The *Nixed Report

unix and overlooked pop culture

Podcast Pushed Back Until Tuesday

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

There will be a slight delay of the latest episode of the podcast. The original plan was to have it published on Friday. Due to a second part time job and the current work schedule, I will be pushing it back to Tuesday.

I will be having the podcast published on Tuesday from here on out.

At some point, Friday will have a video show that summarizes the week. Mondays will also have regular posts that are more Unix and tech related. For tgose who are in the midwest, please have a safe and wonderful weekend.

Icy weather is never fun.

Unexpected Powerhouse

HP Desktop

This was found at the local Salvation Army store.

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

Last year, a used system was purchased from the local Salvation Army store in Warrensburg, Missouri. For several months it sat inside of our world headquarters.

It was either a system that could be salvaged for parts or something that could be put to good use.

Early Tuesday morning, it was plugged into a TV via VGA and powered on. It turned out that spending approximately $5 USD was going to yield a pleasant surprise. Preliminary specs are as follows:

  • AMD Phenom quad core CPU
  • 7 GB of RAM
  • AMD Readon HD 5340 with 1 GB of RAM
  • 500 GB Hard Drive

The system itself currently has Windows Vista Home Premium. It seems it was set up for World of Warcraft. Whether it can handle a Linux distribution at this point with the precarious situation regarding AMD graphics will remain to be seen.

Though it’s not the most that has ever been had, this desktop has the most memory out of all the desktop systems in a long time.

Further research will be needed to see if it can hold more memory. Depending on what it can handle, it may very well replace the main desktop.

The Electoral College is Necessary

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

This article will be brief and to the point. There has been drama surrounding the electoral college, and it is certainly understandable that many are hoping for a rebellion against President-elect Trump. For full disclosure, I did not vote for him.

Before we drone on about the “will of the people,” a timely reminder is in order; we are not a democracy, nor were we meant to be one in these United States.

All one has to do is read Article 4, Section 4 of the US Constitution. It reads:

The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence.

There are elements of democracy, which does include voting. However, the majority can not run roughshod over the entire country. There’s a reason it’s called Tyranny of the Majority.

Our representative form of government has checks and balances not just in the three branches but all throughout the country. The electoral college was designed to prevent Tyranny of the Majority.

It’s an unfortunate shame that faithless electors are not able to rebel against that of the blind masses should the need arise.

The idea is supposed to be about having checks and balances to prevent anyone from having too much power over others. In other words, the electoral college is not the real problem, though giving electors more autonomy would make things a bit better.

Regardless of what happens, we need to focus on the real problem with the election cycle and that’s the fact that two political parties do not want other party to come to the table or be involved in the process.

We need to change the conversation about the fact that there are only two perceived choices in any given election cycle, and push for more than three.

Three Past Media Sins

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

Brian Williams Fake News

Major media itself has been just as guilty of perpetuating false or misleading news.

The past several weeks have seen accusations of media venues peddling fake news and that something has to be done about it. Believe it or not, major venues are not without sin in that category. Here are just three instances in which major media publications and networks got things wrong.

Kevin Mitnick

He was a computer hacker who had mastered the art of social engineering. Mitnick got himself into some trouble in the 1990’s to the point where John Markoff was writing sensationalist stories about him. Markoff claimed he was the FBI’s most wanted computer hacker (he wasn’t), and even claimed that Mitnick broke into the computer systems of a bank in order to distribute a fake press release.

In reality, the so called fake “$400 million loss,” was actually human error as opposed to malicious intent. As for being the most wanted by the FBI, he was on a US Marshall’s poster, but that’s not quite the same thing. Due to such sensationalist stories, Mitnick’s civil liberties were blatantly violated as he was prevented from even having a trial (he plead out so he would no longer be placed in solitary confinement).

Fortunately, Mitnick is now a successful consultant who helps businesses keep their information secure. He is also a successful author of multiple books.

Iraq and WMD’s

As Jon Schwarz of The Intercept points out, major media outlets are still getting this one wrong. The false premise of invading Iraq was that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and that he was aiding Al Qaeda. In reality, both were bitter enemies.

As for the weapons that were found, they were the very same weapons that existed well before Dessert Storm and Shield. They were holdovers from the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980’s. Some of the weapons couldn’t be destroyed safely due to their very nature, and Hussein was not about to attempt to utilize them.

The world would have discovered it quickly.

The other weapons were ones that Hussein didn’t know about as his regime lost track of them. They weren’t the only military force to lose track of resources as the US Military has also done the same.

