February: Raspberry Pi 5 and ArchiveBox


7pm, