Peter Sklar, the software mastermind who changed Santa Barbara’s media landscape with the creation of the website Edhat.com in 2003, passed away on Sunday morning, December 9, at the age of 50. He had been battling inoperable brain cancer for more than a year, and died at his home due to complications from pneumonia, with his wife, Sue Foley, two college-aged children, Zack and Nick, and longtime canine companion, Molly, by his side.
Having previously founded the successful web company coolmaps.com, Sklar turned his attention to Santa Barbara’s general lack of online media in the early 2000s. He built Edhat.com into a vibrant community forum, first around a series of trivia questions, such as “How many palms are on Cabrillo Boulevard?” and then into a service that, to this day, combines news aggregation, citizen journalism, photo sharing, public commentary, and person-to-person recommendations with a steady stream of original blog-like content from such folks as Roger “The Scanner Guy” Dodger, who tracks all emergency activity like a hawk.
Evolving into one of the region’s most visited websites, Edhat.com went on to repeatedly win The Santa Barbara Independent‘s Best of Santa Barbara Award for Best Website, and Sklar took his success on the road, speaking at USC and launching more sites in the communities of San Luis Obispo, Ventura, Sonoma, Mountain View, and New Haven, Connecticut.