Numerous casualties and injuries would result from Operation Iraqi Freedom.

New York Times and Their Fake News Problem

Remember Jayson Blair? He was let go because he plagiarized or outright faked his news coverage. Salon has an interesting piece describing a big problem in terms of media coverage.

Blair wasn’t the only one who played a part in misleading the public. Another individual was involved in pushing the talking points of George W Bush’s administration. Among said points includes the previously covered instance above.

Conclusion

Accusations of bias and being fake aren’t necessarily new nor are actual acts of either. Multiple mainstream venues have indeed made mistakes in terms of accuracy and are not without sin.

So the next time you hear somebody ask about fake news, you may want to ask them, “Remember Brian Williams?”

Infowars Doesn’t Care About Your Privacy

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

In light of the election results and the accusations of venues acting as fake news outlets and/or propaganda arms to the Russian government, there has been concerns regarding free speech. There is legislation that is indeed concerning as it could potentially violate the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution.

With that said, the fourth and fifth amendments should also be valued as well. I am no fan of tearing down other venues, but there are times when criticism is warranted. When I saw Infowars ask for signatures for a petition, I became irritated.

Infowars Petition Signup

Note the checkbox that also signs a person up for a newsletter.

It is a similar tactic used by Newsmax and other venues. I have no problem with petitioning or asking for people to signup for a newsletter. Where I take issue is when I see that the website doesn’t use SSL Encryption.

Infowars Lacks OpSec

In other words, anything sent can be intercepted by a third party.

I had a similar issue with John McAfee himself when he announced he was running for President. He was requesting volunteers on his campaign site, but there was no SSL Encryption.

To be fair, after being called on it, a certificate was implemented, thus ensuring the privacy of those who signed up to volunteer.

Without encryption, any information submitted in an online form can be intercepted by a third party interloper. Other sites like The Intercept use SSL due to the revelations from Edward Snowden. Having a plan for OpSec, or Operational Security, is important and should not be overlooked.

This means protecting the information of visitors in any way possible on the entire site, not just a customer’s online shopping cart. This site is no exception.

The *Nixed Report uses SSL.

We value the privacy of our visitors, which is why we have an SSL certificate installed and active.

This means any comments you submit will be encrypted and not intercepted by a third party. We value your privacy, which is why we don’t complain when ad blocking is used.

The idea is to earn money with the site, but without visitors, that won’t happen.

So the next time you see a call to action, double check and make sure the connection to the site is secure. In the meantime, you may want to e-mail Kurt Nimmo or Paul Joseph Watson and ask them why Infowars does not implement site wide SSL Encryption.

Operational Security Update

SSL has now been enabled.

Privacy conscious users can now celebrate.

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

In the past few months, it’s become obvious how important the mission of the site has become. The unfortunate, inevitable truth is that major news and media networks are trying to figure out how they could have gotten the election year so wrong while not actually coming upon the correct answer.

In reality, they blame so called “fake news” outlets for their own failings.

In light of this, and revelations over the years, it’s still important to have operational security in mind no matter what any given website is about. For that reason, we have enabled SSL encryption.

In the coming days, the about page will be updated so that anybody who wants to e-mail any of us will not only have an available e-mail address but an encryption key as well. I will also remove my personal site and set up a new one to free up resources for this site.

My Libertarian Conscience will simply be set up in a new home, and the podcast will be converted to a YouTube show instead.

In light of media incompetence, civil liberties concerns, and the revelations from Edward Snowden, I knew that it was time to make things a bit more secure. What he did was not without controversy, and there were unintended consequences.

With that said, the cat is already out of the bag and everybody should be thinking about their privacy.

Even if one has nothing to fear from their own government, there are still identity thieves and others with less than honorable intentions. Protecting your identity and privacy is generally a good idea.

It’s like wearing a helmet when getting on a bike or safety goggles when you’re doing a job that requires eye protection.

That’s also why I don’t begrudge those who use ad blocking. I don’t blame any readers who have no desire to be tracked and traced.

I’ve only begun to keep things updated here. Stay tuned for more articles and more podcasts.

An Apology to Our Readers

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

For the past several months, I haven’t been as active on the website as I should have been. I was trying to avoid intermixing politics with this very venue, and I shouldn’t have done so.

After all, Overlooked Pop Culture does contain subject matter that is in fact political in nature.

I also wasn’t motivated enough to keep going. That held true until last week. Now I have a reason to get started again. I apologize for being away for so long.

Sometimes, current events are needed to wake me back up.

