More than a decade ago this site started as a place of playful experimenting with links - with content and structure. I hand-crafted and later semi-automated some features that anticipated their modern counterparts, like tweet-like status messages.
I have experimented with the true social media since 2012 - a party to which I was rather late, given my previously early adoption of 'online writing'. One of the things I learned again and again is that the tool you use and its convenience do not really matter, at least not to me. I don't mind cumbersome hand-crafting. It can even be a good filter to help with resisting the urge to tweet shallow, not time-less stuff.
I am going to revive that tradition for a while!
2019-06-10: Last week I finally published my write on an unintended way to hack the box Sizzle von hackthebox - by hacking the PKI and issuing myself a hardware token for the Administrator! I am overwhelmed by positive responses - the security community is awesome! I might publish something a bit similar in 'weirdness' for another Windows box.
2019-05-25: Reached a milestone in my clandestine web re-development and content review project this week: Reviewed all blog postings, finally found the right way to keep co-existing web databases and ad-hoc Excel databases during a migration phase, ready to consolidate images. My plan is to merge all sites gradually, without any deadline. Raking my virtual Zen garden!
2019-05-14: Just completed my writeup of the unattended way to own my favorite box on hackthebox.eu! Now I cannot wait until it is going to expire :-) First time I used a piece of hardware to own a machine - perhaps an image in the article will look as if this was influencer marketing for ... SafeNet ;-)
2019-05-12: I have a blog and a personal website that become more and more similar - again. I think I know what I have to do ... again!
2019-05-11: I am really excited about an unintended way I found to root a Windows box on hackthebox.eu. I was finally able to combine what I learned in the last year as a dabbling hobbyist pentester with my knowledge about some of obscurer corners of Windows systems, especially that little security-related server role I dedicated nearly two decades to :-)
2019-04-21: This website / these websites will undergo a transition - I will go full dinosaur. I am questioning everything I took for granted, about 'how websites should look like'.
2019-03-31: Every time I re-read Landau / Lifshitz' Course of Theoretical Physics I discover new details. I am enjoying every word of their concise and elegant explanations - and their ultra compact and typical physicist-style usage of algebra and analysis.
2019-03-23: This website will not change much for a while - but elkement works on stuff in the background. I am going to move all this here over to a static website generator. One I code myself from scratch, for the fun of it.
2019-03-16: The best website on the internet has a grey background and blue hyperlinks - the ultimate command line tool reference ss64.com. See an example page (forfiles).
2019-03-13: Every time I read the wizard book, I discover something new! http://sarabander.github.io/sicp/html/index.xhtml I feel like I should have read it much earlier in life, but in the other hand, I would not have had so many light bulb moments - related to what I did 'wrong', or in an inelegant and non-optimized way.
2019-03-13: The moment I hand-craft my pseudo-tweets, 1999-style, something feels finally right again!
Long ago, these pseudo-tweets started with:
2002-12-16: The domain e-stangl.at was delegated in the glorious era of
THE GREAT dotcom HYPE, thus contains e-: .
The non-hyperlink part - the part
above the underscore - reflects the golden light of the evening sun or is
being shaken by an amber sandstorm.
Time to poetry-size articles on this website again! As usual, I google for this site - using site:elkement.subversiv.at/en - and take one continuous, unedited snippet from each of the linked pages. Search results must be processed in the order Google shows them, and they must not be re-arranged later.
the Existence of the Matrix AKA Corporate World
I had literally been asked
Who will take care of my dear website in 200 years?
run off to the restrooms at a party
As all stressed managers and other pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago
Algorithms loom large
look more like a placeholder
I am trying to learn the terminology
Off-the-wall geek humor versus existential philosophical questions
But I was penalized for all this.
Don't think about it too long!
While I gravitated against quantum theory
what I had had in mind but never did
not igniting my entrepreneurial spirits yet
back-to-the-roots stuff will be migrated
I want to challenge my own ideas
in a pang of cheeky self-assurance
a grown-up physicist's biggest ethical dilemma
what I never wanted to know
one more telltale sign of the Siren Server (© Jaron Lanier) resisting subversion by poetry
Global corporations have their brand names tested for potentially unwanted connotations
Especially if they are appealing to your vanity
The proof by contradiction
Our village has changed its zip code
to enter a more detached state of mind
You can turn into your own cliché
I'll pontificate about anything nonetheless.
So after all - it was all worth it.
Each phrase becomes a line in this 'poem'
it is no good rationalizing too much
a small-talk question, innocent and harmless.
Physics or Engineering?
I suck at keeping to my own agenda
Do we need a new attempt?
books trigger some random thougths of mine
you don't know how the story will unfold
(This has been written when our blogs have still been separate websites hosted elsewhere.)
I start a radical experiment: Opening my blog's editor, and typing what I think right now - however, planning to never publish it to WordPress.
Contrary to what seems to motivate many freshly minted bloggers, and netizens inhabiting social web worlds in general, feedback and interaction had not been my primary goal. The appeal of writing 'in public' is that on principle somebody could read what you wrote, that the internet never forgets, and that you have to hold yourself accountable to what you wrote. Have to endure reading what you wrote when you were a different being.
The joy of my early web projects was also their subversive, semi-secret, and pseudonymous nature. Online spaces were wild places, blank sheets of paper, laid before me to hone my ideas.
There is another motivation for writing online, and this is as unrelated as possible from the philosophical approach: I enjoy crafting technical arguments, documentation of technical projects, 'science writing' because I want to force myself to turn my thinking into a consistent linear thread. I want to challenge my own ideas, find the loop holes in my own arguments. I know that my blog articles may be either boring or opaque or both unless the reader has explicitly searched for content like that. But actually the latter audience is who I am perhaps writing for: I have found so much useful tech / science stuff online, for free and in sublime quality, for my professional work, my own education, my pleasure of reading - and I do not want to remain on the receiving end of this communication only.
My second motivation is tied to a minimum level of 'feedback' - page views by fellow geeks - only seems to work for my articles written on our German blog: We only blog about two times a month now, but despite the smaller theoretical audience of German speaking readers the other blog has much more views, and views are still increasing. My English blog has fallen in oblivion again after I blog only twice a month and/or after I focussed more and more on energy, heat pumps, and down-to-earth engineering and physics of everyday life.
These are my personal recent top articles in the Physics / History of Science category so far:
- Peter von Rittinger’s Steam Pump (AKA: The First Heat Pump)
- Rowboats, Laser Pulses, and Heat Energy (Boring Title: Dimensional Analysis).
- Hacking My Heat Pump – Part 2: Logging Energy Values
- How Does It Work? (The Heat Pump System, That Is)
When I blogged about quantum theory, basic and un-original as my articles might have been, my blog was 'viral' in comparison to that.
But ironically, a silent blog brings me closer to my other goal: Using the silent online space to write just for me, holding myself as accountable as possible though. Last year I had overhauled this / these website(s) here, and it turned more into a blog. Now I finally know what the purpose of having effectively two blog(-like) sites are:
Here, I give myself permission for introspection and self-centered updates. I don't share subversiv.at links anywhere on social media. If somebody wants to reads this, he or she really has to be determined and go to the 20th page of Google search results. There is no interaction. Of course this is also a consequence of my minimal web programming, but feedback can be blessing and curse. You (or maybe only: I) tend to write more about what 'people have liked before', or at least you feel a little bit guilty if you expose your loyal readers to something unusual - which turns each new post into a challenge, one you'd like to dodge sometimes. My writing self is quite 'authentic' here, in modern parlance.
But I don't want to appear fake on my real blog, the one that has much more content that this page, much more carefully crafted, and I don't want my blog to die. My solution has been - since a few months, I am only post-rationalizing now - to stay away from the autobiographical, from opinions, from philosophical, from big ideas ... and to focus on hard things. The stuff I do really know. I think The Internet would be a better place, if people would only post or comment if they 1) had through education on the subject, 2) practical experience with it, and 3) skin in the game - being personally exposed to risks and consequences arising from putting their opinions into practice. (In reverse order.)
So on my blog I just try to be useful (hopefully) to some tech and science enthusiasts, and perhaps a bit entertaining. If I will ever find a more useful 'spin' to what I have written here now, I might actually turn it into a blog article, like: What I learned from having two different websites. Why I stay away from opinion on the web. What I learned from tech / science blogging.
But for now this posting here will just remain some open-ended collection, snippets of my stream of consciousness, and I am copying these lines to a new 'post' at this silent website here and deleting the draft for a blog post.
Global corporations have their brand names tested for potentially unwanted connotations in different cultures and languages. Now I understand why.
One minimum requirement is perhaps: Being able to get it across on the phone.
...That's my surname, in German it's pronounced like [Add phonetic cryptic signs here]. But never mind, I will spell it out...
That's Latin and means Roots. It is a bit similar to radicles. Well, I realize now it differs just by a single letter... that may be unfortunate, sorry!
All our domains have their issues, also in German. This is the only one that causes no troubles in German. But in English you need to stress:
It's the German translation of Subversive, just remove E at the end!
Wow - that works well in English! You just have to mention the dash!
It's just a non-sensical acronym, I'll spell it out... Yes, name really is a top-level domain!
Now we enter the realm of business - and we have obviously tested the domain with utmost diligence:
That's an artificial German word, Punkt actually meaning Point or Dot. Hadn't I mentioned that it might have been less confusing in English than it is in German. But I'll spell it out for you...
To make it more confusing in English, we could create better sub-domains and e-mail addresses - to convey the spirit of the German confusion:
I wonder if the US Department of Transportation has similar issues.
Same rules as for search term poetry or spam poetry:
- Search your own site or profile on Google, using: site:elkement.subversiv.at/en/.
- Open each page in the order Google dictates.
- Pick one phrase from this (your own) post or article. Don't think about it too long! Editing is not permitted.
