Longtime observers of the blogosphere will be saddened to hear of the passing of Steven Den Beste, author of the acclaimed USS Clueless blog.
Steven, an engineer and a gifted writer, was among the most influential of the early bloggers of the 21st Century. He was named as one of the "Four Horsemen of the Ablogalypse," along with Glenn Reynolds, Charles Johnson, and Andrew Sullivan. (Johnson and Sullivan have since gone insane, leaving Reynolds as the only one of the four still carrying on.) Big-name bloggers such as Bill Quick and Bill Whittle have cited him as a profound influence on their style. I think his writings ultimately influenced everyone that read his words. Including me. I know I've referenced his words many times, here on From the Erbo Files as well as on Electric Minds.
After 2004, he stopped writing at USS Clueless, due both to health issues and the endless pestering of Internet trolls. He redirected his efforts to his blog Chizumatic, which focused primarily on anime. Even here, his writing was always a cut above that of his peers, and he continued to influence many people in the process. I first learned of the Angelic Layer series through him, and both Sabrina and I loved it.
His last entry, of October 14, was written just before a storm approaching his home in the Portland area, which he expected might cut off his Internet service and other communications temporarily. After the storm passed and he might have been expected to come "back on the air," he didn't resume posting. Fans of his feared the worst, and contacted both his family and authorities in the area, which led to the discovery of his death.
He may have died alone, but he did not die unappreciated. He will be sorely missed by many, many people around the world.
The archives of Chizumatic are still available, but USS Clueless was always hosted on his own personal server at the denbeste.nu domain, a Cobalt Qube which was beginning to show its age. With his passing, it appears that that server has also gone the way of all hardware.
Back in 2004, at the time Steven quit writing USS Clueless, I suspected something like this might happen, and I didn't want his words to be lost forever. At my request, Steven E-mailed me a complete archive of the site, and granted me permission to host it on the Electric Minds server. He even put up a note to that effect:
20040917: For what it's worth, Electric Minds has put up a mirror of this site (with my permission).
(The above note can be verified by searching the Internet Archive Wayback Machine for denbeste.nu at or shortly after September 17, 2004.)
The text "a mirror" linked to www.electricminds.org/ussclueless. That URL is no longer in existence, of course, but I still hold the electricminds.org domain, and I was the administrator of the site at the time.
I still had the original ZIP file he sent me of the content, so I uploaded it to my personal server and have made it available once more, at https://erbosoft.com/ussclueless/. I changed one image file to put a little "In Memoriam" note on the content, but have kept the rest of the text intact from what he sent me. He never rescinded the permission he gave me to mirror the content, so I consider it to be still in force. (The pages also include text notes indicating that they are snapshots, and when they were taken.)
Besides, I think he would have wanted it this way. God knows it's the least I can do, for everything that he ever gave to me and to the rest of the world.
Godspeed to you, Steven Den Beste, Captain of the USS Clueless. The First Officer of USS Gabriel salutes you as you head off, if I may switch metaphors, to go exploring beyond the Rim.