In the coming days, more activity will occur on the site, and the podcast will resume next week. Thank you for your patience and sorry for leaving everyone hanging.

In the meantime, here’s a video elaborating the situation:

Needless to say we live in interesting times.

It’s the Kevin Owens Show!

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

Kevin Owens raises the Universal Title high in the air.

Kevin Owens raises the WWE Universal Championship high. Image based on screencap from Dailly DDT.

Last night on WWE Monday Night Raw, Kevin Owens became the Universal Champion with the help of Triple H. The move shocked the audience in a pleasant way. Future rivalries are set up while Owens can have a moment of glory.

Let’s hope it lasts longer than a mere moment.

After all, Jim Cornette himself had issues with Owens when he wrestled as Kevin Steen in Ring of Honor and said at one point that he would be limited to small audiences for the rest of his life. In this case, it’s a good thing he was wrong. This Reddit thread shines some light on that conflict.

The cool part is that Kevin Owens is not your typical muscle bound Fabio type.

In today’s changing world, stereotypes become especially suspect. The muscle-bound types aren’t the only ones who are athletic. The husky ones can go as well.

For all the athleticism in the world, having a functional brain can help when it comes to taking advantage of opportunities.

The point being? Owens is a douchebag, but he’s an amazing douchebag. He plays the part so well, especially when he screamed, “YYyyyyyyeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!” after winning the title last night.

Funny can make money in the right circumstances.

So let’s hope that Owens holds onto that championship for a while and he defends it, making it legit. After all, having a title changing hands multiple times like a hot potato is a good way to torpedo any possible prestige.

Chrome OS and Android: It’s Begun….

The Samsung Chromebook in a Box

The Chromebook before it was unboxed.

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

In the middle of the summer, interesting news came out regarding the latest update to Chrome OS and Chromebooks. It appears we are that much closer to seeing something that could give the executives at Microsoft and Apple nightmares in the months to come.

The Google Play Store will eventually come to Chrome OS.

Though it’s only available via the developer channel on select models, more will be added later on. I myself have purchased a newer Samsung Chromebook that’s Intel-based so that I can eventually test Crossover Office on it.

I’ll just have to be patient.

In the meantime, there are possibilities that can be seen in the future. Imagine being able to purchase inexpensive Chrome-based systems, install Android-based productivity apps on them, and have them used in an enterprise environment.

This could wind up disrupting the computer industry yet again.

Summer Slam 2016

Brock Lesnar laughing; colors inverted.

He does what he wants! Original image courtesy of Sportskeeda.

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

Summer Slam happened last night, and this year didn’t disappoint. A new champion was crowned, Cena was out-Cenaed, and Brock Lesnar has shown the world that he does what he wants.

The Universal Championship has potential, though the belt may need a different design.

It makes me wonder if Smackdown will have a Galactic Championship, with both champions vying for the number one contender spot for the WWE Heavyweight Championship.

As long as championship matches are the main event from here on out, things will continue to improve for the Standford based company. Pushing them to the middle of the card and onto the backburner only cheapens them and makes them meaningless.

Speaking of championships, let’s also hope that AJ Styles builds momentum to a championship run of some sort.

Contrary to appearances, the Phenomenal One is older than John Cena, and has more miles on him. Slow building of him towards a championship run will cost the WWE a huge opportunity at ratings. Styles doesn’t have as much time as others, so they may want to speed things up while he’s capable of performing like he’s still in his prime.

Speaking of which, let’s not have another Styles/Cena matchup; this horse doesn’t need to be beaten anymore.

The women’s division needs to get their act together. Wellness violations are not a good way of building said division. Also, if Eva Marie does have a legitimate reason why she shouldn’t have been suspended, then appropriate documentation should be shown to the audience demonstrating that she had a valid prescription in the first place.

Speaking of which, since Brock Lesnar is a part time performer, the Wellness Policy doesn’t apply to him, which presents an interesting opportunity.

I wasn’t able to watch the full main event due to other obligations, but I did read about the results. A TKO ruling seems to be building momentum for The Beast Incarnate. Could this mean another build as a monster heel until next year’s WrestleMania?

Could that momentum entail a rematch against Goldberg himself as teased by this 2K17 promo?

After all, Lesnar did declare that he was next.

Since Lesnar devastated Orton and then Shane McMahon, could it be possible that he’ll continue to reign down destruction on the WWE Universe until Goldberg is called upon to take him down at the Show of Shows?

Who knows, but speculation is fun at this point, especially if it turns out that a second WrestleMania match occurs to make up for the previous one.

Either way, things are going to get interesting.