- Each phrase becomes a line in this 'poem'. Re-ordering or re-considering previous lines is not allowed.
reconnected with my roots
just reassembling weird snippets
since the turn of the millenium I have been experimenting
Alas, I stick with
Which also contains the expected meta-musings
a world taken right out of a gothic movie
We are now going to challenge this, and we will ask Google
I'll pontificate about anything nonetheless
This is done deliberately
I can hardly see a problem at all
pathetic attempts of mine
It turned to a second 'branch' of
a Perpetuum Mobile
Off-the-wall geek humor versus existential philosophical questions
You be the judge on lightness and darkness.
We are flabbergasted
Instead of a 'Bio'
The subscriber may not be happy with that
I rather pick and add what I stumbled upon
created from cookies
as sort of a mental exercise
allusions to the mystical without knowing about
in the glorious era of THE GREAT dotcom HYPE
my post adolescent postmodern gloomy stanzas
boiling down knowledge to the essential information
somewhen in 2003
a combination of my eternal laziness and lack of motivation
I got involved in some serious discussions
No human being on this planet registered the historical event.
my inner clock
spontaneous outburst of my creativity
the structure is always work in progress
in contrast to standard mantras of modern 'information and knowledge worker society'
We are using the Babylonian system of numbers
in sunny Pannonian Plain
Or could we be subversive all the time?
... and first post published to the new site, live and public now :-)
For a short time, the old sites are still available in parallel to the new site.
Looking back, I mainly struggled with:
- My flat-file database - accessing content and all meta information stored in text files, using standards SQL queries.
- Redirect strategy: Existing loads of redirects, temporary ones, permanent 301 ones, nice URLs without physical files...
- Migration of the actual content, uniting what was separated in different sources - asp files, RSS feed, CSV file databases
See also my latest blog post. Which also contains the expected meta-musings on The Web.
Lest we not forget - these were the old sites:
In the past weeks since the last update I've added the following features:
- XML sitemap including English and German posts - URLs and last changed date.
- Make yearly archive URLs 'hackable', thus using just /[lang]/[yyyy] as archive URL.
- Population of meta tags, using also open graph tags.
- Adding 'breadcrumb' / 'where am I' information by highlighting the item just clicked in the menu and side bars: Current category, current post, current tag.
- Assign an optional image to a post via related attributes: Image source, image size or full image tage (for embedding Wikimedia images plus copyright information). If an image should be displayed, but no source is given, add a standard image.
- Display the image automatically on the bottom of the post and use it in the open graph image tag, to be used as a preview image. Calculate height and size from the image's physical size and intended width.
- Create thumbnails of these images, to be shown in the list of posts in the category pages.
- Store all global configuration settings such as tagline in a config file that uses the same [name:] [value] parsing logic as content files.
- Migrate all existing posts on the sites e-stangl.at, radices.net, and subversiv.at, and keep track of where the content came from. (One former .asp page contained one or more 'posts').
- Use one default.aspx for all applications, differences depend on the app name. Example: Don't show post archive for the business page, but show latest posts from Wordpress blog feed instead.
- Clean old content: Replace relative references (../) by absolute ones, replace CSS classes in tags. Move meta infos from content to new file attributes.
Web Server Settings and DNS
- Tested the IIS URL rewrite module with a key map, to be created from Excel documentation. In case of issues with rewriting: Fall back to redirecting in a main ASP file.
- Configure new host names and subdomains in DNS as primary URLs of the new applications. Add new host names for testing to reflect the already existing redirects plus the migration redirects plus the future standard redirects.
- Modify the existing main default.asp, global.asa, and main asp script creating all pages to work with the new redirects (some duplicate code in asp and .net could not be avoided)
- Host name determines application name: One main host name for each (of the 3-4) application. I will use a subdomain of subversiv.at as my new primary host.
- Check if the application has been migrated, as per config parameters. If not the existing redirect logic and existing asp code kicks in - which sends the user to a subfolder depending on host name. This is for historical reasons as I had only one virtual web host in the old times, so e.g. e-stangl.at/ redirected to e-stangl.at/e/
- If the app was migrated, redirect all attempts to use a 'secondary' host to the new one. So e.g. accessing e-stangl.at will be recognized as calling the elkement app and redirect to my new primary name.
- Configuring the application as 'migrated' does not yet redirect any attempt to access one of the old articles. I will have to turn on my rewrite map or code for that.
- Complete all features for all applications before taking 'elkement'
- Feed parser for punktwissen,
- 'image database' for z-village (using small posts with images effectively as entries in a table of images), add an option to show the large version of the image inline.
- Maybe: Ordering of posts in category by changed date, not by created date.
- Limit number of posts on main page and on tag's pages, number = global parameter.
- Replace internal relative URLs to pages in the same virtual directory by absolute ones.
- Maybe: Replace parent path (../) URLs in old code, to turn Parent Path in the ASP config off as soon as possible.
- Migrate all content from side panes, header, and footer. Add images used before to new posts, re-use descriptions from old image database (TXT).
