Reverse Engineering Fun

Recently I read a lot about reverse engineering –  in relation to malware research. I for one simply wanted to get ancient and hardly documented HVAC engineering software to work. The software in question should have shown a photo of the front panel of a device – knobs and displays – augmented with current system’s…

Simulating Life-Forms (2): Cooling Energy

I found an incredibly detailed research report by the Australian government – about energy use in private homes, by appliance and purpose. It confirms my reluctance to ‘predict’ cooling energy as usage of air conditioning depends strongly on life-style choices.

The Orphaned Internet Domain Risk

I have clicked on company websites of social media acquaintances, and something is not right: Slight errors in formatting, encoding errors for special German characters. Then I notice that some of the pages contain links to other websites that advertize products in a spammy way. However, the links to the spammy sites are embedded in…

Data for the Heat Pump System: Heating Season 2016-2017

I update the documentation of measurement data [PDF] about twice a year. This post is to provide a quick overview for the past season. The PDF also contains the technical configuration and sizing data. Based on typical questions from an ‘international audience’ I add a summary here plus some ‘cultural’ context: Building: The house is…

Computers, Science, and History Thereof

I am reading three online resources in parallel – on the history and the basics of computing, computer science, software engineering, and the related culture and ‘philosophy’. An accidental combination I find most enjoyable. Joel on Software: Joel Spolsky’s blog – a collection of classic essays. What every developer needs to know about Unicode. New terms…

Heat Transport: What I Wrote So Far.

Don’t worry, The Subversive Elkement will publish the usual silly summer posting soon! Now am just tying up loose ends. In the next months I will keep writing about heat transport: Detailed simulations versus maverick’s rules of thumb, numerical solutions versus insights from the few things you can solve analytically, and applications to our heat…

Other People Have Lives – I Have Domains

These are just some boring update notifications from the elkemental Webiverse. The elkement blog has recently celebrated its fifth anniversary, and the punktwissen blog will turn five in December. Time to celebrate this – with new domain names that says exactly what these sites are – the ‘elkement.blog‘ and the ‘punktwissen.blog‘ (Edit: which now –…

Earth, Air, Water, and Ice.

In my attempts at Ice Storage Heat Source popularization I have been facing one big challenge: How can you – succinctly, using pictures – answer questions like: How much energy does the collector harvest? or What’s the contribution of ground? or Why do you need a collector if the monthly performance factor just drops a…

My Data Kraken – a Shapeshifter

I wonder if Data Kraken is only used by German speakers who translate our hackneyed Datenkrake – is it a word like eigenvector? Anyway, I need this animal metaphor, despite this post is not about facebook or Google. It’s about my personal Data Kraken – which is a true shapeshifter like all octopuses are. (Because…

Give the ‘Thing’ a Subnet of Its Own!

To my surprise, the most clicked post ever on this blog is this: Network Sniffing for Everyone: Getting to Know Your Things (As in Internet of Things) … a step-by-step guide to sniff the network traffic of your ‘things’ contacting their mothership, plus a brief introduction to networking. I wanted to show how you can…

Internet of Things. Yet Another Gloomy Post.

Technically, I work with Things, as in the Internet of Things. As outlined in Everything as a Service many formerly ‘dumb’ products – such as heating systems – become part of service offerings. A vital component of the new services is the technical connection of the Thing in your home to that Big Cloud. It…

Hacking My Heat Pump – Part 2: Logging Energy Values

In the last post, I showed how to use Raspberry Pi as CAN bus logger – using a test bus connected to control unit UVR1611. Now I have connected it to my heat pump’s bus. Credits for software and instructions: juerg5524.ch messpunkt.org SK Pang Special thanks to SK Pang Electronics who provided me with CAN…

Hacking My Heat Pump – Part 1: CAN Bus Testing with UVR1611

In the old times, measuring data manually sometimes meant braving the elements: Now, nearly all measurements are automated: In order to calculate the seasonal performance factor of the heat pump system we have still used the ‘official’ energy reading provided by the heat pump’s display. Can’t this be automated, too? Our Stiebel-Eltron WPF7 basic is…

Have I Seen the End of E-Mail?

