YouTuber Spotlight – Hak5

Technically “Hak5Darren,” but we can get past silly technicalities when talking about the longest running tech show that I’ve been interested in on YouTube – ever.  🙂  Hak5 is a hacker/security/modder/tinkerer show that in no small way has influenced The Wacky World Of MultimediaJay and its more offbeat approach to things.  Plus their distinct lack of drama and insistence on keeping ownership of certain rights when joining networks has contributed to the show’s longevity in a day and age when even web shows can be cancelled on a whim like it’s still TV (TekZilla -> TekThing anyone?).

Two freebies for those wondering about this show’s influence on me.  The raster clips for time lapses in my videos hail back to the early days of Hak5 when they still called it “Hak Point 5” and “Jay’s Geekhouse” was at least partially inspired by the old “Hak 5 House.”  🙂

Channel Overview:

Hak5 was first introduced to me as a hacker show which doesn’t do the show justice.  It’s more along the lines of tinkering with things.  Part of that of course is hacking and network security, but I’ve also seen my fair share of mods, voiding warranties, snooping around “under the hood” of certain devices, and even iconic pet named tech thingies like the WiFi Pineapple.  🙂  Calling it a hacker show clouds what the show’s about and gets people thinking Hackers Vs. Security Admins at Defcon or something.  😛  Needless to say, as one of my favorite shows of all time on YouTube with a ton of longevity to boot, it’s definitely worth watching. 🙂

What First Got Me Watchin’:

Hak5 is basically the last remaining show that I still watch from the IPTV Introduction I watched on TechAnvil’s long gone channel back when he was doing Tech Vlogs in 2006.  (The exception being TWiT, which was audio at the time as Leo had returned to his radio roots).  Yes, we’re talking about vintage YouTube here from when I was first getting started 10 years ago, a.k.a. back in the day.  🙂  Nowadays the video is a who’s-who of shows that aren’t around anymore – except Hak5 of course.  🙂

The show being described as “hack scene” kind of veered me away for a bit due to my more multimedia presentation focus, but ultimately my curiosity got the better of me…  🙂

Fun stuff.  I was thinking I’d be looking at a Linux command prompt for an hour, but in my younger and dumber days (emphasis on the dumber) the idea of “hacking” meaning modding something was… a tad of something I hadn’t considered.  :o)

I actually sent the USB Hacksaw to the security admins at my 925 at the time and they were like, “Whoa hadn’t thought of that.”  Been paranoid about USB Autorun ever since.  🙂

By season 3, Hak5 was a show I wanted to binge watch.  Screw Netflix.  😛

I made plans to binge-watch from the beginning, and….  I’m still making plans all these years later.  😛  Duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh lol.  :o)

I still watch the show, but just not in the way I wanted to back in the day…  🙂

The Hak5 Channel Today:

Besides still being around, Hak5 has become an umbrella of sorts.  Today they’re hacking things in 2 seconds apparently…  🙂

For things that just can’t wait until the next Hak5 show, they have ThreatWire, the first of their other shows I found out about.  🙂

TekThing is under their umbrella too these days.  Makes me wonder if the Hak5 folks are out to rival the TWiT network…  🙂  So long as what happened with Revision 3 doesn’t happen with these groups anytime soon.

This entry has been a long time in coming, but here’s to wishing all the best for Hak5 for decades to come.  🙂  They also have handled team changes exceptionally well too, so I’d say they even serve as a great example of how to develop a show like this in the first place.  🙂

Let’s close with a recent experiment of theirs with 360 degree video.  Cool stuff for the up-and-coming VR technology out there.  🙂

Trust Your Technolust indeed.  🙂


SteamOS And Mainstream Gaming On Linux – Gabe Newell Does It Again :-)

Sooo….. Is this guy a visionary, a revolutionary, or both?  🙂

Valve Fires Up SteamOS, Its Bid For Living Room PC Gaming

I’m very very impressed that Valve is trying to bring widespread gaming support to Linux via SteamOS and the Steam client for Linux.  I’ve had a long-running interest in Linux for years that has been held back largely by things like a lack of proper gaming support versus Windows and DirectX.  Sure companies could make Linux ports of PC games, but usually it was one of those “wouldn’t it be nice if…” things.  If Valve offers SteamOS and the Steam Linux client as a mainstream gaming option on Linux it will most certainly be a game changer.

Windows has been ticking more than a few people off lately with Windows 8, but if we combine this SteamOS thing with Gabe Newell’s interest in having apps available for Steam in addition to games, if properly deployed Valve could easily be the big Linux backer that finally drives Linux into the mainstream and gives Windows a run for its money.  My only concern with Linux would be the Linux community itself, which contains more than a few people who wouldn’t want a large company like Valve throwing around significant Linux influence.  To keep them from thinking SteamOS is a redux of the Red Hat Linux controversy from a few years ago Valve should make SteamOS and the Steam Linux client be completely interchangeable so that  the anti-corporate Linux users can game as well if they don’t trust Valve to do the right thing with SteamOS.

