All Postings (93)

2017

Computer Science and IT

Taking stock! Physics

Subversive? Physics?

My Philosophy!

Scripts Beget Scripts

2016

Theoretical Physics. A Hobby.

Self-Referential Poetry

Silent Online Writing

'Are You Still Doing PKI?'

My Philosophy (?)

Impact of physics on my life

Not much happened in 2015

2015

Unspeakable

Self-Poetry

Farewell Posting ...

Hacking away...

Web Project - Status

We Interrupt ...

Poetry from Poetry

PKI-Status-Update

Life and Work

Definition: 'Subversive'

2014 in Books

Physics Postings

Engineering Postings

True Expert

2014

2014 - a Good Year

Physics or Engineering?

Engineering Links

What Is Art?

Bio

PKI FAQ

Google's Poetic Talents

Certificates and Heat Pumps

Nr. 5: A Mind-Altering Experience

Technet postings

WOP!

Pink Spaceship

radices = Roots!

IT Postings

Web Projects

Life, the Universe, and Everything

Uh-oh, No Posting in March

PKI Resources

PKI Issues

Subversive Work

Spam Poetry

A Career 'in Science'

Writing

On the Shoulders of Subversive Giants

Search Term Poetry

Facebook Art

2013 in Books

2013

Explain, Evaluate, Utilize

Technology

About Life-Form Elke Stangl

elkement and This Site

No. 3: Internet Apocalypso

Retrospection

Newsletter Resurrection

2012

For Free

Subversive Yearly Report

Is My Life a Cliché?

Indulging in Cliché

Torture Turning Trivia

Intermittent Netizen

Knowledge Worker...

Profile

Physics on the Fringe

Graduation Speech

The Element is Back!

Offline

Physics Links

2011

Not Funny

Calendar and Magic

Expert

In Need of a Deflector

About to Change

A Nerd's Awakening

For the Sake of Knowledge

2008

Profession Or True Calling?

No. 2: On Self-Reference

I Have No Clue About Art

Netizen

2007

The End

No. 1: On Subversion at Large

2005

Emergency Exit

Modern Networker

2004

The Scary Part

Exploring the Work Space

2003

Instead of a CV

Favorite Books

2002

Elke was here

Postings tagged with 'Announcements', listed in descending order by creation date. All Postings shown.

Since 2012 I have published PKI status updates here, trying to answer the question 'Do you still do PKI?' (or IT). I have re-edited them often, and my responses were erratic - I was in a Schrödinger-cat-like superposition state of different professional identities.

Now and then I still get these questions. Can I answer it finally? I am still in a superposition state - I don't expect the wave-function to break down any time soon. I enjoy this state! But my answer to IT-related requests is most often no.

So yes, I am still 'working with IT' and 'with IT security' professionally. Not necessarily 'in IT'.

I am supporting a few long-term clients with their Windows PKI deployments and related X.509 certificate issues (after having done that for more than 10 years exclusively). Those clients that aren't scared off by my other activities, and clients I had always worked with informally and cordially. But I don't have any strong ties with specific PKI software vendors anymore, and I don't know about latest bugs and issues. So I don't present myself as a Windows PKI consultant to prospects, and I decline especially requests by IT security partner companies who are looking for a consultant to pitch or staff their projects. I am also not interested in replying to Request for Proposals for PKI or identity management and 'offering a solution', competing with other consultants and especially with other companies that have full time stuff doing business development (I hardly did this in my PKI-only time). I am not developing software anymore that might turn into an 'enterprise solution'.

Today I am working 'with IT' more than 'in IT' in the sense that I returned where I came from, as an applied physicist who was initially drawn into IT, armed only with experience in programming software for controlling experimental setups and analyzing my data: I call myself the 'theoretical department' of our small engineering consultancy - I am developing software for handling Big Monitoring Data. I am also tinkering with measurement technology, like connecting a Raspberry Pi to a heat pump's internal CAN bus.

Security is important of course: I have fun with awkward certificates on embedded devices, I sniff and reverse engineer protocols, and I could say I am working with the things in the Internet of Things. But I am not doing large-scale device PKIs or advising the IT departments of major engineering companies: My clients are geeky home owners, and we (the two of us) are planning and implementing our special heat pump system for them. An important part of such projects is monitoring and control.

So every time I feel that somebody is searching for 'a PKI consultant' I am the wrong person. But if somebody stumbles upon my CV or hears my story at full length - and absolutely wants to hire me just because of the combination of this - I might say yes.

