Greg Schmidt

A Brief History of Me

[Personality] [The Physical...] [Pastimes] [Other Interests] [Pet Peeves]

I was born in Toronto (actually, East York) in 1970. My father was a Lutheran minister (since retired), and Lutheran ministers are encouraged to move around frequently, so I've seen a lot of Ontario. During my formative years, we spent time in Pembroke, Sudbury, Chesley, Waterloo and environs, back to Toronto, and finally in Newmarket, where I finally finished high school. Final tally: nine schools in fourteen years.

I had known since public school that I was going to study computers (although I can't remember exactly when or why they caught my fancy), and so I applied to, and was accepted by, the world's best university for Computer Science, the University of Waterloo. I spent five years there completing an Honours BMath in their excellent Co-op programme, graduating in 1993.

While there, I also took several courses in English and History, and likely would have ended up in one of those fields if there were no computers.

I spent all of my co-op work terms at Heron Technology, mainly working on their accounting software for construction companies (which it appears they no longer support). Ron, if you're reading this, you still owe me $1900 for the HL/7 project! I thought about trying something different, but if you recall what the job market was like in the early 1990's, you'll understand why I stuck with the sure thing.

Upon graduation, I started into the normal job search procedure, but landed a job with my first interview. I started work six weeks after my last exam. I worked at Bioscrypt Inc. (formerly Mytec Technologies Inc.; they've since been bought out), as a programmer on their fingerprint verification project, until June 2002, when I started my own web development company, which is still going strong.

I have lived in Toronto since 1993, purchasing a house in 1999 (the only Greg Schmidt in the phone book, in case you care to look me up). I've done a ton of renos on the place, including a lovely basement apartment that I rent out to help pay the mortgage. My two cats (Juniper and Mimsy, pictures to come) mooch off of me in exchange for not completely ignoring me all of the time. I used to have fish, but they all tended to die on me.


or lack thereof...

I am a nice guy, kind, thoughtful, sensitive, generous. The kind of person that women always say they want, just before they start going out with a guy who was a quarterback in high school... Not that I'm bitter...

I often go far out of my way to do a favour for a friend.

I tend to be shy and quiet when I meet new people, but open up more as I get to know them better.

I like to think I have a pretty good sense of humour, and often find hilarity or absurdity in things which are not intended to be funny. (My favourite is the street sign that said "Fine for littering", though of course it meant quite the opposite.)

I am honest to a fault. My parents instilled in me a keen sense of wrong and right, and made it very clear that lying is wrong. I have told very few lies in my life, and no, this isn't one of them. Plus, it's a whole lot easier than trying to remember what lie you told to who.

According to the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, I'm an ISTJ, although I'm pretty close to the middle on the S-N scale, and I think that this description for INTJ fits me better. On the other hand, this ISTJ description seems more like me than this INTJ.

The Physical...

I am fairly athletic, and enjoy playing a variety of sports, particularly Ultimate frisbee. I've been to the Canadian Ultimate Championships four times, and have two bronze medals (in the Masters division) to show for it. The only TV sport I really watch is hockey.

I prefer jeans and a T-shirt to any other form of attire yet invented.

There's a very old, unflattering picture here.


In addition to the sports discussed above, I love movies, music and reading. I also like role-playing games, and started working on one of my own years ago, but I don't have much time for that anymore.

Of course, I also spend a fair bit of time on computers, working on my various web sites, playing video games, or programming. Writing code is the only thing I can do that's remotely artistic, and it's a shame that the artistry of it is lost on pretty much everyone. Almost anyone that sees a nice painting, sculpture or photo can appreciate it to some extent, but almost nobody ever looks at HTML or C++ code and appreciates the elegance of a particular method, or even notices if a programme differentiates between "one thing" and "two things". Check out how many places you see a reference to "one things" or "one thing(s)" and perhaps you will begin to appreciate the care and craftsmanship that goes into the simple "one thing". That's what it's all about.

My most popular web site is the Fiction Into Film Database, which may give you an idea what happens when you combine a love of movies with a love of books, and mix in a mild dose of obsessive compulsive.

In 2010, I combined my loves of Ultimate and web site development, launching a web-based sports league management software package.


My favourite movie of all time (for reasons I can't put my finger on) is Ladyhawke, closely followed by Blade Runner. To give you a better idea, other movies that I quite like include, in no particular order, Seven, Reservoir Dogs, The Usual Suspects, 12 Monkeys, The Sixth Sense, Top Secret!, Caddyshack, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Princess Bride, The Secret of NIMH, and The Dark Crystal.

I can generally watch, and find something redeeming in, almost any movie, except for anything with Pauly Shore or the Olsen twins (links intentionally omitted). I'm not much into slasher movies either, but "intelligent" horror movies, such as The Shining or The Blair Witch Project, are okay.


