
alcohol and sex.

o Several big nights with Sean and a bunch of wild chicks... ask
SF for
more details... these chicks are really, really wild!

So what updates are required in the PP file?

Catch ya later,
From JB

I know I speak for everyone when I say that Bill was one of the smartest, most lively and 
sociable guys I've ever met, and probably the best software engineer I've ever worked with.

Last edited: 22-Mar-2002

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