All Postings (92)

2017

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 'Meaning', listed in descending order by creation date. All Postings shown.

My Philosophy (?)

(elkement. Last changed: 2016-05-02. Created: 2016-05-01. Tags: Learning, Life, Looking Back, Meaning, Philosophy, Profession, Technology, Work. German Version.)

Once upon a time this category was intended to comprise what I had learned about philosophy. I had even aspired to study philosophy. Then came the dawn of the web and of unconventional philosophers of web culture.
I had also followed common wisdom, and my first FrontPage-generated business website had a section called Philosophy.

What's left of that, or what has been my conclusion?

I believe - in a pang of cheeky self-assurance - that I ought to have my own philosophy. Experience, business and otherwise, should be good for something. My philosophy does not focus on the grand questions of life. I might have had an argument with my former self, the idealistic student of science who aspired to change the world as a physicist, a profession I pictured as a cross-over of hands-on MacGyver theorist-philosopher-mathematician, ad-hoc-inventing smart tools whole mulling upon deep insights on universe and everything.

The unexciting truth is that my personal philosophy is explained best by summing up the different roles I have ever seen myself to take on, no matter what my job title was. None of them was about making profound changes to the world or being any sort of thought leader.

1) The Reverse Engineer

I have been told that I dismantled (tech) stuff already at a time I have no conscious memory of. I wanted to know how things worked, and I found a way to get there. Some of these activities morphed into a career later, the obvious one having been IT Security - the stereotype field for lone maverick nerdswho reverse engineer stuff. Even as a white hat hacker and so-called security consultant you have to indulge in the relentless black hacker's mindset - or you become a security bureaucrat, ticking off checklists and following rules. (Which dies not mean you should not know the rules).
But I could as well have turned into a tax advisor or lawyer, given my pleasure in finding out how such systems work.

I disagree with Keep To Your Core Skills, and I have often used 'wasted my precious time' by 'not delegating'. I hope or believe - delusionally - that 'actually' everybody has this pleasure of finding things out ((c) Richard Feynman). I am wary of marketing (tech) stuff to allegedly dumb or stressed out end-users who don't want to understand anything about underlying technology. Perhaps I am talking to less than 10% of people, but after all this is about my personal credo.

2) The Mediator

One of my first ever fantasies as a child that came close to something like a career was being kind of a negotiator or diplomat. I am not kidding: I dreamt about settling peace treaties between Mickey Mouse and his sinister opponents in his cartoon world.
This has impacted any of my jobs, but it finally surfaced expicitly when a client booked me 'for another mediation', which was in fact the follow-up of a very technical meeting.

I had considered yet another training or degree, in coaching, psychology, or the like. However, I am glad that I never left technology for good (see 1). There is a paradox: People want such 'tech project psychology' services. However, they will not buy it if labelled as such yet happily use them if they come as a hidden by-product of technical consulting.

3) The Communicator

Maybe principles 1) and 2) can only co-exist if you bridge them with a lot of talking. During most of my career 'teaching', 'training', or 'lecturing' had been part of my official duties or a side-project done in moon-lighting fachion. I stopped teaching when I became a moonlightung student again. I have also realized that I am not cut out for over well managed, structured, quality-assured educational systems. I suck at keeping to my own agenda, and I beg for being carried away by hard off-script questions.
I was not the best class-room teacher, but I think I was good at informal, jam-session-style train-the-experts sessions.

Projects I remember most fondly were those where clients were not only interested in The Tech Guy Who Will Fix Everything but also in my pontifiating on fundamentals, even if that was not required to get the job done. But as I said above (1) - I believe it's always worth it.

4) The Organizer and Automator

When I was a child, I was not called upon to tidy up my room: Not only was I self-motivation to clean it - Mr.Monk-style - but I rather re-organized my cabinets quite frequently. It was Feng Shui of Decluttering meeting obsession with structure, and it has not changed to this day.

