CANCELLED: June: Inkscape and Adventures in Codeland

We have had to cancel this meeting due to the speakers, meeting chair, and Vice President all being unwell (!). Nothing serious for any of them (and negative rapid-antigen tests), but we understand that people are extra-cautious given the COVID-19 pandemic. We have asked the speakers to reschedule and hope to see you all next month.

July: Face Your Daemons

7pm, Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Topic 1/2: systemd: Heresy and Hearsay

Speaker: Tom Ryder

Of all the holy wars for GNU/Linux systems, the dominance of systemd is among the most controversial, with one suite of tightly-coupled software tools taking over so much of the system above the kernel. Being deeply unpopular in traditionalist Unix circles for his systemd apologia, Tom will attempt to explain himself for holding his more nuanced position.

Tom is a bearded chap, and hacks facing black screens with white writing for Inspire Net…a fan of Vim, and tappy-tappy over clicky-clicky.

PLUG Vice President John Flower’s succinct biography

Topic 2/2: Docker and WSL in Windows

Speaker: John Eyres

John Eyres will demonstrate the use of Docker and WSL in Windows with VSCode, continuing on Nick’s WSL topic from last month.

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November: Azuracast & AV1 Addendum

7pm, Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Topic 1/2: Azuracast

Speaker: Nick Skarott

Azuracast is an open source Internet radio automation solution deployable via Docker or Ansible. Nick will explain how he has used it to stream his own content over the Internet to enjoy on the run anywhere there is a mobile
data connection.

Topic 2/2: AV1 Part Deux – Developments and VMAF

Speaker: Nick Skarott

Just over one year ago Nick demonstrated at PLUG the beginnings of the next generation open source video codec, AV1. A lot has changed in that time in the AV1 space and it’s fitting to look at the developments, and in
particular, the work NetFlix has done (and then open sourced) with the University of Southern California and the Laboratory for Image and Video Engineering at University of Texas’ Austin campus, called VMAF.

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October: A rocky outcrop.

Date: 7pm, Wednesday, 14 October 2020

As the internet grows into every corner of our lives, so too does pervasive surveillance within it. Your activity can be intercepted, analysed, and abused by many interested parties, from credit card thieves to abusive nation-states. The privacy implications of everything being networked in this way are enormous, and in most cases very poorly understood by the general public. Worse, unscrupulous and incompetent vendors take advantage of this confusion, and peddle white-labelled security snake-oil that gives users a false sense of security.

A better option for defending yourself from such surveillance is the use of the Tor network, which routes your internet traffic through multiple computers on the internet in such a way that your privacy is protected. Tom will explain the basics of how Tor works, and list some of the benefits and caveats in using it.

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July: Some Git with a Radio

7pm, Wednesday, 08 July 2020


Speaker: Joseph Calkin

Joseph will talk about why Git is useful for version control. How it compares with SVN and how to use it.

Expanding Horizons

The Intersection of Amateur Radio and Computing

Speaker: Giovanni Moretti – ZL2GX and Graeme – ZL2GZ

Amateur radio is a hobby of exploring the limits of radio, electronics and digital technologies. Once licensed, you’re allocated a worldwide-unique callsign and can operate (and build) radio equipment capable of international and space-based communication.

Being an interest centred on electronic communication, there’s naturally a strong overlap with computing, with Arduino and Raspberry Pi and Linux being widely used. There are many facets to the hobby ranging from the seriously technical through to providing communications support for search-and-rescue (SAR), Civil Defence and Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (AREC).

In this talk, we’ll will give an overview, including how you can:

communicate internationally from your backyard (without the Internet or cell phones)
use both voice and digital modes on-air
design and build radio transceivers and antennas
send signals 2000km using just a Raspberry Pi and a micro-transmitter.
use Linux to link into international Internet-linked DMR and DStar (digital mode radio) networks
become involved in the ongoing efforts to build a regional radio-linked TCP mesh network

Should any of these pique your interest, we’ll finish by outlining how you can become licensed.

Continue reading “July: Some Git with a Radio”