The *Nixed Report

unix and overlooked pop culture

Equipment Acquisition and Site Update

RCA 10 Pro Edition

This tablet currently runs Android KitKat.

By Thomas Holbrook II

The first tablet that I’ve ever owned was a Viewsonic gtablet.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t Google certified, so the official app store was not accessible.  I eventually gave it up and wouldn’t own another one for about four years.

I now am the proud owner of an RCA 10 Pro Edition Tablet, and it has the following specs:

  • 1.5 GHz Quad Core Cortex A9 processor
  • Android 4.4 KitKat
  • 1 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 16 GB of internal storage
  • 32 GB microSD card (upgrade)
  • 0.3 Megapixel front-facing camera and 2.0 Megapixel rear camera
  • Micro USB
  • Keyboard folio case
  • Battery life of up to six hours
  • 10″ diagonal screen (1024×600 resoltuion)
  • The usual features of a multi-touch capacitive screen (with auto-rotate)
  • 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Headphone jack
  • Mini HDMI port

The best part is that I have access to the Google Play store.  Although some apps are incompatible with this tablet, I am looking forward to putting it to good use.  With that said, I would also like to take the time to explain what’s been going on with the website.

I’ve been meaning to convert the existing PDF magazines to a web-based format.  In the middle of that, life happened.  Some things come to an end so that others can begin.

A door on one chapter of my life has closed and thus another opens.  The world headquarters for this media venue has been moved back to Warrensburg, Missouri.  This means that Shaggy and I will have an easier time getting together for podcast episodes and other potential projects.

This also means that converting the remainder of the PDF’s to a web-based format will take a bit more time.  More than copying and pasting is involved.  I have to place images in the correct order and add bonus content to entice readers to subscribe to the magazine.

Yes, you read correctly.

Though the online version will remain free for all, there will be a few extras for those who subscribe:

  • Exclusive content, such as video episodes embedded via HTML 5
  • No insertion of Google Ads
  • Other bonuses and incentives as they become available (think exclusive copies of independent films, music albums, and more)

Those who subscribe will get a CD-ROM in the mail with the digital magazine on it.  It’s a throwback to what was once done in the late 1990’s.

Having specific printing equipment for glossy looking magazines would be very cost prohibitive, while having each issue as an individual PDF would only work well as long as the file size remains relatively small.

A web-based format that’s published on CD-ROM would be the best of both worlds as individuals can easily make copies to give away to all their friends.  Yes, I want you to make copies and give them away so that others know we exist!

Once all the existing issues are converted over, I will begin working on the newest issue.  It won’t be perfect as it will be a work in progress.  In fact, it will always be as such.

Still, I am looking forward to this endeavor.  With that said, I shall now conclude this post and begin to celebrate my 32nd birthday.  Have a wonderful afternoon, everybody.

Paypal Here Mobile Card Reader Unboxed

Recently, Thomas received this mobile card reader in the mail. He has a bit of trouble taking it out of the box due to over-analyzing, but once he gets it out, he likes what he sees. Unfortunately, he may have to acquire a tablet instead of relying om his phone due to the thickness of his phone case (an Otterbox) making it virtually impossible to insert the gadget into the headphone jack.

Reglue Project Fundraiser Extended

Reglue Logo

They donate Linux – based computers to kids in need.

Ken Starks, known as HeliOS online, is the head of The Reglue Project, an organization that serves all of Central Texas. Their mission is to bridge the digital divide by providing computers to the kids of families who can’t afford one.

Internet access is also paid three months in advance in order to allow the parents or legal guardians to budget for it.

According to their annual funding campaign on IndieGoGo,  “What good is being granted a vehicle if we can’t afford the fuel to do computer installations? Or to buy the parts needed to fix that computer? The majority of grant foundations are simply not offering assistance to help with those things any more.

There was only over two weeks left, and they’re far from their goal of $9,000 USD. Fortunately, it appears that IndieGoGo has extended the campaign and as of writing this, there are 31 days left. So far, $3,380 has been pledged.

Below is a keynote from Starks for this year’s Ohio Linux Fest. Due to surgery that he will have over the holidays, the keynote may be his last public speaking event.

In order to prevent any more bouts with cancer, he is having his larynx removed and will no longer be able to speak vocally.

Hijackers Attempt Sabotage of WTF Magazine

Image of a message from a fake Facebook account.

He’s part a group of fan page hijackers, and WTF Magazine is not his only target.

WTF Magazine has been rebuilding their presence on Facebook after their old fan page was deleted.  On Tuesday, Jason Fyk and his admin team have had to ban several fans.

It turns out they aren’t who they say they are.

They tried adding 400 fake accounts to my personal page and are currently adding a flood of fake accounts to WTF Magazine.” Fyk said.

A screenshot of fake accounts that were banned.

Here’s a list of some Facebook accounts that were banned from the WTF fanpage.

This isn’t the first time he’s dealt with this group.  Business Insider has details on a group dedicated to hijacking fan pages for fun and profit.

