I'm trained as a computer scientist, write software for a living, and enjoy motorcycles and photography. I was born in Windsor, educated at Waterloo, and now live in Toronto. I used to work in the computer industry, but am currently on sabbatical raising my son, Linden.
The longer version
I began my life on September 9th, 1973 at Hotel Dieu hospital in Windsor. My parents, Mies and Tony van Egmond, had brought seven children into the world up to that point, and I was their eighth. I was very much a last chance baby, being born when my mother was 44.
My parents owned the bowling alley in La Salle, a village some way outside of Windsor, and I grew up in an apartment above the bowling alley until I moved out at 18.
I went to grade school at Ecole Sacre Coeur in La Salle, where I was taught by a number of very stern and effective Québecoises. With the notable exception of Terry Seguin, my neighbour and inseparable friend, I was picked on with an incredible lack of mercy and sensitivity by my classmates. My fondest memory of my youth is leaving those asshats behind.
Speaking of Terry, we're still in touch. He's a cop in our home town now. I'm so proud of him.
I went to school at École Secondaire l'Essor, in Tecumseh, where I bonded with other nerds destined to be engineers, dentists, and derivatives traders. We read Ayn Rand, listened to Metallica, watched the (New) Twilight Zone, and spent our days in pursuit of radical awesomeness.
No dates, though. Only fruitless crushes. Hello, Bridget. Hi, Esther.~
Given that my high school hijinks involved breaking into the school's computer system, it seemed obvious I should go to school for computer science. I entered the Math faculty at the University of Waterloo in 1992. It was a blast.
My studies at Waterloo provided the basis for nearly everything I'm doing professionally now, and yet also provided nearly nothing that I can directly trace to any course I took. The studies were in algorithms, various languages as a means of studying software architecture, numerical methods, and much of the mathematical foundation of computer science.
I graduated with an Honours Co-op Bachelor of Mathematics in Computer Science, with a misguided minor in Applied Math, in 1997.
I was married from 2000 to 2003, to Shar. She was far more nice to me than I deserved.
In late 2004, I fell into Reagan's lap, and she's the best thing that ever happened to me. We travelled quite a bit through the mid-late 2000's, visiting Italy (twice), Britain, and a number of road trips within North America.
The second-best thing to happen to me is my son Linden, born August 10, 2011. As of March 2012, I am on an extended sabbatical taking a break from the computer industry and learning how to goof off in a healthy way.
Straight out of school, I surfed through companies in a variety of industries: packaged software, hand-held systems development, web engineering, and even operating system manufacturers. Many of them were interesting, but I don't think you could call most of them a success.
In 1999, I joined a web shop that built and operated services for the dot-com boom and bust companies. This company — Novator Systems — is famous in Toronto for burning out its human capital. I lost faith that I could go anywhere interesting with them, and left after 4 years. I will grant that nearly everything worth knowing in this industry, I picked up there.
Late in 2003, I began working independently. I started Tiny Planet to focus on collaborative tools, and more generally anything that connects people using algorithms.
Since then, the business has done well. Bill Snow, whom I've known since University, is involved, and we have lots of interesting projects on the go. Working independently is really, really great. I'll never be able to have a full-time job again.
I enjoy writing, and will take any excuse to pull out a camera and take a picture.
I'm into low-technology transportation like sailing and motorcycles. I've once owned, and will soon again own, a sailboat. I'm on my second motorcycle, and try to travel someplace reasonably remote on my bike at least once a year. Bicycling is my main mode of transportation, yes, even in Toronto.
I like visual design, but I'm hopelessly red-green colour-blind, so that's kind of weird. I do my best: I have a strong interest in visual design as it applies to structure, layout, type, and the way these influence learning.
Relationship-wise, I'm engaged to Reagan. She's camera-shy, so there aren't a lot of pictures of her. She runs a graphic design business, which does quite well.
I live in Toronto, in Roncesvalles village, and love it. There's a very specific combination of the buildings, the culture, the noise, and the simultaneous solitude and community that comes up in a city that I absolutely treasure. I'm curious how this strange thing called a city, and the specific incarnation that is Toronto, came to be.