Richard Tait, Co-Inventor of the Board Game Cranium, Dies at 58

Mr. Tait studied laptop science as an undergraduate at Heriot-Watt College in Edinburgh earlier than transferring to america, the place he earned a grasp’s diploma at Dartmouth’s Tuck Faculty of Enterprise. When he completed his M.B.A., he took a job with Microsoft, within the suburbs of Seattle, simply as that software program maker was rising into one of many world’s strongest firms. Not lengthy after, he employed one of many firm’s most notable staff: the long run chief govt and chairman Satya Nadella.

Within the Nineties, in the course of the heyday of multimedia CD-ROMs, Mr. Tait oversaw Microsoft’s catalog of reference titles, together with the Encarta encyclopedia and Bookshelf, a catchall assortment spanning Roget’s Thesaurus, The American Heritage Dictionary, Bartlett’s Acquainted Quotations and The Chicago Handbook of Fashion. He ultimately grew to become a form of entrepreneur-in-residence on the firm, launching 5 new web companies inside Microsoft inside 4 years, together with Carpoint, a car-buying service, and Sidewalk, an internet metropolis information.

He left the corporate in 1997, hoping to grow to be a radio disc jockey on the energy of his Scottish brogue. However after a failed audition, he determined to develop Skull, constructing a brand new firm, Skull Inc., with Mr. Alexander, a former Microsoft colleague.

Once they completed creating the sport in late 1998, sport shops and different conventional retailers had already stocked their cabinets for the vacation shopping for season. However one afternoon, after they met for espresso at a Starbucks in Seattle, Mr. Tait had one other thought: What in the event that they bought the sport via the espresso store chain?

“His thought was to promote the sport not the place video games have been bought however the place our prospects have been,” Mr. Alexander stated. “Most people we have been going for would by no means set foot in a sport retailer.”

By means of an acquaintance, Mr. Tait organized a gathering with Starbucks’s chief govt, Howard Schultz, and shortly Starbucks was promoting Skull in retailers throughout the nation. Later, Mr. Tait and Mr. Alexander organized comparable offers with Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble, each of which have been then recognized for promoting primarily books, not video games.

Ken Knowlton, a Father of Computer Art and Animation, Dies at 91

Dr. Knowlton remained at Bell Labs till 1982, experimenting with the whole lot from computer-generated music to applied sciences that allowed deaf folks to learn signal language over the phone. He later joined Wang Laboratories, the place, within the late-Nineteen Eighties, he helped develop a private laptop that allow customers annotate paperwork with synchronized voice messages and digital pen strokes.

In 2008, after retiring from tech analysis, he joined a magician and inventor named Mark Setteducati in making a jigsaw puzzle referred to as Ji Ga Zo, which may very well be organized to resemble anybody’s face. “He had a mathematical thoughts mixed with an ideal sense of aesthetics,” Mr. Setteducati stated in a telephone interview.

Along with his son Rick, Dr. Knowlton is survived by two different sons, Kenneth and David, all from his first marriage, which led to divorce; a brother, Fredrick Knowlton; and a sister, Marie Knowlton. Two daughters, Melinda and Suzanne Knowlton, additionally from his first marriage, and his second spouse, Barbara Bean-Knowlton, have died.

Whereas at Bell Labs, Mr. Knowlton collaborated with a number of well-known artists, together with the experimental filmmaker Stan VanDerBeek, the pc artist Lillian Schwartz and the electronic-music composer Laurie Spiegel. He noticed himself as an engineer who helped others create artwork, as prescribed by Mr. Rauschenberg’s E.A.T. venture.

However later in life he started creating, displaying and promoting artwork of his personal, constructing conventional analog photographs with dominoes, cube, seashells and different supplies. He belatedly realized that when engineers collaborate with artists, they grow to be greater than engineers.

“In the very best instances, they grow to be extra full people, partially from understanding that each one conduct comes not from logic however, on the bottommost degree, from intrinsically indefensible feelings, values and drives,” he wrote in 2001. “Some in the end grow to be artists.”