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)
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.
... 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.wordpress.com.
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.
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:
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.wordpress.com
Decloaking slowly and giving up stealth mode. The Subversive Element asks me to introduce the latest subversive / elementary website: punktwissen.wordpress.com (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. ~~~ Last update: The Science page has been updated with links to discerning articles on 'Leaving Academia'.
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 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.wordpress.com
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