But it is no good rationalizing too much: Finally it is a matter of gut feeling; I am spoilt or damaged by our engineering business. Our heat pump clients typically find our blog first - which has been mistaken for a private fun blog by friends. Prospects are either 'deflected' by the blog (and we never hear from them), or they contact us because of the blog's weird style. Having the same sense of humor is the single best pre-requisite for a great collaboration. So whenever I get any other project request, not mediated by a weird website, I try to apply the same reasoning. Years ago I a colleague I had not met before greeted me in the formal kick-off meeting, in front of all others, with: You are the Subversive Element, aren't you? (Alluding to my Alter Ego on subversiv.at). That's about the spirit I am looking for.

We Interrupt Our Scheduled Programming ...

(elkement. Last changed: 2015-08-17. Created: 2015-08-11. Tags: Announcements, Web, Blogging, Websites, Programming, Webdesign. German Version.)

I am finally doing it:

Having run three differerent websites on a hopelessly outdated 'platform' (ASP) for nearly 15 years, I set out to:

  • Develop a new .NET site from scratch.
  • Merge all three sites - subversiv.at, radices.net, e-stangl.at - into one.

This will take a while. I am really longing for programming for fun. I don't migrate to WordPress deliberately - I have two wordpress.com blogs and like them a lot, but I want this place I design from scratch just for the joy of it.

All existing subversive / Elke's / back-to-the-roots stuff will be migrated to the new site, and I try to go as gentle as possible on the old asp URLs afterwards.

However, this means I will most likely not pull off to publish new content to the old versions of these sites while I am working on the new one in the background.

I will report on the progress on the main page of the old sites, and I will keep up my usual blogging over at elkement.wordpress.com.

elkement tackling daunting project

I had been a PKI consultant since 2002, mainly working with European enterprise customers on designing and implementing their PKIs run inhouse. Now I am supporting some long-term existing clients with their PKI / X.509 issues but I don't take on new clients.

As a former Microsoft employee I have focused mainly on the Microsoft PKI, versions Windows 2000 / 2003 / 2008 / R2 / 2012 R2 - but I also had some exposure to various other PKI-enabled applications and devices. The fun part of PKI projects is in debugging weird issues that exotic or allegedly 'industry-grade' applications have with validating certificate paths, using keys etc.

Here is the often requested one A4 page summary, and here you can see that those PKI services are part of an ... uhm... odd combination of IT services.

  • I try to keep track of links, books, papers etc. I found useful and add them to this list. This is not intended to be the perfectly structured, 'educational' collection. I rather pick and add what I stumbled upon while working on PKI issues or discussing with other security freaks.
  • I started logging PKI issues here. The idea is to described them most concisely, in TXT format.
  • Struck by vanity I made the collection of my modest own contributions a page in its own right. I am also trying to keep track of my postings to security forums in order to use those as my knowledge base.

I am originally a physicist (completed PhD in 1995), worked in R&D and switched to IT security. In 2013 I have completed another master's degree called Sustainable Energy Systems and did a master thesis on smart metering and security (LinkeIn profile). Now I am consulting engineer working with heat pumps that use a special heat source. Yes, I know - it is weirder to combine that with PKI.

The security of the smart grid and internet of things [add more buzz words here] provide options to re-use my security know-how in the context of my new field. Such heat pumps may use control units connected to 'the internet' and all kinds of certificate-/PKI-enabled stuff might be involved here.

For five years I have given a yearly lecture in a master's degree program, then called Advanced Security Engineering at FH Joanneum. Here is the last version of the slides.

This is an image I called PKIs in the real world in this post.

PKIs in the real world. By Elke Stangl

I had created radices.net as a German-only site in 2003, with the intention to dump my pseudo-philosophical musings on science, philosophy, and culture somewhere. radices should remind me of my roots - in physics. Since I am already maintaining too many websites and blogs, in German or in English or in both languages, it took more than 10 years since I finally started an English version of this site.

radices = Roots!

(elkement. Last changed: 2015-02-20. Created: 2014-06-01. Tags: PKI, Public Key Infrastructure, IT, IT Security, X.509, Announcements. German Version.)

About radices.net

radices is roots in Latin. And accidentally there is a pun, perhaps as hackneyed as roots of all evil. As a security consultant I built lots of Root CAs, the top anchor in the hierarchies that are called Public Key Infrastructures.

radices.net shall now be dedicated to what  online gurus and internet philosophers call curating today. Which means I just dump links to stuff I am interested in to add some basic structure of headers. radices was a German science pseudo-blog but it also was an experiment in organizing content - so I have come full circle.

