History

Let’s start 5 years before this website came into being: the year 1994 was remarkable in several aspects. In September I was browsing the Internet for the first time, when visiting a colleague in the European Network Center of IBM in Heidelberg. A month later, I read the announcement of OS/2 Warp, released later that year, which included the TCP/IP protocol suite and the Internet BonusPak. I remember how enthusiastic I was about the first 32-bit desktop client software with complete Internet connectivity.

In February 1996 I was writing a computer program and its rationale, handling with that year’s leap day. The rationale contained several mathematical formulas. It would be the last one without using TeX. When working thru The Feynman Lectures on Physics I felt again the urgent need to write up some solved exercises in mathematical style (with raised exponents and lowered indices, like in F = G.m1.m2/r2). I was looking out in the Internet for some tool to accomplish that. End of March I detected Donald E. Knuth on the Web and I learned in particular about his tremendous contribution, the TeX typesetting system. His TeXbook was on my bookshelf April 1st, 1996.

When I reflected on how to become familiar with TeX, I decided to put my thesis into TeX source format (I soon detected that the use of the LaTeX macro package would be beneficial, sparing me to re-invent a whole lot of formatting work). In 1984-85 I had already typeset a major part of my thesis into SCRIPT, the IBM generalized markup language (GML), making use of the Mathematical Formula Formatter. The conversion from GML to TeX was easy and a large part was completed during my summer vacation July 27 to August 22, 1996 in Aquitaine, France, at the Atlantic Ocean.

The TeXification task of my thesis was completed in May 1997 and I immediately started to write up some other articles and notes (from the eighties). Under the OS/2 platform I used emTeX, the TeX implementation of Eberhard Mattes, under Linux the one of Thomas Esser (teTeX). Linux was my preferred platform in 1997.

At the end of 1998 I posted a short note on topological covering theory to the preprint server of the AMS. Alas, when it was still in the process of being accepted, the AMS announced to shut down the preprint server in February 1999 and I was in trouble and had to look for another way to post it somewhere … but where ? Eventually, I got the idea to have a homepage of my own.

My first homepage was created in June 1999 and posted the 28th. The inital content was just an HTML version of a plain ASCII format article on a Computer program, called GAUSS, that exploits the algorithm for finding the day of the week from a (Gregorian) date. This article is now expanded, explaining Gauss’ calendar formula for the day of the week. Next, I added a photo of mine to it, and soon I became more ambitious and in July 1999 I put my thesis on the WWW. A section on my computing environment was added in December 1999 after wiring together my LAN at home (this section used to be part of odds and ends, but it is no longer published here).

Since then, this website has been restructured at times and regular updates are uploaded to various parts, as I progress with the TeX sources. The original T-Online site was shut down in April 2006, after I had moved to Berlin and established my own domain in February 2006. An enlargement in October 2008 was the documentation of my sailing activities with lots of photos. After some tests in January 2010 on my Debian GNU/Linux server I decided to revamp my site with better navigation and style. In February I put my web pages under the regime of a Content Management System (CMS made simple from 2010-2015 and since October 2015 WordPress).