- Take elkement live and test redirects and preview images (social networks).
- If OK: Take the other apps live.
- Fix bugs
- Turn on redirects for old ASP pages.
- Watch results in web master tools.
- Inform Google about new URLs (Web Master Tools)
I've built the underlying 'flat-file database' (Details in this post), and my not yet public site has these features now:
- Menu bar from pages.
- Show all postings on home page
- Recent posts and archive in left bar.
- Tag cloud in right bar, tags created by grouping all posts' meta data.
- 'Tag page': Show all posts tagged with a specific tag.
- Indicate category of current posting by highlighting category in the menu.
- Highlight currently clicked article in archive.
- Menu page contains custom text plus automatically created list of all postings in this category.
- Automatic creation of RSS feed.
- CSS stylesheet and responsive design.
- 'Nice' URLs - ASP.NET Routing.
Currently I am painstakingly migrating snippets of content to new counterparts / articles / text files.
For testing I am using a layout similar to my Wordpress.com's blog design now:
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.blog. (Voice from the future - 2019: Also this site / domain is going to be merged with the others...)
As the saying goes, an expert is somebody who has committed every blunder in his or her discipline. It should be 'her' discipline as I have finally made it. I can prove via two similar but independent (and surreal) events.
1) The Subversive Element's website had been hacked. Well, not quite, as it was the same web server but the URL pointing to The Element's so-called business identity.
Paranoia and panic was mitigated by the curiosity of the nerd. The Element spent countless hours dabbling with Google Webmaster Tools. That is: Not only clearing Google's cache from spammy URLs, but also with scrutinizing all data available, for all websites including also the elkementary blog. And there we looked into an abyss:
2) Google's love for the elkement's blog was dwindling - by a factor of 100 within a few weeks.
But what an opportunity: Conspiracy theories running wild. In two blog postings, presented to THE INTERNET at a global level:
Of course I want you to click these links. The anatomy of a hack part is perhaps interesting. After all, I can still consider it correct, given most recent findings.
This does not apply to the elemental theories on Google. Here is the final explanation, in an incredibly brief posting, by elkement's standards:
- [2015-01-23] All My Theories Have Been Wrong. Fortunately!
tl;dr: All WordPress.com blogs had been gradually migrated to https only in the past months. In Google Webmaster Tools you need to add the https URL as an additional site. My traffic was tucked away in statistics for the https URL.
Nearly 10 years have passed, so The Subversive Element can speak about it in public.
I do admit:
- I spent vacations on distant islands. Just like any other tourist.
- Vacations were for escaping the so-called real world.
- I used to make fun of literature about quantum consciousness and the like.
But I was penalized for all this.
At first days in the year of 2005 The Element and Somebody embarked on a journey they would never forget. Equipped with lots of popular science magazines on quantum physics and a few ones on so-called alternative physics the travelled to a quite calm, distant, very green, and very wet and foggy island.
[Skipping the boring part about nature and your typical vacation reports.]
There were some eerie forebodings of evil to come:
They were invited by a lonely inhabitant of natural caves at a stormy coast - uttering unintelligible sounds. They declined politely.
The Element was struck by a mysterious illness for one day, right after the island drowned it water as it rained heavily for two days.
Luckily the island did not break in two parts and cause a tsunami as had been proposed by serious scientists.
But the native spirits of that island found the most mischievous way to punish the busy corporate workers. They nearly managed in keeping Element and Somebody prisoners on that green former volcano.
When you see this in movies, you would say this is so improbably it is not even funny:
- At the island's airport the voice from the speakers says that the plane suffered from a technical defect - more information to come.
- The plane would not be able to depart today but there are 34 seats left in another plane - two seats left than stranded passengers. Any volunteers?
- Relief - we were not those two poor souls decided by drawing lots and happily boarded the plane.
- Finally the plane landed and Element and Somebody went to their car.
Element: I'll pay for the parking ticket.
Somebody: Let's check if it starts first
Element: Ha ha, yes - very funny!!
Somebody: [Turns the ignition key]
[... Silence ...]
- So the short story was that the small courtesy light had been on for two weeks and the battery was absolutely empty.
- Element found the manufacturer's emergency phone number at a sticker in the car. Fortunately it was a company as they discard that type of insurance-like services usually.
- A helpful human being was answering the phone - he will be here in about half and hour.
- It is getting cold - it is close to midnight.
- The helper arrives, and worries that the battery might be too exhausted.
- OK, it can be recharged and we warned to absolutely never stop for the next 150 kilometers.
- We drive - to the south. Target: The settlers' home in the Pannonian Plain, via Vienna.
- And then it starts to snow. Like it hasn't before in that season.
- We drive slower and slower.
- We realize we will never make it to z-village so that Element will be able to drive to Vienna again, somewhat recharged.