About my PKI activities

I had been a PKI consultant since 2002, mainly working with European enterprise customers on designing and implementing their PKIs run inhouse. Now I am supporting some long-term existing clients with their PKI / X.509 issues but I don't take on new clients.

As a former Microsoft employee I have focused mainly on the Microsoft PKI, versions Windows 2000 / 2003 / 2008 / R2 / 2012 R2 - but I also had some exposure to various other PKI-enabled applications and devices. The fun part of PKI projects is in debugging weird issues that exotic or allegedly 'industry-grade' applications have with validating certificate paths, using keys etc.

Here is the often requested one A4 page summary, and here you can see that those PKI services are part of an ... uhm... odd combination of IT services.

  • I try to keep track of links, books, papers etc. I found useful and add them to this list. This is not intended to be the perfectly structured, 'educational' collection. I rather pick and add what I stumbled upon while working on PKI issues or discussing with other security freaks.
  • I started logging PKI issues here. The idea is to described them most concisely, in TXT format.
  • Struck by vanity I made the collection of my modest own contributions a page in its own right. I am also trying to keep track of my postings to security forums in order to use those as my knowledge base.

I am originally a physicist (completed PhD in 1995), worked in R&D and switched to IT security. In 2013 I have completed another master's degree called Sustainable Energy Systems and did a master thesis on smart metering and security (LinkeIn profile). Now I am consulting engineer working with heat pumps that use a special heat source. Yes, I know - it is weirder to combine that with PKI.

The security of the smart grid and internet of things [add more buzz words here] provide options to re-use my security know-how in the context of my new field. Such heat pumps may use control units connected to 'the internet' and all kinds of certificate-/PKI-enabled stuff might be involved here.

For five years I have given a yearly lecture in a master's degree program, then called Advanced Security Engineering at FH Joanneum. Here is the last version of the slides.

This article has originally been cross-posted to all of elkement's sites (e-stangl.at, radices.net, subversiv.at). These are questions worth some subversive thoughts. The Element is webmaster of a growing universe of weird sites since 1997. The first site was even a commercial one. Crafted with MS FrontPage 98, no less. The Element's Alter Ago, Elke Stangl, tries to answer all of them in the following meta analysis. (I am still looking for more levels of self-reference here -

Why Am I Online?

(elkement. Created: 2014-05-16. Tags: Writing, Blogging, Websites, Web, Netizen, Geek, Announcements, About)

Since 1997 I have been maintaining personal and business websites but I haven't joined the social media borg cube(s) before 2012. You can find a brief overview on all projects, that is a collection of icons plus some more or less funny comments here.

Here I try to keep track of why I am doing this, and I only comment on those pages or blogs who I consider a project of some sort.

My personal blog elkement.wordpress.com is where I finally try really hard to unite all the things again that have been scattered across different sites before, and across different parts of my life - probably of my very self. I am quite satisfied with the structure I have added in April 2014 - main 'category' pages that list individual posts.

This kind of structure is probably what I would have wanted to achieve by splitting my personal space into three distinct realms in 2002:

e-stangl.at: an ancient predecessor of the modern About page. It always got more serious than I wanted it to be - especially the German pages. But this is probably because I have outsourced the fun parts to the subversive site, and it might have triggered that idea that I absolutely have to run a bilingual site. I am still baffled by my on unwillingness to translate - I either write something in German or English, and only with utmost discipline I do translate it. I rather let it rest and write a different and only losely related version in the other language.

Before the Subversive El(k)ement had its own blog, it had its own site: subversiv.at. This was inspired from quotes from The Cluetrain Manifesto about subversive hyperlinks, and it alluded by weird split responsibilities as so-called corporate IT manager on the one hand, and as a supporter of subversive webmasters of  'non-compliant' sites on the other hand. Over the years I have added many layers of meaning to that.

I re-discovered the joys of playful nonsense, wordplay, self-referential comments disguising my ambiguous opinions. This can be seen as what later was to become Search Term Poetry and Spam Poetry. Today I re-use such poems from my blog and enrich them with German translations on the subversive site.

My science & technology site radices.net should focus more on content and less on my personal woes. I was not successful with respect to the latter. Started as a German-only page the effect of over-solemnity was probably worse. I think it did get better after I was done with soul-searching and heart-wrenching career changes - and writing about those with hindsight.

In autumn 2013 I decided this site should become home to the grey area between my interests and hobbies - e.g. as a amateur student of quantum field theory and dilettante science writer - and those parts of my professional life related to it. Translated to English I called it my Practice in Natural Philosophy tongue-in-cheek. But since I can't help but preferring to write about science an philosophy in English, the German site was / is more or less a link dump - using links from my English blog, and our German 'company blog' (see below).

