Good Bye Janet MacKay


          It is with the deepest regret that we announce the passing away of Janet MacKay of the Clan MacKay, author of the heavily visited Scottish Heritage Information Provider site on CCN and freelance writer.

          Janet MacKay (pronounced mahk-EYE) was a fiery Scotswoman who always had time to help out someone who asked. Several years back, when I first signed up with CCN and was busily exploring, I found out about my web space and Profile page, but had no idea how to go about putting words up on it. I found the CCN g)o who shortcut, browsed the web pages of people online and wrote plaintive emails to anyone who had built their sites up asking how they had done it. I didn't know the Pico text editor or my file directories or anything else and my level of frustration with trying to find out the simplest of first steps to take was high. Janet wrote me back and lead me through those first steps, telling me that I had to learn HTML and well, that there was something called HTML in the first place. Once I knew where to look and what I was looking for, I could do the rest myself, but I can still recall how much of a newbie I felt and how it was so good to hear back from anyone telling me what the first step to take was.

          Not owning my own computer then, I used to hang around the public terminals waiting patiently for any computer time I could get and meeting all the other people in the same boat. Every now and again I would see the name MacKay on the signup lists but I didn't make the connection. Then one day in the Second Cup (at the time the only public graphic browser around) I met Janet in person and we sat down and talked about all the people whose names were so familiar to us both but whom we had not met and about how everything worked. It amazed me that she had built such a large website using only text access at home and could never see it graphically unless she took the long bus ride to downtown and waited for a half hour at a time on a public terminal, nursing a coffee while waiting patiently for the computer to become free so she could see her handiwork.

          I last saw Janet at the Community Net social just before Christmas. She had lost weight from her illness but was still as bright-eyed and strong willed as ever. After, as I helped her into her car we talked about how she wanted to upgrade her computer and we exchanged a couple of emails talking about this and that. She carried on with such spirit that she never let on how seriously ill she was.

          Janet was one of this community net's more colorful characters and was the person who first opened my eyes to all that was going on around me and for that, I am profoundly grateful. Her files are the most popular on our site, garnering some 20,000 hits a day, and in them some small part of her lives on.


- Andrew D. Wright,

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