Over the years, I have had a lot of favourite musical groups. Some of my favourites have included Foreigner, Steve Miller, Billy Joel, Pink Floyd, Steve Winwood, Huey Lewis and the News, Def Leppard, Van Halen, Genesis, Bryan Adams, Melissa Etheridge, Joe Satriani, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Tragically Hip, Live, The Lowest Of The Low, and Ben Folds Five.

I've also got fond memories of much of the pop music of the 80s, especially those groups which have been retroactively labelled as being "early alternative".

Some of my least favourite groups include the Backstreet Boys (and all the rest of the recent spate of "Boy Bands"), The Spice Girls (and all the rest of the recent spate of "Girl Bands"), Madonna, Britney Spears, and 99% of all rap groups.

I've still got several hundred records and tapes, as well as a few too many CDs. I could listen to music for about four solid weeks before running out. I've converted all the CDs to MP3, and some of the records as well.


I've read a lot of books in my life. For as long as I can remember (about age 4, I've been told), I've been reading. When I was around 10, my main love was the Hardy Boys. I would often finish a book in a single sitting, tuning out everything else, including people standing right next to me saying "suppertime".

I read a lot of the "juvenile" mysteries, including the Hardy Boys, the Bobbsey Twins, the Fantastic Four, and so on, but grew out of that in my early teens. Since then, I've been reading mostly science fiction and fantasy, as well as various non-fiction books concerned with history.

My favourite author is Guy Gavriel Kay, and I also very much like (in alphabetical order as I scan my shelves) the late and lamented Douglas Adams, Greg Bear (though his more recent stuff is thrilling me less), Frank Herbert, C.S. Lewis, Anne McCaffrey, Michael Moorcock, Larry Niven Pournelle, Kim Stanley Robinson, Sheri S. Tepper, J.R.R. Tolkien, Jack Vance, John Varley, Vernor Vinge, and Connie Willis. I own even more books than CDs, and yes I've read almost all of them.

I have also read a lot of Piers Anthony, Jack Chalker, David Eddings, Raymond Feist, and various books published by TSR (mainly in the Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms worlds), which were generally mildly entertaining, but I have realized that there are so many much better written books out there, and I have become more picky as my spare time for reading has dwindled. (For several years, I averaged a book a week, but that number has dropped to less than a dozen a year recently.)

Other Interests

I am a fount of useless knowledge, particularly about various forms of media in the 1980s and early 1990s. If you need to know something about music, movies, or TV shows from that era, chances are pretty good I can tell you. I have been known to use obscure quotes from old movies, TV shows and commercials at very appropriate times, often confusing the heck out of people who don't have the same background as I do, but amusing the heck out of those who do.

I also know just enough about various sciences (chemistry, physics, astronomy, history, archaeology, and others not including biology) that for everything I don't know, I am pretty good at making up things that sound believable to anyone else that doesn't know. I've even "made up" explanations that ended up being true.

I think Dave Barry is possibly the funniest human alive.

I insist on buying high-quality items, even though it often turns out that I don't ever use the extra features, or that there is no appreciable difference. Still, I like to know that I have the best.

Pet Peeves

A lot of people make the mistake of assuming that I am obsessed with computers and specifically the Internet. If someone has a beautiful singing voice, people don't assume that they sing all of the time, so why is that sort of stereotype applied to programmers? It is true that I am quite proficient with technology, but it often surprises people when I tell them that I hate computers. I think that computers and the Internet are useful tools, and I very much like the idea of what they could be, but, in general, the implementation is highly lacking, to the point that I often get very frustrated trying to use them.

Similarly, people expect that I should think that Microsoft is the greatest company in the world, but in fact I think that they have irreparably damaged the software industry. (I will refrain from going into how, as you presumably have only a limited amount of time to read this.)

On a tangentially related note, why is it that people worry about using their credit card on the Internet, but don't think twice about letting some pimply 15-year-old wander off with it for 10 minutes in a restaurant?

People who abuse the roadways are pretty low on my Christmas card list. Aggressive driving is one thing; dangerously aggressive, on the other hand, is just, well, dangerous. Drivers who pull over into a merge lane just to get past a few cars during rush hour, drivers who meander along at or below the speed limit in the left lane of a major highway, drivers who cut across several lanes of traffic without signalling, drivers who are always lane-hopping to get ahead a single car length. I have no respect for these people. I have even less respect (less than none? sure, why not...) for the police officers that I often see doing the same things.

Salespeople who can't be bothered to learn the most basic facts about the product they're selling, but instead resort to lying to you in the hopes that you know even less than they do, are among the lowest scum on earth. There are entirely too many such people working in computer sales. I once had a salesman try to convince me that I would get "better DPIs" (sic) if I bought a more expensive printer cable! (For the benefit of the non-technical out there, this is completely impossible for a number of reasons.)

And that's about all there is to know about me, that it's possible to put down in pixels.