It should be noted that timing was probably a bit too optimistic. The ideas was to arrive at the airport before midnight, drive home through empty streets without issues, and sleep for a few hours - until The Element had to deliver one of its legendary security workshops. But based on perhaps a vague premonition of what was to come The Element had taken a USB stick with course material along during vacation, it had outsourced the preparation of virtual machines to a service provider, and it had its company badge, a toothbrush and some other things for grooming.
- So The Element accepted its destiny and said to Somebody: We will never make it, drop me off in Vienna.+
- Fortunately, at that time the Element's employer offered its overworked staff a so-called recreation room.
- So The Element sleeps peacefully for about two hours on the couch in the recreation room before it is waked up by the lights and sounds of the snowplow outside and by the cleaning stuff.
- The workshop went well.
Sleep is overrated.
This article has originally been cross-posted to all of elkement's sites (e-stangl.at, radices.net, subversiv.at) - at a time when these were still separate sites. They have been united in 2015, but I keep the original links - even though all the 'home page URLs' point to the same 'page'. By the end of 2019 this is going to be even more united / more confusing!
The title of this artilce is a question 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 - suggestions welcome!)
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.blog 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.blog. 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.
(I am not a writer. I feel I had to decide often between being a fence-sitting commentator or somebody who is in charge of and fully accountable for technical problem solving - and I always picked the latter.)
The internet is full of moonlighting writers who work in a day job to pay the bills but call them writers nonetheless.
I am not a writer despite I have a bunch of blogs and websites. I can relate to their ambitions somewhat as I had mulled upon working as a science writer or journalist at times. I even sent a job application to Austrian Broadcasting a long time ago.
Finally these ambitions did not get me anywhere. I feel I had to decide often between being a fence-sitting commentator or somebody who is in charge of and fully accountable for technical problem solving - and I always picked the latter.
Disclaimer: This is not to say that being an analyzing commenter or writer is something lesser. Sure, you can work as a problem solver and be paid for writing about some aspects of that, too. But I consider them nearly mutually exclusive options as long as my own career is concerned - in a postive way actually!
I just like writing on what comes to my mind in my spare time too much. I like it too much in a sense, and I don't want to entangle it with commercial transactions. Thus I don't do or plan to do: Blog posts that are sponsored in any way, visual ads, or affiliate marketing. The latter would be rather straight-forward as I write about books a lot. However, I use a free WordPress.com blog that displays ads as I don't pay for the no-ads feature.
I think I write in order to organize and develop my thoughts through writing. Even the fact I have so many different sites is related to my considering websites experimental playgrounds. Nobody can escape the power of online feedback by likers and commenter, in particular when positive. But this is exactly the reason why I regularly return to ancient, non-interactive, and badly Google-ranked websites of mine like this. I writer under the assumption somebody could and will read it - someday, and I might be held accountable. But I don't write for likes, just as I don't write for money.
Some blog postings of mine about blogging and writing:
Intellectuals are scathing Facebook in error. This is not at all the preferred network of amateur food photographers, humblebragging spammers of personal success stories, or creators of uncalled for inspirational quotes. It it more of a philosophy, a framework, and an -ism probably that we subversive artists have been waiting for.
About one year since in having indulged in Facebook inspired art we are proud to present the results.
The Subversive El(k)ement has been on its meteoric rise to fame as a spam poet and search term poet since December 2012. However, only the most diligent historians of that sort of art know that the very first elementary search term poem has been published on Facebook. It is hard to find now due to a glitch with FB's timeline back then - one more telltale sign of the Siren Server (© Jaron Lanier) resisting subversion by poetry.
On December 6, 2012 the following poem has seen the light of day 5 minutes before midnight. This poem has been stiched together from search terms submitted by the visitors of the Elkement's Wordpress blog:
burn org chart
theory about stupid questions
just received a blank piece of paper in the mail
universe life combine
heat pump outer space
reconcile corporate goals
stiff wire instead of helium
sniffing of path
original idea already cliche
silly questions on microwave engineering
dead mouse smell around microwave
Find the complete and definitive history of Poetry from the Scrapyard here.
Update 2019: You cannot read my FB postings anymore. Guess why!
My nickname is Elkement - an amalgam of my first name and my unofficial job title: The Subversive Element.
I am running a small company together with my husband. Following Star Trek terminology he is Chief Engineer and I am Science Officer. We live in the very heart of Europe, in sunny Pannonian Plain.
I am a physicist who has explored different professional biotopes. After having indulged in the corporate world as a so-called mobile knowledge worker I decided to reconnect to my roots as a scientist and engineer in 2012, and I have completed another master's degree - Sustainable Energy Systems - in 2013. In 2014 I am indulging in a weird combination of professional specialties: Modelling of heat pump systems and troubleshooting issues with digital certificates.
On numerous blogs and websites I am pondering on:
Theoretical physics versus engineering.
Off-the-wall geek humor versus existential philosophical questions.
Knowledge worker's connectedness versus striving for independence.
Corporate world's strangeness versus small business entrepreneur's microcosmos.
As a Search Term Poet and a Spam Poet I create art from the virtual scrapyard.