…and on top of all of this there’s supposed to be another announcement later this week about Steam’s plans to get more involved with hardware.  September 25th at 10:00 AM PDT.  Hmm…  🙂  Watch This Space.  🙂

A Good Hard Look At The Newegg Linux RMA Fiasco…

I’ve been at wit’s end with a lot of things in the past week and a half, but sadly no thanks to this little situation Newegg’s now one of them.  :-\  This is really a bad thing because November 1st is the 10 year anniversary of when I placed my first ever order with them, so to have all this stuff coming up right before this big milestone is really a humongous slap in the face.  =(

Earlier this week, the “Take It From A Geek” people sold a “geek” a laptop, and like many geeks out there, said geek put Linux on it.  Apparently, that rendered the laptop unreturnable according to Newegg’s policies, except at the time this happened, had one taken a look at Newegg’s return policies, they’d see that said policies mentioned absolutely nothing about a laptop that had its OS changed.

Here’s the Consumerist articles thusfar:

Apparently the latest update as of this blog entry is that Newegg made an exception because of what happened, but it’ll just be an exception, and I checked the return policies for computers before typing this, and they still say nothing about installing Linux on a laptop.  With these things in mind though, I decided to do some thinking of my own on this and chime in on the situation.

If I were Newegg, I would update my policies, and set a new policy that if the user changed the OS on a computer, they’d need to restore the original OS before returning a laptop in order to be able to return it.  Basically, Newegg is all about “geeks” according to all their marketing stuff these days, but it’s fully understandable that geeks might want to mess around with Linux from time to time (the running joke I keep hearing is, “I even put Linux on my wristwatch!”  :-D), but if they have the geek skills to mess with Linux in the first place, they should be more than capable of reimaging to the original OS before sending a computer back.  Even if the computer doesn’t come with a restore CD like most machines these days I’d still say use whatever the built-in utility is to back everything up in case the machine needed to go back.

It’s fully understandable that Newegg would want returned computers to have their original OS.  Newegg of course has B-stock or refurb sales from time to time and it’s good that they keep their unopened stock and returned/opened stock separate.  Some places out there don’t, so it’s good that Newegg is on the right side of the ethical divide here and not one of those cheesy places where buying something “new” runs a sizable risk of the customer getting someone else’s return at a new price.  Therefore it’s quite understandable that for testing purposes when machines come back or to be assured that the device could be sold at a B-stock sale that the original OS is running on the machine, including the original license key, etc.

If the customer put Linux on a machine, what’s stopping them from taking it off?  Linux is synonymous with geek in terms of OS installations, but if the original OS can be reinstalled before returning a computer, why not?  If the hard drive seizes up and the machine completely won’t boot then that’s a completely different story, but if there’s any way to reinstall the original OS, someone who can put Linux on a machine should certainly be able to handle a Windows reimage job.  🙂

Newegg should, however, update their policies to cover OS changes and allow for restored machines to be returned after being restored to the original OS.  The biggest source of the drama here is the computer return policy that only covers hardware.  At the same time, software should be treated as software, able to be removed and restored if need be, kind of like reinstalling an OS after the wrong part of it goes corrupt, etc.  Once that is updated, if the customer had a chance to restore an OS before returning a PC and didn’t then it comes down to simple laziness on the customer’s part and Newegg would be a lot more justified in refusing a return like that once they put everything in writing.

Hopefully Newegg can get past all of this and return to the service-oriented eTailing that has made them what they are.  These kinds of incidents though sometimes get me wondering whether Newegg has started to drink too much of the big company bureaucracy Kool Aid or not.  :-\

Newegg Picks Up The Ball… QUICKLY!!! :-)

Okay, so the title doesn’t make very much sense, but Newegg apparently has recognized that yes geeks will sometimes put Linux on computers they buy.  😛  Now they’ve landed on The Consumerist for better reasons than what happened yesterday.  🙂

Wish I could work for these folks.  I’ve been a fan of this company for years and they’ve been a big inspiration in how obsessed I am with customer service.  It’d be cool if I could “give back” at some point.  Not so sure about living out in California or New Jersey though…  :-\

Eh well.  Kudos to Newegg yet again.  🙂

Newegg Drops The Ball … HARD >:-(

With the kind of company Newegg has been over the years, I should *NEVER* see them in The Consumerist, and if I do, definitely not for something like this.  😛

Ouch.  Are you kidding me?  The “take it from a geek” folks can’t handle selling a computer to a …. *drumroll* …. geek  *cymbal* who then puts Linux on their computer?  Who exactly do they think their customer base consists of?  😛  Wonder if they’d process the RMA if the customer put Windows back on the machine and tried sending it back.

The worst part is the lack of language in the Returns policy to cover this kind of stuff.  Ouch.  That brings the lawyers a-runnin’ from far and wide.  😛

I hope The Consumerist follows up on this story.  😛