Not that I desire it, but my recent encounters of ransomware make me wonder. Some people in say, accounting or HR departments are forced to use e-mail with utmost paranoia. Hackers send alarmingly professional e-mails that look like invoices, job applications, or notifications of postal services. Clicking a link starts the download of malware that…

Everything as a Service

Three years ago I found a research paper that proposed a combination of distributed computing and heating as a service: A cloud provider company like Google or Amazon would install computers in users’ homes – as black-boxes providing heat to the users and computing power to their cloud. In the meantime I have encountered announcements…

Alien Energy

I am sure it protects us not only from lightning but also from alien attacks and EMP guns … So I wrote about our lightning protection, installed together with our photovoltaic generator. Now our PV generator is operational for 11 months and we have encountered one alien attack, albeit by beneficial aliens. The Sunny Baseline…

Anniversary 4 (4 Me): “Life Ends Despite Increasing Energy”

I published my first post on this blog on March 24, 2012. Back then its title and tagline were: Theory and Practice of Trying to Combine Just Anything Physics versus engineering off-the-wall geek humor versus existential questions IT versus the real thing corporate world’s strangeness versus small business entrepreneur’s microcosmos knowledge worker’s connectedness versus striving…

Half a Year of Solar Power and Smart Metering

Our PV generator and new metering setup is now operational for half a year; this is my next wall of figures. For the first time I am combining data from all our loggers (PV inverter, smart meter for consumption, and heat pump system’s monitoring), and I give a summary on our scrutinizing the building’s electrical…

The Impact of Ambient Temperature on the Output Power of Solar Panels

I have noticed the impact of traversing clouds on solar power output: Immediately after a cloud has passed, power surges to a record value. This can be attributed to the focusing effect of the surrounding clouds and/or cooling of the panels. Comparing data for cloudless days in May and June, I noticed a degradation of…

Shortest Post Ever

… self-indulgent though, but just to add an update on the previous post. My new personal website is  live: elkement.subversiv.at I have already redirected the root URLs of the precursor sites radices.net, subversiv.at and e-stangl.at. Now I am waiting for Google’s final verdict; then I am going to add the rewrite map for the 1:n…

Random Things I Have Learned from My Web Development Project

It’s nearly done (previous episode here). I have copied all the content from my personal websites, painstakingly disentangling snippets of different ‘posts’ that were physically contained in the same ‘web page’, re-assigning existing images to them, adding tags, consolidating information that was stored in different places. Raking the Virtual Zen Garden – again. (Voice from…

My Flat-File Database

A brief update on my web programming project. I have preferred to create online text by editing simple text files; so I only need a text editor and an FTP client as management tool. My ‘old’ personal and business web pages are currently created dynamically in the following way: [Code for including a script (including…

Interrupting Regularly Scheduled Programming …

(… for programming.) Playing with websites has been a hobby of mine since nearly two decades. What has intrigued me was the combination of different tasks, appealing to different moods – or modes: Designing the user interface and organizing content. Writing the actual content, and toggling between creative and research mode. Developing the backend: database…

Solar Power: Some Data for the First Month.

On May 4, 2015, we started up our photovoltaic generator. Here are some numbers and plots for the first month – and what I plan to do next. Our generator has a rated power of 4,77 kWp (kilowatt peak), one module has 265 Wp. The generator would deliver 4,77 kW of electrical power under so-called…

Watching TV Is Dangerous

I am not talking about humans. But TV-sets might threaten other devices in the smart home; this was a recent puzzle submitted by a blog reader. Two unrelated devices / services met on the user’s local computer network: IP-TV provided by a large German telco. a data logger for monitoring the heating system. This user…

Finally Mobile-Friendly! (How I Made Googlebot Happy)

Not this blog of course – it had been responsive already. But I gave in to Google’s nagging and did not ignore messages in Google Webmaster Tools any longer. All my home-grown websites had a fixed width of the content pane and a fixed left sidebar. On a mobile device you only saw the upper…

Data Logging with UVR1611 – FAQ

I have received several questions related to my article on data logging on this blog, or to my postings on monitoring and control on our German blog. Thus I have decided to write the article I would have wanted to read when I once made myself familiar with this. The target audience for this article are…

All My Theories Have Been Wrong. Fortunately!

I apologize to Google. They still like my blog. This blog’s numbers plummeted as per Webmaster Tools, here and here you find everything you never wanted to know about it. I finally figured that my blog was a victim of Google’s latest update Panda 4.1. Sites about ‘anything’ had suffered, and the Panda rollout matched…

Looking for Patterns

Scott Adams, of Dilbert Fame, has a lot of useful advice in his autobiographical book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big. He recommends looking for patterns in your life, without attempting to theorize about cause and effects. Learning from those patterns you could increase the chance that luck with hit you….