Related blog articles:
The Dark Side Was Strong in Me (2012, on my transition from academia / R&D to IT in 1997).
On Science Communication (2013, remembering 1995)
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.
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.
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.
These are the preliminary results of the Website Resurrection Project. In spring 2012 rotten web pages have been de-linked. Those have been polished in a clandestine fashion in our steam punk web page manufacture and are gradually re-linked since autumn 2012.
The Subversive Newsletters published in German in 2004-2005 have been linked again!
The Elkement is going to analyze those and comment in English. Note that this will not add any new content. Not even the original newsletters had conveyed anything resembling 'content'.
The following newsletters have been analyzed:
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:
- the resurrection of classical writing tagged with Everything.
- via its so-called timeline (formatted according to the requirements of the NSA) at an extremely subversive website.
We are proud to announce new high-scores with respect to the index of self-referentiality (AKA navel-gazing)
- The Element has been successful in publishing a guest post in the local community newspaper of z-village despite its critical and picky editor.
- The pseudo-twitter stream of e-stangl.at has been flooded with subversive vontent.
We set new standards in combining: Subversive Entrepreneurship, down-to-earth provincial craftsmanship, MacGyver-like tinkering, and modern communication via social media: punktwissen.blog
The Elkement has recently put forward a theory: Its life is cliché and some googling does prove that.
It has been proposed that there is a huge community of people (Netizens) who would share the following characteristics / properties / hobbies:
- IT security
- Interested in the history of science
- Star Trek fan
- Douglas Adams fan
- Douglas Coupland fan
We are now going to challenge this, and we will ask Google. As Scott Adams has pointed out correctly the internet is nothing else than the consciousness of an omnipotent being, once splintered and now reassembling itself.
- Searching for "physics" "IT security" "Star Trek" yields 5 out of 10 hits on page one that can be associated with The Element. Actually 2 more elemental links have been pushed down to page three since I wrote the German version of this article two days ago.
- "physics" "IT security" "history of science" yields 6 elemental page 1 hits.
Similar results can be achieved with nearly every combination of key words listed above.
So my advice is: If you are frustrated about being cliché:
- Write an article about those attribute
- And enjoy your page 1 Google hits.
- Physicist as per my first degrees. Now I may again call me a Consulting Engineer in Applied Physics. Theoretical physics is still an important hobby of mine.
- As an Engineer I am working on the simulation of heat pump systems.
- IT Security Consultant - that's what I have called myself for more than 10 years. Currently I am interested in the security of smart meters.
- Blogger - at elkement.blog. I have just celebrated my blog's first anniversary.
- 'Settler' - living in the Pannonian Plain in the utmost East of Austria for nearly 15 years now.
- Geek and Subversive Element.
- Subversive Newsletter Nr. 5: A Mind-Altering Experience
- Subversive Newsletter No. 3: Internet Apocalypso
- Subversive Newsletter No. 2: On Self-Reference
- Subversive Newsletter No. 1: On Subversion at Large
Keeping It Short
What is the essence of all websites, blogs and the 'CV'?
If This Would Be Web 2.0 You Would Call This:
Elke Stangl's Profile
My CV - or my so-called profile in web 2.0 newspeak - can be found in: XING and LinkedIn. Currently my web 2.0 avatar is describing itself as:
I am a physicist running a small company together with my husband. Following Star Trek terminology he is Chief Engineer and I am Science Officer.
I have designed and implemented Public Key Infrastructures (PKI, applied cryptography) for enterprise customers since 2002 and I have phased-out these activities at the 10th anniversary (mid of July 2012) in order to focus on renewable energies.
I am particularly interested in the interfaces between building technology, energy engineering and IT infrastructure ...
... and basically in all of physics, all of the history of science and all of the interdependencies between science and society. Since 2012 I am finally blogging on this at elkement.blog, though I am still also updating my ancient proto-blog-like personal websites (e-stangl.at, radices.net, and subversiv.at). [Voice from the future: All these sites are / are going to be united!]
Why is this in English and the profile in German? Actually, my profile was in English till mid of 2012 as many of business contacts did not speak German. I am also blogging in English - reason to be determined.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
A netizen is an inhabitant of the internet. Everybody knows that today. Back in the golden times of the internet a netizen had to be an expert. A navigator through a new world, a world that existed only for the technologically adept. It comprised dark corners and caves.
Dark corners do still exist today. If you want to explain to paranoid technophobes why the internet is cute and harmless despite cybercrime you ought to say: It is just like the real world.
So everybody is a netizen. If the Know Everything Oracle (Google) does not find any content related to you - you might be something special.
You might be a Realizen probably.
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:
What is this website all about? Most of the time this was not clear even to The Element itself. This is the history of the content of the default page.
Hello all you anonymous IP addresses ... out there in the net ...
I find your traces in my log file and ask myself: Why do you enter just the single word SUBVERSIV into the Google search form?
