Ryan Johnson, a friend for over a decade, passed away in a fire last Thursday.
Ryan, better known on the Internet as RJ2, originally gained notoriety after releasing a AoHack program called FireToolz. We first met in one of the aol private rooms that a lot of other young programmers spent time in. I don’t remember which of the series of rooms it was; teel, ipa, deadend, who knows, but we had some good folks in there. RJ2, Eraser, Propal, Chronos, Sinister, MKB, Stealth, Pimpshiz, Gerbil, myself and a bunch of others were regulars, constantly critiquing and helping improve each others work.
There was always a bit of competition going on between the work he did with Eraser and the projects Stealth and I worked on. While the work we did wasn’t terribly difficult, it was a lot of fun and helped many of us get in to IT fields in one way or another. After the aol scene we were a part of began to die out, Ryan put his efforts in to “Internet marketing”. The definition of that term leaves a large grey area when it comes to what he did, but no matter how you look at it he was successful.
We didn’t keep in regular touch in the post-aol days, chatting via the Internet maybe once a month. The usual topics were music or travel, and we hardly spoke about work or anything related to the Internet. I like to think that the time we spent talking and catching up was a bit of an escape from whatever else had us in front of the computer at the time, even if it were for a few brief moments now and then.
An article posted on ohio.com states that there were no fire detectors in his home. It’s very sad to think that someone so kind and talented lost their life over something we all probably take for granted. My thoughts and condolences are with his family.
Rest in peace, my friend.