I met J.D. in High School, as part of the circle of friends I hung out with for my Sophomore and Junior year. We all got rides to and from school in a Charger, and played D&D. I remember when he started his webservice and email, Cybernothing (because nothing is better just because it’s cyber), and that was my main email for many, many years.
I remember that he gave us all our first taste of tofu. I’d never heard of it, and here it was on a plate in a brick with some brown liquid over it… and we all tried it and, well, weren’t terribly impressed.
He took me to the only Rave I’ve ever been to, up in Northern California when I was visiting with my family. We drove overnight, and ended up stumbling exhausted to a hotel. The guy running it was surly, but he rented us a room to collapse for a few hours before we kept going. The Rave itself was an amazing, outdoor experience. I’ll never forget the circles of people, or falling asleep to the sound of music and rising to the sound of drums. I drank Chai there for the first time, and danced until my feet were raw.I’m not sure I ever thought to thank him for what that experience gave me.
My deepest and warmest condolences to those who were part of J.D.’s present from someone who was part of J.D.’s past.
never working directly with message abuse I did get to work with J.D. in a supportive function. when he fashioned long hair he reminded me of a young Benjamin Franklin, innovative and passionate, quirky yet decisive. it seemed that when he spoke all around would stop to listen. his smile was infectious and his words, rarely over expressed, were concise and to the point.
will miss you.
I really appreciate all you did.
RIP, Anti-Spam Warrior
Terribly sad to hear that jd lost his fight. Condolences to his family, friends and all the bay arean icbers.
A great loss to the world, here’s to the man who taught me everything I know about spam (even if he didn’t know it *lurks*).
I’m grateful for the opportunity I had to get to you know you both professionally and personally. I came to understand your passion and appreciate your desire to make a difference. I also came to enjoy when we weren’t talking shop. I never left a conversation with you without taking away something interesting, amusing or thought provoking. Thank you.
JD was one of the first people I knew on Usenet – perhaps not a mentor,
but not that far from it either. He co-moderated newsgroups with me; he
ran my backup DNS; as I recall, he even helped with The Dungeon back in
I never figured out that he lived down the street.
I never actually met JD.
And now I will mourn him.
…to hopefully help dull the pain and loss.
” I prefer to think of him as Fighting Spam In Another Dimension!
” JD Falk has accepted a position at an un-named corporation specializing in cloud computing.
” He would say only that their firewall technology is to die for, and the benefits package is heavenly…
Aloha, JD, you will most assuredly be missed.
While we never met in person, I am saddened that now I never will.
I enjoyed the time when I worked with you during the dotcom bubble JD, you will be missed.
J.D. was a very creative and intelligent child. He knew the alphabet when he was 18 months old. He couldn’t talk, but he could point to the right letter. He was reading by age 4. Regular schooling didn’t work too well for him, so I homeschooled him at age 7. We were in IL where it was illegal to homeschool, so we stayed inside until school was over, and then went out. We had enrolled him in a “school” for homeschooled kids just in case anyone questioned us.
We did not do school at home. We did unschooling so that he could learn as much as he wanted when he wanted. He went to public school for junior high and most of high school. However, in high school, he loved to learn and did extremely well in class discussions and on tests, but he never wanted to turn in any homework – too boring. He loved reading, especially science fiction and fantasy. He hated exercise of any kind. In PE, they wanted him to at least walk around the track if not run. He wanted to sit and read. He didn’t exactly pass PE. We got him into an apprenticeship program in TV and Video which he loved. He did it all day for a whole semester getting credit for it. After that semester was over, he didn’t want to go back. I enrolled him in The Learning Community Network again for homeschool where they gave him PE credit for walking 1 1/2 miles back and forth to school each way when he had gone to school. Instant PE credit. He graduated from high school a semester early just from getting credit for all of the interesting things he was into and learning about on his own, including the Video internship which he was able to do a 2nd semester through homeschooling. He learned computer stuff during the early stages of computers all on his own, including early computer languages.
He traveled a different path than the average kid, but it worked for him. He accomplished a lot in his short life.
Love you J.D.
Your mom, Lohrainne Janell
Compared to all the people posting here, I barely knew JD. I met him twice at MAAWG, exchanged a handful of emails with him and read lots of his posts at various anti-spam/IETF lists. He always seemed to me to be a genuinely nice person. Also someone who really want to make the Internet a better place – not someone who thought that x years of working within the industry/community entitled him to say how things should be done, but someone who listened to other people’s arguments and always had balanced arguments of his own.
Having read the things many people have written about him, here and elsewhere, I am now certain he didn’t just seem nice: he was nice. And I feel sad I never got a chance to properly meet him. Still, may he continue to be an inspiration for many people sharing his goals.
I am wild tonight. I am wolf and jaguar and bloody to the root. My eyes are filled with blood and my slavering mouth fetid with outrage and hunger for the justice that I know is not here and will not come. There are three paths for the living: The first is to embrace life down to the bloody root. The second is to deny it. The third is some elaborate convoluted nonsense that does no beating heart or hallowed corpse a kindness. I am wild tonight, embracing bloody awful life because my darling friend, too soon, too young is dead. Requiescat In Pacem J.D.Falk.
