Remembering James Kim

by Alan Graham

As many of you already know, CNET editor, James Kim, was found deceased yesterday, after being missing for 11 days. I didn't know James personally, but as a writer working in the tech sector and living in San Francisco, it was hard not to feel his presence...especially if you are a lover of digital music. What I personally loved about his writing was that he was not only thorough but extremely passionate...and while we never met, you always seem to get a feeling for a person from their writing, and the personal touch they bring to their work.

If you want a great example of this, read his November 10th piece entitled Music Has the Right to Children.

A couple of excerpts:

"A few days ago, my four-year-old daughter asked me about "that gray thing" sitting atop an unreachable shelf. The gray thing turned out to be an old-school Sony dictation-style cassette recorder--the TCM-313 to be exact. For a (lucky) kid who's handled everything from Disney's Mix Max PVP to a PSP and who refers to little shiny gadgets as "iPods," she had a surprising curiosity about this "mundane" analog device--and the antiquated removable media that went with it.

So I decided it was time to give her a peewee-league tutorial on not only the tape recorder (or even the record player she'd been fiddling around with lately), but on analog audio in general.

It required digging through dusty and forgotten artifacts to find an assortment of store-bought cassettes (The Cars!) and home-brewed mix tapes--some of which were created amidst the mid-'90s "rave" scene, others simply recordings, samples of voices, pretty sounds, and "things." Predictably, she was much more excited by the latter."


"New parents (and parents to be), if you own an MP3 player armed with a voice recorder, do yourself a favor: record your baby's first sounds. Record your children's voices, talking, singing, laughing, and being plain silly. Interview your kids. You'll be astonished when you listen to these files later. I recently encountered a series of MP3s in iTunes generically ID'ed as "VOICE_040102, "VOICE_040125" and so on, and after listening to my child's voice from a couple years back, I value these files more than any other tracks in my bloated library."


One of the things that saddens me most, is that while I knew James from his work, I never did get a chance to met him in person, which considering our geography, is an absolute shame. It would have been an honor to have known him. He was also a true hero who put his family first...always.

If you want to read a wonderful rememberance of James, Eliot Van Buskirk has a lovely tribute.

And if you want to give some type of donation to the family, you can do so here. I'd love to see O'Reilly readers step up and give something.

Also, if you are coming to tonight's SFWIN event, we'll be donating our proceeds to the family and are also happy to take any donations at the event.


Mike Kadas
2006-12-07 16:47:32
This sad story really affected me, Not only that I live in Oregon but, because he didn't know that his family was saved. My heart goes out to his family and all his friends. I hope his family and friends will recover some day. :-(
Todd Ogasawara
2006-12-08 00:38:23
Alan: I debated posting a mini-tribute myself even though I did not know Mr. Kim personally myself either (though I often watched his CNET videocast reviews). While I was waffling on the sideline, you did a great job of posting a blog-tribute. As a Asian-American, techie-geek, father myself, I followed this story with more than passing interest. I join you and the many others posting tributes to him with warm regards to his family during this dark time for them.
Alan Graham
2006-12-08 08:48:44

Thanks for the note. I waffled a bit myself, seeing as there will no doubt be a lot of great postings by people who did know him...but as someone who respected his work and enjoyed it...I just wanted to draw attention to how someone you've never met can still have a profound affect on your life.

RIP James...