I have extended these principles to the virtual world as soon as I had 'data'. Writing a tool, script, program to automate something is second nature. Some sort of software development has always been part of my jobs - just as teaching was, but I found out only recently that I like data analysis and programming much more.

Proficiency with interpreting and manipulating data, and with using or fixing software is part of our culture and should be trained and valued just as other basic technologies and skills. And of course I believe that we, each of us, really needs them! But perhaps it is just my bad luck or my high standards... Every time I just to use and application or service as a normal end-user I end up with low-level troubleshooting.

 

I am aware of the picture of the obsessed nerd that I have painted here. I don't underestimate subtleties and human nature though. But nowadays soft skills are so often praised to the skies and people with 'big ideas', rather than nitpicking detailed persons, so as Subversive Element the contrarian stance comes natural to me. Even the most empathic coach who tells burnt out IT guys not ot overdo perferctiomism will be very happy if a neuro-surgeon or airplane engineer are totally obsessed with flawless technology.

E on Track (Edition 2014 - a Good Year)

(elkement. Last changed: 2015-04-01. Created: 2014-12-24. Tags: Life, Meaning, Looking Back, Contentment. German Version.)

(December 24, 2014. Updated: April 1st, 2015, not funny though.)

The outlook was vague and dubious.

Elke Stangl 2014

You can take pride in the way you've already mastered.

Elke Stangl 2014

Fortune favors the prepared mind.

Elke Stangl 2014

Be creative with what is available.

Elke Stangl 2014

Don't underestimate the power of the right companion.

Elke Stangl 2014

Sorry, wrong image! I try again!

The Two of Us 2014

I am alone in the fog, but the victory is mine.

Elke Stangl 2014

I'll pontificate about anything nonetheless.

Elke Stangl 2014

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

Is There Anything That Can be Said about This Site?

(elkement. Last changed: 2014-05-19. Created: 2013-05-28. Tags: About, Self-Referential, Meaning. German Version.)

The Red World. The Final Frontier.

These are the pages of the Subversive Element.

They represent an instance of the web multi-verse of an allegedly human being calls herself - or has been programmed to say that it calls herself - Elke Stangl.

The El(k)ement disguises as a scientist and serious thinker, as a renaissance elkement.

In order to reach its target audiences it plays the role of a MacGyver-like inventor and a stereotype geek.

The Element is a serial innovator in making fun of anything, including itself, and in producing glitches in the matrix of our (alleged) 4D space-time.

Profilers and the NSA are invited to analyze its cyber stream of consciousness: Theory and Practice of Trying to Combine Just Anything.

The Elkement aims at subverting the Corporate World as we know it and tries to establish itself as a first mover and cult leader in many experimental genres of art, such as Spam Poetry and Search Term Poetry.

The Elkement is going to demonstrate its leadership in the commercialization of Anything Crazy, Ephemeral and Fleeting: Offering its innovative servies Elkement for Rent - Subversion for Hire it is proud to be part of the global punktwissen group.

Beware the Element!

What is the purpose of this site? (Re: subversiv.at)

(elkement. Last changed: 2012-12-02. Created: 2005-06-10. Tags: Life, Everything, Meaning, Self-Referential. German Version.)

Emergency Exit

(Updated: December 2, 2012)

Based on my scientific, extremely thorough logfile analysis this is the main exit page of subversiv.at

So I hope you enjoyed flying with us! The element has finally managed to really put you off!

We had high hopes, now shattered to pieces. This should be *the page* on Life, the Universe and Everything.

But no matter how you do not care - we will keep adding more self-referential navel-gazings to this category. And we will keep commenting on the comments on the comments on these navel-gazings, that once might have been the most serious pieces I had ever written.

You should take into account that irony is like an adamantine shell.

Subversive Energy

The following image has been taken after watching The Hitchhiker's Guide to Galaxy (the movie, not the legendary British TV show).

Subversive elements
need a lot of energy
to contribute
to ultimate subversion
properly
!

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