I got hooked again on classical cryptography and IT security - and I finally want to start what I had had in mind but never did some years earlier: Finally 'curate' all my favorite resources, document interesting anecdotes, and in general give back something to a community that had helped my out so often - when I found the much-needed solution via the ultimate oracle, Google. So I at the beginning of 2014 I mainly updated the PKI pages.

But this was not for a German audience, but for an international one. My English blog postings on security are what I really wanted to write and these should be complemented by a Resources page. I finally did it - I turned made this website into a a bilingual, too. The English version hosts nothing but the PKI stuff, and thankfully radices means Roots and there is something like Root CAs. Totally coincidental as the original intention was to re-connect with my roots as a scientist.

My business page is where I / we pretend to be serious. However, our rather peculiar diverified portfolio as I like to call it, thwarts these attempts (hopefully).

I said we have a business blog (though it is not necessarily discernable as such). Here it is: punktwissen.wordpress.com. You can see our work there, sort of, and we use a story-telling approach (And I am trying now to use a sounding-like-business approach). These are the stories of us, the two settlers, who tell their stories about physics, renewable energy, and our related adventures.

The punktwissen blog is successor to the legendary z-village.net site, bringing news from the village at the end of the internet to the internet community. This page was maintained solely by Somebody Doing Anything Nobody Wants to Do - I was (am) just the programmer.

And there was a grand, 'corporate' version of the quaint little village, this was (is) EPSI - a prestigious middle European Think Thank dedicated to: Elementary research, painting blogs, collecting space and doing something.

Now you know.

All the other social media stuff is tangential, ephemeral and fleeting.

This has once been the so-called serious section of this site, holding the links to the articles full of soul-searching.

Meaning of life, true calling - you name it. See the non-translation of my graduation speech as a prime example.

Fortunately, the Lightness of Being a Geek has finally won. 

The Light Side and the Dark Side of the Force are also reflected by posting on my blog, in sections Life and The Web, respectively. You be the judge on lightness and darkness.

Towel Day in Innsbruck, Wikimedia, user Beny Shlevich

Subversive Work

(elkement. Created: 2014-02-28. Tags: Work, Announcements, Subversive. German Version.)

The Element has tried hard to subvert the Modern World of Work. As discussed on this site often - but not necessarily in a way comprehensible to anybody - results are debatable.

The Strategy of Subversion was too complex in the long run - hence The Element now wishes to apply a Keep it Simple approach. It wants to ride real waves: Anything longer than a tweet is not a read anyway.

Up-to-date and meticulously updated information on the current elementary undercover disguise can be found here.

The Elementary Work Portfolio is truly diversified.

On Twitter its tagline reads:

Physicist, engineer, geek, dilettante science blogger, IT security consultant, search term poet, Subversive El(k)ement.

The Element indulges in working (playing) with technology, in particular if there is something to be hacked. As odd as this may seem - it especially likes heat pumps and digital certificates.

On subversiv.at we are still dedicated to spot the weird and the bizarre in daily working routines, mantras, and rituals.

Steampunk workstation

Retrospection

(elkement. Created: 2013-02-09. Tags: Art, Self-Referential, Announcements, Nostalgia. German Version.)

The Element indulges in web nostalgia – remembering its Subversive Newsletters, sent to (a very small selection of) German readers from July 2004 to July 2005. These pivotal works have been resurrected today!

Probably this has been sort of paradoxically rehearsal to what would become the most commercial and non-subversive period in the Element's existence ever.

Subversive and weird writing has been resumed; currently the Element focusses on Search Term Poetry and Spam Poetry. Here is what another ridiculous and sublime blogger say about this new avant-garde genres of art.

But the Element is a master of Data Necro and it needs to bring the world's attention to this gems of pop culture tucked away at this obscure .at website. Thanks Google, for your latest changes in 'localization'. Ironically, both of the Element's bilingual pages – subversiv.at and e-stangl.at - are hosted at.at websites while its German-only website is radices.net. But we are determined to lure global visitors to our site nonetheless. Even though this is not a blog and you cannot comment. Hint: You might want to rant here instead.

Steel recycling bales
Trash or art?

Pretending I am serious, I would say the Subversive Newsletters already anticipated Search Term Poetry and Spam Poetry as they had been built from self-referential content and snippets deposited in the corporate worker's dustbin.