I suppose you are disappointed, because that page is not what you expected, despite the red background (the background color of subversive pages is usually either red or black - do not ask me why)
But I have to frustrate you even more: This is an Austrian website written in German. I apologize for having such a high Google ranking, luring you to my site.
So, the English part is over...
"OK, the scary part is over now. You can come out. It's safe. " (Christopher Locke, The Cluetrain Manifesto - Chapter 1)
This Website is My Hub of Hubs and There Are Many Spokes
(Last updated: September 14, 2013. Created: December 2, 2012.)
It is an About site in its own right. Every few months I ask myself WHOAMI, and since the console does not give me a satisfactory answer I am updating this website instead.
Since I am very active on other blogs and social networks, e-stangl.at is not updated frequently. On the other hand, it is not subject to unimportant mood swings - you should see only milestone-y updates here.
e-stangl.at was my first domain ever. Despite its austere, web 2.0 look & feel it remains the center of the el(k)emental universe. Therefore I need to maintain a list of my other profiles and sites here.
10 Years: Back to the Roots in a Subversive Way
This site is celebrating its 10 years anniversary. After many years of soul searching that resulted in bizzare and weird content ('What do I need to smoke to comprehend the message of your websites?') there is hope. e-stangl returns to normal.
Jump directly to the chronological overview at your own risk.
e-stangl: Think Tank for Science & Technology
(2006, updated 2011)
e-stangl.at is the central node and root of Elke Stangl's websites, supported and inspired by the Subversive Element
This website comprises an overview of thoughts and ideas evolving from experiences gathered throughout my professional career and private projects. The English version had always been lagging behind the German version by 2 or 3 update cycles. It is catching up, but still an experiment - an experiment on how the choice of language impacts brain activities. I cannot resist creating different content in English than in German.
These pages are changed on a completely irregular basis and at the locations you would never expect it. This is not a blog: I am committed to sculpturing existing pages again and again. But: I am also committed to preserving top embarrassing old versions.
The Image that Kicked It All off
(End of December 2002 or beginning of January 2003)
This image of The Element and Somebody (Irgendwer) was used a placeholder after the website had been turned from Elke Stangl's small business website to a private web site.
The List of Comments that Never Wanted to be a Blog but that Actually was
(Entries since 2002. The latest comment is shown in the header of this page)
History of this site: The purpose of this website (if it exists at all) is changing with time. Here is the archive of comments:
I had once started a first list of books here, stating that what you write about books says more about you than about the books. Last year I read mainly about...
I have come a long way. I celebrate a year devoid of planning, of stress, of expectations. Don't Worry, Be Happy! This was the year of 2014: Some images...
Digital Certificates and Heat Pumps ... an odd combination probably. But I have a penchant for combining anything. For me IT security, physics, and engineering are all connected naturally, and not only through my biography. More...
Hello world! I am happy! I have just updated all my websites (see icons below) and I feel they / I do reach some Zen-like equilibrium. As weird as it seems I am combining anything - as the title of my blog says. I do still indulge in marvelling at and troubleshooting of Public Key Infrastructures, I call myself the Science Office of our 'renewable energies startup', and I write about philsophical stuff I am not qualified for.
Douglas Coupland has reminded us twice - in Generation X and in Generation A - that our lifes should become stories instead of just consisting of a few moments strung together. I am not sure what my life is - in any case I have updated the page on My Life with my 3 seconds of fame, that is interviews in German and blog posts that should have been interviews in English.
I am not a writer. I feel I had to decide often between being a fence-sitting commentator or somebody who is in charge of and fully accountable for technical problem solving - and I always picked the latter. More 'On Writing'.
The Elkement has become a curator - see the update on 2013 in Books. My favorite posting 2013 was: Fragile Technology? (Confessions of a Luddite Disguised as Tech Enthusiast). 2014 is dedicated to finally putting the Theory of Combining Just Anything into practice.
End of August 2013 The Subversive Elkement is able to prove its engineer-ness. My CPU is underutilized - I will throw brain power at e.g. Quantum Field Theory. New: Find Elkement's Best-of-Posts at the Science page. German readers: Don't forget to stalk the settlers at punktwissen.blog
Decloaking slowly and giving up stealth mode. The Subversive Element asks me to introduce the latest subversive / elementary website: punktwissen.blog (German). The settlers might have found and populated z-village. Now they have started to tell their tales: On physics, renewable energies and braving the elements in the village at the end of the world.
This website has undergone an update and in November 2012 a major milestone in the Website Resurrection Project has been reached. Life, Science, Technology, and Reading do reflect the current status. Time stands still, History is halted. My virtual Zen garden. I am looking forward to grating gravel.
This website effectively has been a blog all the time. Now I finally surrender to web 2.0 standards and I am modifying the structure of this website to make it as bloggy as possible (to the extent my home-grown CMS based on classical ASP and TXT databases would allow for). The overall goal of this site is equivalent with the goals set forth for my new blog which is still in its infancy.
I had started all over again with A Blank Sheet of Paper, but finally I have resurrected most of the e-stangl.at web pages. My websites have been online for about 10 years now - and I feel privileged to sort of start from scratch now. This is not only related to my websites.