I know I can’t be as eloquent as some here, and I am sure I was little more than a passing face in the stream of JD’s life, but he had a large impact on mine. He helped to choose me to work for my first ISP in network engineering, even though I knew little of how things worked on that level. But he helped to teach me virtually everything I needed to know, from the basics of IP addressing to the OSI model to so much more. And that is just professionally!
I never knew him half as well as I would have liked, and looking back I realize how much of an opportunity I lost when I didn’t keep in touch with him, or try to get to know him more. But I was young, awe-struck, and terrified of looking stupid, so I never did. His loss is a loss to the world, and again, words can’t state the impact he had on my life.
Thank you J.D. for being such a sweet, kind, compassionate and loving man! Truly beautiful soul! So broken up in your passing. Tearing up a lot… Seeing pix of your happy face radiating joy, and hearing friends memories and words about you. You are so greatly missed and dearly loved! So happy I had the honor and pleasure of being your friend J.D. Thank you for all the love and good vibes! Though I hadn’t seen you a lot in the last few years, the time we did have together was so very special and inspiring! Thank you J.D. for all the love, compassion, kindness, and joy you shared and created! You are in my thoughts and prayers! Much love, light and great peace!
I knew J.D. in two ways: Through antispam circles, and in the Bay Area dance/party scene. He was a valuable and beloved figure in both, central to their vibrancy — although quiet and modest about his role. I remember him an a creative, thoughtful, and ready-for-anything co-adventurer.
Our antispam collaboration started when I got involved around 1999. He had already been a long-time soldier in that fight as a board member and founder of several organizations, and a technical pro for companies dealing with the problem. For some reason I remember him fulfilling a much more mundane role than his lofty titles suggest. In June of 2001, I threw an event called “SpamCon” at the Canterbury Hotel in San Francisco to bring together system administrators, online advertisers, policymakers, and other stakeholders for that seminal issue. He was always good with tools, so he showed up — a little late, possibly after an all-night dance party, blue (?) dye faded in his dissheveled hair — to wrench together pipes that held the “Welcome!” banner. Then he stayed for the entire two-day conference.
As too often happens, we hadn’t connected in years. His death makes me dig through old emails to see when we’d last chatted — it was 2007, regarding a real-estate article I was working on for the San Francisco Chronicle. (It was about converting churches into homes; years earlier, he had invited me to an all-night dance party at such a property near the Macarthur BART in Oakland.) Like the old-school ‘netter he was, his .sig included a quote. It was:
“Well here we are, Mr. Pilgrim,
trapped in the amber of this moment.
There is no why.” — Kurt Vonnegut
Wherever you are, J.D., I hope you’re having fun.
JD… goddamn. A month ago, you told me via email that you were feelin’ all right. I reminded you to go out on your front step on October 31 and “holler ‘WEEN'”, like you mentioned once, years ago.
I’m lucky to have known you. I got to call you a good friend. And, even if I never quite spelled it out for you, I always admired your mind. The way your brain worked. The ideas you had, your diligence in research. Your sense of humor!
You left this world not knowing this, but in your last few months you helped me – in a way you might not have imagined. When you were going through treatment, when you observed others being treated for lung cancer, struggling with all their might just to take a breath — that reached me. You didn’t know it at the time, but you were talking me into kicking cigarettes after 25 years. Labor Day weekend of this year, I left the smokes behind. You helped me do that. I can’t thank you now, but I can forever be grateful.
I can’t forget your smile. I can’t forget your heart. I can’t forget how you so genuinely gave a damn for everyone you called a friend. I can’t forget the mark you made in my world, and the worlds of so many others.
And now, if it’s all the same, I think I’m just going to cry for a bit.
J.D. and I both worked at MAPS back in the day, and had pretty regular disagreements. We were both a lot younger then. I was pretty mouthy, not recognizing the wisdom that J.D. was often offering. And MAPS was also a pretty poisonous environment. I’m glad that what happened back in those days didn’t keep me from learning to appreciate and learn from J.D.’s insight and wisdom later on. I’m glad that didn’t keep us from our later online interactions, as simple and limited as they were. When I search my saved email folder, there is so much there to and from J.D., and it’s all valuable stuff, steps on how to improve email, the internet, life. A bit of how to deal with the jerks, and occasionally, a bit of begging that he not lump me in with the jerks.
I didn’t know J.D. as well or as close as others. I regret that. But I am so amazingly lucky to have known him and been able to listen from him and learn from him.
Also, blue hair and a fantastic taste in music: J.D. was, and remains, cool.
— Al Iverson
I am almost at a loss for words.
In 1993, JD and I co-wrote the alt.internet.media-coverage FAQ ( see http://www.uni-giessen.de/faq/archiv/internet.media-coverage-faq.part1-2/msg00000.html ) which helped manage what was then a nascent journalistic community on the internet.
JD was probably one of the strongest forces for good on the internet I’ve met. It is hard to lose friends, it is even harder to lose friends when they are so young. I have lost a friend but more importantly, the whole internet has lost a friend and one of the people who helped make discourse on the internet substantially better.
I didn’t know JD personally, but I worked with him while he was at Yahoo and missed him professionally when he left. Now I just miss him.