Category: Unix

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.

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.

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.

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!

Issue #8 is Now Available!

An unopened Zip disk and Red Hat 5.2
Steven Tompkins really outdid himself with this find.

The newest issue of The *Nixed Report digital magazine is now available in PDF.  This is the second issue that was created and edited using Google Drive.  This is a technology-focused issue, so Overlooked Pop Culture won’t be as prevalent.

In this Issue

  • ./: Steven Tompkins acquired an old ZIP disk (never been opened) and a copy of Red Hat Linux 5.2
  • DistroJourney: Fedora 20 is the first stop for this year’s journey.
  • Low Power Revolution: We take a look at the ARM-based Samsung Chromebook and Steven Tompkins’s Raspberry Pi.

The magazine may be downloaded here.

Good News Saturday: Austin Evans

Picture of Austin Evans
He runs a popular YouTube channel that focuses on computers, mobile devices, and more.

This individual has a popular YouTube Channel that covers technology.  Some of his videos include browser tests, mobile device reviews, and more.

A techie at heart, he had the misfortune of a fire at his apartment.  He was able to get out, but most of his stuff was destroyed.

He goes through everything in a video, and an interesting thing happened.

While going through misfortune, he manages to keep a level head.  He even manages to crack some jokes in the video below.

 

 

Throwback Thursday: Dial-Up

Old School Modem
Image Courtesy of Leon Brooks under Public Domain.

By Thomas Holbrook II

I went to school at the Leeton R-X school district in Missouri.  The computer lab was quite humble.

There were mostly DOS machines with some Windows 3x machines connected together via Novel Netware.  It wasn’t until about 1996 that Internet access became available.

Before I graduated high school in 2002, we had one major upgrade.  Windows 98 with Office 2000.  It’s amazing how a school could fall behind on technology.

At least the Internet connection was fast.  I remember to this day having to deal with dial-up.  It was mostly through my dad’s AOL connection, and heaven help me if I had any Windows Updates.

This was before I delved into this thing known as Linux, or rather GNU/Linux.  One of the reasons I wanted to have regular access to hi speed Internet was due to the prevalence of soft modems.

Linux-based drivers were difficult to come by back then.

Access via Ethernet was an appropriate way around that problem.  I do have fond memories of dial up, though I’ll admit that I’d be frustrated today, though not nearly as much as with a mobile hotspot that’s going at Edge Network speeds.

Truth be told, I came into the computer culture late in the game.  I never got to experience the dial-in BBS’es that others had the pleasure of using to talk to each other and trade files with.

It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I actually utilized IRC.  I can only imagine the amount of lag from all the conversations at once.

These days, I feel fortunate.  There’s a straight up monthly fee for access (while a price guarantee is in effect).  Long distance fees for access are a thing of the past.

Yet I still remember the excitement while exploring vast communities and dreaming of things that I wouldn’t have otherwise attempted to accomplish.

Dial-up modems still exist to this day, and there are still plenty of dial-up users out there.  Sometimes, the old reliable is all that’s needed.  Hopefully, I won’t have to use that as an only option.

With that said, I appreciate the legacy.  What are your memories of dial-up access?

Wednesday Weekly Links: February 5, 2014

Wednesday Weekly Links

Ah, the month of February.  Cupid is in the air, and love is all around us.  Sometimes that feeling shows itself in strange ways, especially this week.

There’s creative amusing love, reciprocated love, tough love, and more.  This week, we’ll explore a few examples both in the technology and pop culture realms.

Unix

  • Nixie Pixel: Her site is full of tech, video games, and all around nerdiness.  After seeing her respond on Slashdot to both positive and negative comments, it was only fitting to have her site linked this week.
    Screenshot of Nixie Pixel's comment on Slashdot defending herself against negative comments and appreciating positive feedback.
    Well articulated defense!

     

  • Toshiba Chromebook Hits the Scene (MaximumPC): Google’s cloud-based OS is finding itself on more devices.  Toshiba’s offering is Intel-based and has a 720p webcam, which means high quality video for YouTube.  One can either get it from the company for $300 USD or from other venues for $280 USD when it becomes available.
  • The Day the Light Came On for Eddie (FOSS Force): Ken “helios” Starks tells the story of a teen wanting to learn Python as well as an offer made to a family member regarding their GPA and a new computer.  It’s a heart warming story.

 

Overlooked Pop Culture

  • Maddox Responds to Backlash Against Coca-Cola: Coca-Cola’s Super Bowl ad with America the Beautiful being sung in multiple languages has caused quite a stir.  Maddox responds with an image of his own, and sometimes pictures are worth a thousand words.  It’s well worth the read, especially given the hypocrisy of today’s society.
  • Maddox Responds to “Inspiration:” Why link to his site twice in the same week?  Simple.  He’s Maddox.  While there are times for inspiration and positive thinking, people sometimes take things a bit too far as he illustrates in his piece against the motivational speaking industry.
  • Snow Day Announced Creatively (KSHB): Tim Reves, the Principal of Cedar Creek Elementary announced a snow day over the phone to his students to the tune of What Does the Fox Say.  Needless to say, nobody asked how Reves felt.