The news of Joe Miller’s passing has been circulating through the SL community for the last 24 hours, and has included a short tribute to his time with Linden Lab published on the Lab’s blog.
Mr. Miller served at the Lab’s Vice President of Platform and Technology Development from May 2006 through until December 2010, and as such, oversaw many of the key technical developments within Second Life.
These included such activities as moving the grid away from the traditional “black Wednesday” downtimes while things were being banged upon for around eight hours, and users were faced with having to find something else to do with their online time; overseeing the arrival of voice in Second Life; improving the look of SL with the introduction of Windlight; and improving the overall stability of the viewer.
Throughout all of this, Mr. Miller, through his robotic alter-ego, Joe Linden, was popular among SL users, and not averse to meeting residents and participating in meetings. Via the Lab’s own podcast series, Inside the Lab, he discussed many of the challenges involved in running a service such as Second Life which, as Ciaran Laval (who has my thanks for providing the link) pointed out, can be as pertinent today as they were six years ago.
I didn’t actually get to meet by Joe Miller in-world while he worked at the Lab, but we did seem to share something of a passion for space exploration and astronomy. On Twitter and elsewhere, he would point to stunning astronomy and space images; one in particular that springs to mind is also a favourite of mine – a shot of the Earth and the Moon sitting against a backdrop of stars as captured in 2010 by NASA’s Messenger space vehicle when it was 183 million kilometres away, en route to a rendezvous with Mercury.
Outside of his tenure at Linden Lab, joe Miller had a wide-range career in technology spanning some 30 years, and included time at Atari, Convergent Inc., Sega America and SegaSoft Inc. At the latter two, he respectively served as Senior Vice President, Product Development; and Executive Vice President, CTO, and board member.
Alongside of this, he also founded a number of companies and organisations during his career, including the Perilux Group, a product design company, which was engaged to develop several award-winning products now offered by LeapFrog (he is credited as one of the co-inventors of the original Leapster hand-held educational gaming console for young children), Bright Things, Apple, and Fitniks. He also founded the Knowledge Universe Interactive Studio, where he served as both President and CEO as well as serving on the board of directors.
Following his departure from the Lab, he went on to work at Sportvision Inc, as Vice President, Engineering,
Mr. Miller passed away peacefully on July 27th, 2014, with his family at his side. A memorial page has been established by his family where those who know him can remember him and perhaps leave a few words.