Who is Dan Smith?

1985 photo I am a 45-year old Draftsman/Artist/Programmer and I have lived for the past 19 years in Leominster, Massachusetts (pronounced "lemon-stir", "mass-a-choo-sets"), in the USA. (About 60-miles [100-km] north-west of Boston, Massachusetts.) But I was born in, raised in, and spent the first 26 years of my life in the nearby town of Lunenburg.

I am happily married (recently celebrated my 19th wedding anniversary) and have two children, a boy (age 17) and a girl (age 15). I generally agree with the Conservatives in Political, Social and Economic matters, and the Liberals on Environmental issues. I consider myself an Evangelical Christian. Click here to hear my voice.

Why make weird fonts?

In High School I preferred the Art, History, Science and Technical Drawing (Drafting). I think that my interests in these subjects led me to begin experimenting with calligraphy. After High School, I attended a regional Vocational Technical school and got a certificate in Drafting.

As a teenager during the 1970's, I read a lot of Science Fiction novels and enjoy the works of Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Frank Herbert, Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven. I was fascinated by the way these authors were able to create entirely believable, logical and rational fantasy worlds and sometimes universes. I even tried my hand at it and created the island nation of Acondia, situated in the Pacific ocean, west of South America. (But that's another story!) For this fantasy country, I developed a 40-letter phonetic alphabet that the residents used to write their unique English dialect.

In 1978 a friend introduced me to the works of J.R.R.Tolkien by letting me borrow a copy of "The Hobbit". (This was and still is my favorite Tolkien book.) Afterwards, I read "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and the link between calligraphy and created fantasy worlds was complete. The next few years found me filling notebooks with Runic and Tengwar messages and inscriptions, much to the dismay of those around me.

Since 1979 I have been employed by a variety of high-tech companies in the eastern Massachusetts area. As a Draftsman, I originally worked on a drawing board, using technical pencils, pens, triangles, templates, Leroy sets, and T-squares. In 1983 I had my first opportunity to work with a CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) system. I have used CAD systems as an 'Electronic Drawing Board' to generate electrical and mechanical diagrams ever since. One day I learned that I could create custom fonts with CAD systems I used. In my spare time I built a 'Gutenburg' style font that worked out quite well. and began planning a Tengwar font.

In 1987 began working with PC-based CAD. (My first PC was a 10-Mhz 286 with 4-MB of RAM and ran both DOS and a UNIX operating system.) Over the next few years I ran several different CAD programs on my PC or on various UNIX workstations, such as; Daisy, OrCAD, Tango, PADS, Cadence and ViewLogic. But none of these CAE programs allowed font customization. In 1992 I began using AutoCAD, which allowed some primitive font customization. (In September of 1996, I was one of the founding menbers of the Central Massachusetts AutoCAD User Group.)

In 1993 I got my first home PC (a 33-Mhz 486 with 8-MB of RAM) and the font-building program: 'FontMonger'. By January of 1994, my first Tengwar font was released onto the Internet (Tengwar-Quenya, version 1.1). Since then, I have continued to release free fonts and updates of my font-packs for Windows. But I found it difficult to track-down and remove the old versions every time a new version was released.

In 1996 I started this Web site as a place where the latest versions of my fonts could always be found.


On a more personal note:

Guillain Barre Syndrome
In May 1990, I developed an illness called 'Guillain Barre Syndrome'. This illness is caused when an over-active immune system that attacks a person's nervous system. As the nervous system fails, it causes paralysis and breathing difficulties which may last only a few days, or several months, but in some cases, a life time. It is rare enough that many hospitals are unable to diagnose it. Not that it matters, since there are few treatment options.

One doctor told me that I might never walk again. My doctors said that I would have to wait and see how much nerve damage my body could repair. I was hospitalized for three months. When I had recovered enough to be able to walk with crutches, I was allowed to go home. It was six months until I was able to walk without assistance, and about two years before I had, for the most part, recovered. The doctors claim that I may be subject to relapses for the rest of my life.

If you, or someone you know, has (or had) Guillain Barre Syndrome, I invite you to contact me at:

Genealogy
For the past couple years I've been researching my family's history. I've discovered that I am descended from a long line of European peasants came to North America in the 1700's & 1800's from England, France, Germany and Switzerland escaping war, oppression, and poverty. I've been lucky enough to link-up with several people who have already done a great deal of research. Follow this link to Web sites that I've found useful in my search and if you have a moment, check and see if you are related to me.


Daniel Steven Smith
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