The people who use our boards.

Christof Dittmar

Structural Engineer, Developer

Who are you, and what do you do? What do you like to do outside of work?

I work out of my home office as a programmer for structural design software for a German-Spanish wind turbine OEM. We design support structures for offshore wind turbines. The offshore wind industry is very interesting on the engineering side, but even more so on the software side. Although I am a structural engineer, my passion was always programming, which has been my full-time profession for a couple years now. I still have to keep all engineering knowledge, as I develop structural tools, but I enjoy not being involved in “hands-on” engineering, like going to sites. That never was really my “thing.”

In my free time, I like coding, photography, and gaming; and for the non-technical things I cycle and hike whenever time and weather permits—and sometimes when they do not :-).

Christof Dittmar's ground squirrel photography
Being outdoors with a good camera results in some charming wildlife shots, such as Christof's photo of this ground squirrel

What hardware do you use?

For the most part, my hardware is pretty standard. A Xeon desktop (Dell Precision) and a MacBook Pro from 2010 (never change a running system). I use Linux on my desktop (Fedora is my favorite). I have a standup desk that moved with me to Oregon over Colorado from Germany (it is a long story). The main monitor has to be Eizo. I use the FlexScan EV2785.

Christof Dittmar's setup
Even this tidy indoor setup suggests an interest in nature

For photography, I like full frame. I decided on Canon: a 6D and 5D Mark III body, which I use mainly with prime lenses.

Christof Dittmar's insect photography
The grasshopper is ready for its close-up

And what software?

I use VS-Code, NetBeans, Atom, and PyCharm Professional (at work). My code is managed by Git. GIMP is my choice for image manipulation. My hobby coding projects are in Java, Go, and the usual suspects: JavaScript, HTML, and Python. Inkscape is nice to create content for websites.

Oh yeah, shells are important tools. Well, Windows Terminal on Windows (for work) and otherwise the standard Gnome Terminal and Tilix. I don’t need something fancy.

Lutris and Steam provide me with all games I love to play.

What’s your keyboard setup like? Do you use a custom layout or custom keycaps?

I have one ErgoDox EZ (my home is my office). I bought the black version with backlight keycaps. Originally I bought it with Kailh Silver switches, which are great, but a bit too loud for my taste. After a couple months, I swapped them with Cherry MX Silent Red for smoother and quieter typing.

Christof Dittmar's keyboard
What you can't see is how quiet it is

In terms of setup, it works best for me to have both sides higher on the inside and lower on the outside and closer together than recommended. Both halves are rotated to allow my fingers to be (almost) parallel to the key columns.

Christof Dittmar's keyboard, right side
Keyboard tilted to just the way it works for Christof

My layout is simple so it is easy to remember, not overwhelming, and close to the normal keyboard layout that I still have to use on my laptop. I just modified the original ErgoDox layout a little.

It’s surprisingly easy to switch from the ErgoDox to a standard keyboard. Sure, I hit the “b” sometimes on the laptop if I actually want to type a ”-“. But that is just a short disruption that goes away after a minute or so. This is my current layout:

What would be your dream setup?

I am close to my dream setup. Although I am missing the possibility to tilt the palm rest. This would allow me for an even steeper tilt of the keyboard halves. Well, I guess another cool feature would be if some key columns could be moved vertically; just a few millimeters would do the trick. Moving the two outer columns a little down would greatly improve the reach for my little finger.

Christof Dittmar's glacier photography
The dream keyboard does sound cool. Maybe not as cool as glaciers, but cool.

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