I have reached the other side of the worm hole finally. Since I could not have published anything to my website when I was right in the middle of it I am going to catch up now. Finally I have realized I rather prefer writing on the past. The Subversive El(k)ement also has started blogging at elkement.blog
At the beginning of spring 2012 this website and its author are going to take a break. The old web pages are undergoing a revision, but they are still there and accessible if you know the URLs. 10 years after its launch this website has sort of fulfilled its mission - I am finally making a change in my real life that was overdue.
Happy New Year 2011 - the Year we Make Contact (plus One). No - this is still not a blog. This site is still an attempt to confuse and bore its readers with long-winded an linear stuff. I am a lonely write talking to her lonely readers ((C)) N. Carr). I am using hyperlinks. But in contrast to the motto of this site, they are not subversive any more. I recommend: The Shallows / Nicholas Carr.
This website has not changed throughout the past year. And this is positive. It is still totally non Web 2.0, un-bloggy and probably a little out-of-date. I might simply be satisfied with status quo. I am archiving old entries, I do not even need archive.org - I am preserving the past, this website is neither for the present nor for the future.
This website is setup as a non-blog - on purpose. There are so many places on the web, where written statements tied to context, date and daily routine can be found. But this here is my personal console - replying to my individual WHOAMI. An I am expecting concise and current info's. This website is in use since early 1998 - and archiving my ancient footprints in the web is important to me. Archive.org - a warm welcome! I am asking myself: We are all netizens spreading out thoughts in digital formats - what will endure throughout the centuries? Who will take care of my dear website in 200 years?
As the (hi)story of this website goes, this is all about abnormal and recursive self-reflection. WHOAMI has produced pre-liminary answers to the questions (of life) which has caused a delay in updating these pages. Now 100s of years will be necessary to analyze: change, life, the universe and everything. Other version: The Subversive Element is subverting even this serious website und is especially its motivation to subversion is growing again - but sill: The basic target to subversion is unknown.
Unbelievable, but true: The purpose of this website has not changed since several months: It is a kind of graphical version of the command line tool WHOAMI (Who am I), which tells me who I really am. Every 2-3 months WHOAMI is flickering at my console and I start searching for the ultimate answer: being my own processor, operating system and self-analyzing logic. Spending some sleepless night in front of my PC, the answer comes to me wrapped in my home-made web sites. The input is generated in a process I hardly understand: I am reading my own e-mails and postings, wondering about the ways my thinking goes sometimes, and listening to me telling my own stories again and again.
Slowly the purpose of my website is revealed to me: It is a kind of graphical version of the command line tool WHOAMI (Who am I), which tells me who I really am. Every 2-3 months WHOAMI is flickering at my console and I start searching for the ultimate answer: being my own processor, operating system and self-analyzing logic. Spending some sleepless night in front of my PC, the answer comes to me wrapped in my home-made web sites. The input is generated in a process I hardly understand: I am reading my own e-mails and postings, wondering about the ways my thinking goes sometimes, and listening to me telling my own stories again and again.
This is my private Website. I am working as an IT consultant and am exploring my scientific roots again. I have a PhD in physics, which turned to a hobby now. In the moment my main field of interest is quantum cryptography (whose applications are directly related to my professional work). But due to insights in different "worlds" gathered throughout my career I cannot assign my scientific interests to an academic discipline. The one which fits best is: philosophy
This is my private website. I do not want to sell anything to anybody and I do not want to convince anybody of anything. These are snippets of content representing my identity as a netizen (an internet citizen), which may seem strange, incomplete and ambiguous by now. The pseudo-intellectual captions of navigation hyperlinks will be changed - don't panic ;-) Until end of 2004 this site will comprise thoughts about information technology and physics - which are the two fields I am concerned with professionally and non-professionally.
This is my private website. I do not want to sell anything to anybody and I do not want to convince anybody of anything. This not a fiercely managed IT project, so progress is moderate. These are snippets of content representing my identity as a netizen (an internet citizen).
Maintenance of this website is not a fiercely managed IT project, so there is NO deadline (Read one of my favorite books: "Slack" by Tom DeMarco). Therefore updates are published on a completely irregular basis and coming from the bottom of my heart. Or better: From the bottom of my mind, your are visiting e-stangl Think Tank ;-).
No slack, no goals for this web site. Optimum pre-requisites - let's go!
This is a private website. It's design motivation is to make you think and read. I am not a professional web designer (any more), nevertheless it is one of my goals, that this site should not look like a typical private web page ;-) In the moment this site is heavily under construction. This is not a fiercely managed IT project, so there is NO deadline (Read one of my favorite books: "Slack" by Tom DeMarco)
The domain e-stangl.at was delegated in the glorious era of THE GREAT dotcom HYPE, thus contains e-. The non-hyperlink part - the part above the underscore - reflects the golden light of the evening sun or is being shaken by an amber sandstorm