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Hogwarts' IT guy: Who was J.W. Coxrid?

Hogwarts' IT guy: Who was J.W. Coxrid?

Until now, almost nothing has been known of this secretive and short-lived project, or of the Muggle hired to bring it to fruition as the school's first and, to date, last director of information technology.

But in the most recent release by Hogwarts of the papers of its late headmaster, Albus Dumbledore is a memo [See 'Features' section on this website for the exclusive account of "The trials of the Hogwarts IT director"], from the director, one J.W. Coxrid, announcing his resignation. Aside from his being a Muggle, Coxrid's antecedents are unknown. The memo reveals a singularly unhumorous man, quick to take offence, and with a well-developed sense of his own self-importance, which is typical in those steeped in arcane disciplines.

As is often the case in the magical world, precise dates are uncertain. The memo itself is undated, and independent accounts of the period (cf. the work of Rowling, J.K.) make no mention of the ill-starred project or of Coxrid. But other documents, including payroll records from the Ministry of Magic, make it clear that Coxrid was hired around mid-1995 and resigned abruptly the following Spring.

All that is know of Coxrid's subsequent carrier is that he invested recklessly in a series of increasingly hare-brained Dotcom start-ups, such as virtualgardening.net ("Leave the dirt and bugs where they belong: in the real world!") and the mercifully short-lived babesofIT.com. When the Internet Bubble burst, so did his fortunes.

There is a brief obituary of one "J. Coxrid" that appeared in "The Times" in early 2002. Reading between the terse lines, it is clear that this wretch died drunk, destitute and alone, a mere shell of the promising IT professional he once was.

He left behind one mystery. The police report on the death of J. Coxrid includes a summary of an interview with a neighbour who described at length Coxrid's feverish attempt, indeed obsession, to design and develop an innovative hand-held communicator: it would run on an EDGE cellular network, include Bluetooth and wi-fi radios, be able to play music and video files, and most notably of all have but a single button, the device being manipulated by brushing one's fingers over a sensitive touch screen (one cannot but think that this was inspired by Coxrid's encounter with wizardry at Hogwarts). He called the device the xPhone and all of his thoughts, sketches, diagrams, and plans were kept in a cheap composition-style notebook.

That notebook, if it ever existed, was never found.


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Tags Harry PotterMuggleHogwartsJD Rowling

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