The Element had started in 2007 to analyze the first newsletters No.1 and No.2 in English – we do hope it will not take another 6 years until we return to commenting in a self-referential way on already self-referential stuff.

Subversive Yearly Report

(elkement. Created: 2012-12-23. Tags: Life, Everything, Subversive, Announcements. German Version.)

The Subversive Element is delighted to report on our progress in Elementary Subversion:

All web sites that are controlled by The Element have been resurrected and updated in an extremely professional fashion. We do go to great lengths in explaining the details via appropriate communication channels. Websites that defy resurrection - for comprehensible reasons though - have not been updated. They have been clicked, hailed and worshipped instead.

The Elkement as an artist is undergoing a transformation: The traceable output of its activities has been increased due to recycling (Crowdsourcing)

The history of The Element including all highs and lows is in depth covered by:

We are proud to announce new high-scores with respect to the index of self-referentiality (AKA navel-gazing)

We set new standards in combining: Subversive Entrepreneurship, down-to-earth provincial craftsmanship, MacGyver-like tinkering, and modern communication via social media: punktwissen.wordpress.com

The Element is Back!

(elkement. Last changed: 2012-11-16. Created: 2012-09-22. Tags: Subversive, Announcements. German Version.)

The Element is Back!

After having started its blog (despite all the rants on this website about why not running a blog), the element embarks on another ambitious web project: the resurrection of the subversive web site.

Not a single character will be left unturned.

This website is blog-like as per content and de facto motivation, but not as per technology and platform. There are: RSS feeds, comments, likes and the like. Thus the Element is stuck with this rigid structure that basically allows for one category and one sub-category per article. And the article should better updated in English and in German approximately at the same time.

In order to avoid the dread of translation, the Subversive Element will rather use the English version to comment on the German one or vice versa.

Raging Element

Who Is the Element?

(Updated: October 9, 2012)

My Alter Ego had started its blog in a subversive way denoted as Clandestine Blogging.

Due to whatever reason, the Element has now disclosed some facts about its so-called real life, so its original introduction is rescued and archived here. Actually, this intro captures what always has been the driving force behind this subversive web site:

"This blog is written the (The Subversive) El(k)ement, a physicist who has explored different professional biotopes: from academia to global corporations, from so-called prestigious ventures to so-called menial tasks.

Elkement is a pseudonym but if you really want to know you will not have insurmountable problems to discover who the Elkement really is. I cannot resist the temptation anyway to leave all kinds of links and biographical information scattered all over this blog anyway.

Re-Kindling(*) Subversion

Updated: November 2, 2012

(*) Misguiding Amazon's fans

This website is currently participating in our website resurrection program.

Extremely successfully, based on the metrics we have defined.

You might want to scroll down to dusty content just resurrected.

Now we can offer our dear readers the Subversive Feed. We do hope that this home-grown feed will not remain in beta stage forever. (Let me point you to: Best of Log)

Offline

(elkement. Created: 2012-04-29. Tags: Web, Blogging, Writing, Decisions, Life, Announcements. German Version.)

The Element is offline - or at least it wants you to believe it is. In a distant corner of the web(*) it is more active than ever.

The red pages will be back online - probably changed a bit - in due time.

The pages are still there - you just need to know the URLs.

(*)elkement.wordpress.com

The chance in a life time to quote from the grand Offline Page I've never used:

This website is temporarily offline...

...being updated with new revolutionary content

... or just to fix some stupid error

Stay tuned.

(This has been thought between mid of 2005 and mid of 2007)

All good things must come to an end.

(elkement. Last changed: 2015-11-29. Created: 2007-07-09. Tags: Newsletter, Web, Announcements, Blogging, Netizen. German Version.)

So does the famous and legendary Subversive Newsletter. There were times when the Element used to spam a group of people with self-referential e-mail content. People were forced to subscribe because at that time mass e-mails have not been illegal yet.

Since the Element is subversive but also anxious and paranoid to the extreme at the same time, it has stopped its activities. Maybe it will continue in a more subversive way, such as by writing newsletter but not sending them.

Subversive newsletters have been dedicated to a selected group of recipients and have been written in German. There is no point translating them [*]. Yet the Element takes to chance to move to the spectator's meta level and comment the newsletters in English. Comments are carefully crafted in order not to reveal the true content.

The Element likes to rage and rant about a anything or anybody getting into its way. This also holds true for it pervious self, so the Element's comments are self-destructive.

[*] But of course the elkement tried:

Personal website of Elke Stangl, Zagersdorf, Austria, c/o punktwissen.
elkement [at] subversiv [dot] at. Contact