The founder and owner of Zipgenius gives us an insight into his life.
Q.Hello,Matteo thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule for chatting with us.Please tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Matteo L. Riso, I am 32 years old and I live in Reggio Calabria, Italy. I am the main developer of ZipGenius, but a lot of people helps behind the scenes with graphic, GUI design, usability, feature concepts. A quick note: I am not a professional developer, but just a lawyer 😉
Q.How’d you get started with computers and build up your skill set?
I had my first contact with computers and videogames when I was 8, when my parents bought a Mattel Intellivision console for me. After that I had Commodore 16 and Commodore Amiga 500+, then I jumped to the PC world with a Pentium 100 custom built machine.People that knows me is saying that I am truly addicted to computers (and maybe they are right: my latest toys is a Nokia N80 cell phone with Wi-Fi support)
Q. What made you want to start Zipgenius and other utilities?
It happened in 1996: when I entered into the Windows environment for the first time, everybody told me to “zip and unzip” files using WinZip. I got that software and I quickly found that it was not free, so many friends told me to “crack it” in order to use WinZip for much longer time.
I got quickly tired of cracking that program each time I had to reinstall it, and I felt also that something was missing in WinZip. Many computer users still think that it is a complete and powerful software, but I don’t think so since that time.
I discovered Borland Delphi very soon and I tried to write a program on my own. I didn’t know how to write software, so I followed the many examples in the Borland Delphi help file, and in December 1997 I wrote a software labeled as “Mr. Zip 98”. That could be considered as the grandfather of ZipGenius. It was a very basic software with just the unzip feature and a simple file list viewer. In 1998 I discovered that another compression software had a similar brand and I decided to replace the name “Mr. Zip” with the current “ZipGenius” and ZipGenius 1.2 came out, and it was the very first version to leave my PC and to reach… my neighbor’s machine. Many friends tried that software and encouraged me to go on developing that software and to distribute it to a wider audience.
Q. Do you have any plans for the future of Zipgenius ?
There are lot of plans. First of all, in december 2007 I will release the final version of ZipGenius 7 (codename ZG 2007), which hopefully will have a full support to x64 Vista systems.
I hope start a Linux branch of my software: I need developers but Linux community is simply too close to accept software from the Windows world: when I ask for volunteers to develop ZipGenius for Linux, I always get replies like “Ark does it all” and “There is no need for another compression program”. It’s very sad.There will also be a little brand modification because ZipGenius 7 will appear as a “WinInizio.it Product”. WinInizio.it is the italian IT portal where I act as an admin, and it is also the host service for my website. WinInizio and ZipGenius have a long partnership behind, so it is time fuse the ZipGenius branch in the WinInizio project, where we are building a very good software development group (see http://www.wininizio.it and http://pensuite.wininizio.it for further info).
Finally, I would like to develop a commercial version (e.g.: not free) for specific environments (I think to industrial environments): that version may have features not available in the “free for all” release.
Q.What do you think is still badly missing in Zipgenius ?
Ans:A good set of 64 bit shell extensions: that represents an obstacle for full usage of ZipGenius in Vista x64.Someone may say that ZipGenius lacks a true explorer-style gui: no more, wait for ZG7 and you’ll see.
Q. Which is your favourite programming language? Which tool you use for creating apps?
I love Delphi since version 2. It is the only tool I currently use to develop ZipGenius, but I am testing a C# version of ZipGenius through SharpDevelop.
Q. Do you have any experience with operating system other than windows ?How much you get involved in it?
Ans:I know a little Linux because I have to mess with the WinInizio/ZipGenius webserver, but Windows perfectly fits my daily tasks.
Q.How much time do you usually spend on computers/proramming ?Unfortunately I can’t spend the same time I spent when I was just a student, so I have just from 1 to 2 hours a day.
Q. What are your hobbies and interests away from the desk?
I love spending time with my girlfriend, watching sport events (soccer, mainly), and going to walk to the seaside.
Q. Who or what in your life would you say influenced you most?
I am not easily influencable by other people because I usually decide for myself, but I accept suggestions from everybody and particularly from my girlfriend and my mom. However, my life is 90% decided by me.
Q. If someone visits your country Italy, which spot is a must-see?
When people comes to Italy, usually visits always the same cities: Rome, Venice, Naples, Taormina, Florence… People! Discover Reggio Calabria, the best place on the sea and the only italian town that gets new citizens in the summertime. Visit this web site: http://turismo.reggiocal.it
Q. Among your friends, what are you are best known for?
I should not say what are the qualities that my friends recognize to me… Many of them are saying that I am loyal and trustful. They also say that I work well as lawyer because I love this job.
Q. Your favourite stuff from : Food/T.V.Show/Website ?
T.V. Show: uhm… I don’t watch much TV since I find more funny to browse the Web or to go to the cinema. I only watch movies, news and soccer through the satellite PayTv.Website: Apart from www.zipgenius.it (obviously), I love www.wininizio.it (more obviously) and Google (I am a GMail power user)
Q. Any advice you’d give to new programmers?
I’d suggest them to concentrate on just one, good, idea. Love your idea and think to how you can further enhance it. When you develop a new project, you should think to that almost all the day, even if you are not writing code, yet; when you have your project well defined in your mind, then take your keyboard and start coding.
Q. Where do you see yourself in ten years time?
Most probably, I will move to Rome, where my girlfriend is working as an electrical engineer, and I will get married and I will work as lawyer. I will keep up the ZipGenius development but only when I will have some spare time: I will probably delegate the coding part to some good friend in the WinInizio Software Team and I will continue as project manager and main concept developer. But… Who tells?
Well that’s it. Thanks for taking the time to chat. Keep up the excellent work with Zipgenius.