December 8, 2006 10:00 AM PST

Week in review: Tech loses a loved one

The gadget world lost one of its most visible and respected journalists this week with the death of James Kim.

Kim, a senior editor at CNET, was found dead Wednesday after being lost in a remote part of southern Oregon for 11 days. An autopsy determined that Kim died of exposure with hypothermia.

Kim left his family's stranded car Saturday morning searching for help and never returned. He apparently traveled in a 10-mile circle and was found less than a mile, separated by a sheer cliff, from where his family's station wagon got stuck in the snow. Officers said there was no way to determine whether he was trying to return to his starting point or if he became disoriented.

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CNET editor in chief thanks readers for their support and gives details about how they can help the Kim family.

Kim's wife and two young daughters were found alive and well Monday after surviving more than a week stranded in the wilderness. Kati Kim suffered frostbite on two toes, but will not lose those toes.

More than 100 individuals were involved with the search, which was focused on the Big Windy Creek drainage area, about 30 miles northwest of Grants Pass. At various times, efforts involved helicopters, rafts floating down the Rogue River, Sno-Cats, four-wheel-drive vehicles and dozens of searchers on foot.

A commercial satellite-imagery company even rerouted one of its satellites to fly over the Oregon wilderness where rescue crews were searching for Kim.

Kim was a respected expert on cutting-edge digital devices, an owner of a trendy clothing store and a lover of the futuristic-sounding music known as electronica.

Yet, according to friends, most of Kim's life revolved around old-fashioned values: sacrifice, friendship and family. Those who knew him say they aren't surprised that Kim, in the last act of his life, demonstrated the ultimate expression of devotion to his wife and daughters.

The outpouring of concern and condolences for the family set records for the number of postings to the CNET TalkBack forum.

"I am choked up. This is a very sad story about a great man," wrote one reader to the forum. "My heart is with his family and him."

CNET has created a page for those wishing to share their thoughts and condolences with the Kim family.

The search for the Kim family illustrates how important cell phone technology has become as a public safety tool. While other technologies such as global positioning system, or GPS, navigation may help people find their way out of trouble, it does little to help when people are stranded on the side of the road like the Kims were.

Tracking devices that send beacons to rescuers could be helpful, but they are used mostly by wilderness backpackers and backcountry skiers. Few people carry them on road trips. And even though satellite-based tracking technology exists, even fewer people are likely to consent to having their whereabouts tracked on a daily basis in the off chance that they might get lost on a backcountry road.

A little privacy
Cell phones can also be used to spy on you. The FBI appears to have begun using a novel form of electronic surveillance in criminal investigations: remotely activating a mobile phone's microphone and using it to eavesdrop on nearby conversations.

The technique is called a "roving bug," and was approved by top U.S. Department of Justice officials for use against members of a New York organized crime family who were wary of conventional surveillance techniques such as tailing a suspect or wiretapping him.

See more CNET content tagged:
Week in review, Oregon, family, reader, GPS


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James Kim
To the Kim's Little ones.... I am extremly sorry for the loss of such a great man. I have watched this story unfold from the beginning. Little ones your parents are great human beings with total unselfish love. To Mrs. KIM my family and I will continue to pray for you and your little girls. May God bless.
Posted by munchkinsdaddy (1 comment )
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Mr. James Kim Love & Tips for Future
To the Kim Family

Not having ever heard of Mr. Kim I was drawn to read about him because of your valiant story.
So many people will benefit from your story.
I dropped a tear. May GOD ever Bless You and the rest or your family friends and business associates that will miss Mr. Kim so much.
GOD is good. In time it will be easier. Then you will be mostly telling the good stories about Mr. Kim that make you smile. GOD Bless You. For those who say he shouldn't have done this or that, "Hind sight is 20/20." Travelors please read the following tip. Thank you.
Having grown up in East Saint Louis,Illinois
we were taught to have sand and extra blankets in the car. Both sand and blankets can be used for traction when your tires get stuck. When telling a friend this I was asked what the blanket does. You can wedge a blanket under the back or front edge of a tire and also pour sand on it. You can of course pour sand directly on the road or use the blanket with out sand to get traction.

Kijana Wiseman of Modus Operandi in Houston also told me of a tour she was on in Colorado when her driver decided to take a short cut that was not on the AAA route. They end up going five miles an hour on an icy mountainous road without even a guard rail. "Less is sometimes more."

My mother Mrs Clotee Ruth Summers demanded that we always carry loads of extra food, drink, and snacks plus clothing and blankets when we became parents: Back ache proportions. She was a southern woman from a rural town. She knew what could happen. I still carry extra supplies even on an airplane. May GOD Bless all the readers of this message. Thank you.
Posted by Ruth Summers (1 comment )
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