About me and this Website

About Me

I'm Ottmar Klaas, a mason, turned civil engineer, turned software engineer. Originally from Germany, I settled down in upstate New York, working for a small software company.

Much of my day job is related to developing software to solve problems in applied mechanics and mathematics, often in collaboration with a University. If you are so inclined, you can get more information about the kind of projects I'm working on here and here.

Why this Website Exists

Several reasons prompted me to create this website. For one, there is the software engineering aspect. Creating a website felt like an interesting software related project to get into. Web applications—even non-interactive content delivery over the web—face a different set of limitations compared to my daily work where hardware resources are of secondary concern. That spells potential for learning new methodologies, which typically spark new ideas in my day job.

Second, this website is an attempt to give back and provide content that I hope will be helpful to others. I have often searched for and found solutions to various—at times esoteric—questions on small sites like this. As the web provides a publishing platform incurring only marginal costs, it is feasible to disseminate what I have learned even though it might only be of interest to a small group of people.

Finally, over the years I have developed an interest in typography. For printed matter my preferred typesetting system is Latex. I always found its ability to produce easier to read documents more efficiently than what is possible with a typical word processor intriguing. With that in mind, typography on the web has come a long way, and I'm interested in experimenting with the various features this medium makes available to me.

Technical Details about this Blog

This website is edited with BBEdit and developed with GRAV. Gulp automates the workflow, and git is my preferred revision control system to keep track of changes made to the site (content as well as modifications to the layout). I use Atlassian's Bitbucket as my remote repository. Bitbucket allows me to configure Webhooks that automatically update the website on the web server as soon as I push changes to the repository. The web server itself is a virtual private server from RamNode. ServerPilot is used to manage the server.

In creating the layout of the website, I relied heavily on open source web frameworks and components. Specifically, Bourbon, Bourbon Neat and Refills are part of the foundation of the site. The starting point for the typography was Bitters with additional pieces worked in from Typeplate. Body text is Equity, headings are set in Concourse and the monospaced font used is Source Code Pro.

The website is secured through a certificate obtained from Let’s Encrypt, an open certificate authority (CA), run for the public’s benefit. The service is free of charge!

Affiliate Links

There are some services that I use myself and can recommend. For those, I have placed affiliate links in the sidebar and other places on this website. If you plan on signing up for any of those services I would appreciate it if you use my affiliate links. Some of them will also give you a discount when you sign up through my links.

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