Hijackers send a flood of fake likes to a fan page so they can report content that is posted.  “Jack Evans along with Austin Harrig, Anthony Machia (Ortiz), Ken Ballou, George Portillo, Dexter Hyman and others have attacked us without cause for years.” Fyk said.

Pages that reach 100,000 likes are a prime target for the group lead by Evans.

Duplicate accounts are used to hijack pages.

Note how the same name appears twice.

In some cases, duplicate accounts are created.  They can be used to evade banning while continually harassing the intended target.

The group is known as “The Community,” and their profile claims to be against cyber bullying.  The group’s description is only a ruse.

The hijacking of pages began as a way of pulling pranks and was only for fun before things got serious.

Now it can be done for fun and profit.

Below are a couple of screenshots showing the impact of fake likes.

Screencap showing impact on WTF's fan page as a result of fake likes.

“The idea is to add the fake accounts and use those to report everything. This kills the reach on the page.” Fyk said.

These are the likes on his personal page.  The spike in organic likes caught his attention.

Note the spike in organic likes on his personal page.

“I managed to get 99% off my personal page but that was a small page and 400 likes in 2 hours is noticeable.” Fyk said.

The lack of legal precedent has left little recourse, though Anthony Ortiz appears to admit some wrong doing in his interview with Alyson Shontell, especially when it comes to defamation.

The only current recourse is to continually ban fake accounts.  We’ll keep everyone here updated as new information becomes available.

WTF Booted from Facebook

 

"No facebook" by --Steindy (talk) 20:42, 16 September 2013 (UTC) - https://twitter.com/facebook. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:No_facebook.png#mediaviewer/File:No_facebook.png

“No facebook” by –Steindy (talk) 20:42, 16 September 2013 (UTC) – Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Social Media has its ups and downs.  One moment, a group or a page is popular.  The next day, it’s gone.

Such was the case with WTF Magazine, an online fun publication.  For four years, Jason Fyk built an audience of 2.1 million on Facebook.  He invested approximately $100,000 USD in advertising.

Out of nowhere, the fan page was removed.

In terms of content, Fyk explained, “There are always people that do not like things we post. No one likes everything. However if you judge our content off the number of banned pictures as compared to the number we post we stay well within the guidelines of Facebook terms of service.

In the four years of operation, 20 pictures and five links were banned.  In the previous three months, only this link was banned.  As for other content, Fyk told me, “Anything to do with [the] Muslim religion gets us being reported into the ground. People get fanatical and its a shame that a few people have a say over that of the masses.

In response to accusations of dismembered people being posted, he told me that it simply wasn’t true.  “You need to realize we have a group of haters that are already at it trying to sabotage our page. They do what is called Social Engineering. What that is, is saying stuff like that, which people don’t know is true or false.” Fyk said.

Page admins have strict instructions to not post racial slurs, child pornography, or attacks on religion.

We do make fun of the fanatical groups which makes fun of feminists sometimes but I’d also make fun of fat people and I am one.” Fyk said.

Screenshot of a private conversation between an offended user and a WTF Magazine page admin.

First, the user in question says they’re in the photo. Then they see they don’t find it funny.

A picture of two turtles of all things was reported.  While the user initially messaged the page to remove it because they were in it, the admin asked where in the image they were at.  Their story changed.

They then said they simply didn’t find it funny and that one of their grandchildren’s friends shared the image.

There is no reason two turtles are a problem for facebook. Yet it was reported by some overly sensitive individual. But again, it’s not dismembered bodies, torture, self mutilation or anything even close.” Fyk said.

The website’s primary source of revenue is advertising, which is affected by web traffic.  Thanks to the fan page, they were able to support a number of families, two of which who have members who are special needs.

“One is an adult who is mildly retarded.  The other is a downs syndrome child.” Fyk said.

Since the page was deleted, the publication has been set back four years.  Despite this, Fyk plans to support those families until they recover.

In order to rebuild, they are no longer relying on advertising alone.  “I can’t announce everything but I am bringing in the CEO of another major publication to help out.”  Fyk said.

If the original page is republished, they will emphasize the website instead of solely relying on Facebook.  “Our fans won’t like it as much but they will have to come to the site to see the crazier stuff.” Fyk said.

There are also plans of moving beyond Facebook and expanding to other social media sites.  This includes building a social media network as well.  Regarding additional frustrations, Fyk told me that, “Facebook would not give us a verified brand check mark though we were an established tax paying business.

Their new fan page may be found here.  For those interested in checking out their website, it may be found here.

Curtis Warren Joins the Team

Curtis Warren

His scientific background will help round out the podcast.

The podcast has had hosts come and go over the last several months.  With each new episode, it became clear that more perspectives were needed.

Fortunately, it seems the right people come along at the right time.  We’re proud to announce that Curtis Warren will be joining the team.

Science has been an important factor throughout his life, and this background will help the show tremendously.

He also likes video games and has recently resumed playing Magic the Gathering after a lengthy hiatus.  He’s excited about the opportunity to bring his unique perspective to the podcast and had this to say:

I would like to share my compassion and passion for Nature, for gaming, and for Education. I’m a huge advocate for making use of the natural world and caring for others and I think that Gaming, Science, and Art are ways we can accomplish that and make the world a better place.

He makes his debut on tonight’s live recording session.

Opening Back Up Soon

There hasn’t been very much activity on the site as of late, but we have still been active.  Initially we started looking for regular writers to this site, but that fell short.

It’s amazing what can happen in the course of life and the lessons that can be learned by looking into the past and learning from it.

We’re still looking for contributors, but we want to do this the right way and most importantly, the right reasons.  There are those who make millions at a job that they absolutely despised, so what’s the point of doing this if we’re not having fun and opening minds at the same time?

We had to delete the false usernames that were created on this website.  Thanks to spam filtering, no bogus posts were published.

The big issue has been spam bots registering, so a better method for screening candidates has to be put into place.

In the meantime, we’re still doing our podcasts, and some of them are available on YouTube.

As for the magazine, the plan is to either:

  • Switch to a publishing solution such as Scribus or…
  • Switch to HTML and use HTML 5 for multimedia enhancement.

Either way, it will have to be a solution that can be easily distributed to multiple people at once, and therein lies the key.

If not enough people are looking at this, how do we know if we have an audience to begin with?  Have the audience’s attention first.  The next step is to keep it.

From there, everything will fall into place.

Entertain yourself, educate yourself, and empower yourself.

I haven’t forgotten about you.

Thomas Holbrook II,

Editor and Chief and Founder of The *Nixed Report.

WANTED: More Contributors

We are looking for more people to write for this site on a regular basis. We cover a variety of topics including computers, Free and Open Source Software, alternative political perspectives, conspiracy theories, spirituality, video games, pro wrestling, and more.

If you’re interested, feel free to drop a line in the comments section. We can’t pay anything at the moment, but once we start making money, we’ll be able to do so.

We Interrupt This Broadcast

By Thomas Holbrook II

fuzzy imageIt’s been a while since the last post, and I owe everyone here an explanation as to what’s been going on.

First of all, I have some awesome news.  I’m no longer single as a special lady has entered my life.  I’ve been busy getting things ready for when I move in with her.

She is the most amazing person I’ve ever met in my life.

I’ve also been writing for Muktware again as I need to brush up on my writing.  It needs work, but I’m not giving up.  Broadening my horizons will only help me at this point.

However, I should have been keeping up with posting here.  The website is in need of a redesign, and I also have a confession to make.  Every time I begin thinking of ways to raise money so I can keep the site up and running, I would simply stop because I’d feel guilty.

I’m of two minds in terms of alternative media.

On the one hand, I recognize and understand that expenses have to be covered in order for a venue to exist.  This requires time and money.  Unfortunately, because I have to pay bills, I lack time at the moment.

On the other hand, it bothers me on a deep personal level to sell things or ask for money.  That’s why I ask for money as the last thing on the investing page.

After all, many of us are still struggling at the moment and we want to stand on our own feet in many cases.

The problem is that I need to get over that and change my attitude.  Too many times, things with potential never realize it because those who initiate these things are too scared of themselves to try.

I’ve been too scared of myself to try, and for that, I owe all of you an apology.  I will do better, and if some are turned off by solicitations for resources, the Internet is a vast universe.

There are plenty of other sites to visit.

There are some things that need to happen, because if I don’t do them, I won’t be able to take The *Nixed Report to the next level:

  1. All the digital magazines need to be converted to HTML.  While PDF is wonderful in terms of consistent look and feel, HTML is much better in terms of allowing for advertisements among other things, which brings me to the next point.
  2. I need to quit being scared of asking for money.  Others do it all the time, and if I can put ads on the site, then I can very well start a crowdfunding campaign for equipment, site costs, and more.
  3. In order to bring in more revenue, I’ve started freelancing at Muktware, a wonderful website that covers free and open source software.  Swapnil is an amazing editor, and he knows just when to step in and offer constructive criticism.  Another way is for me to do another initiative, Angelcoven.  Angelcoven will be a social media and online consultation group that I am forming in order to help others build and maintain an online presence; it’s been one of my dreams for a long time.

Throwback Thursday: Zip Disks and Red Hat 5.2

An unopened Zip disk and Red Hat 5.2

Steven Tompkins really outdid himself with this find.

The latest issue of the magazine was a bit late, but the delay was worth it.

Steven Tompkins, our fellow podcast co-host came upon an unopened Zip Disk and a copy of Red Hat 5.2 at the local Salvation Army.  Talk about throwbacks!

Back when it was called Central Missouri State University, I job shadowed somebody who was a web developer.  I was eventually led to another part of the campus that was technologically oriented.

When I entered one room, I was told that no Microsoft products were on any of the machines.  I was shown WindowMaker and GNOME if memory serves.  Among the distros that was mentioned was Red Hat.

Zip Disks themselves were designed by Iomega to be used as a successor to floppy disks, but were replaced by flash storage instead.  I remember every computer on that campus having a Zip drive.

My how far we’ve come!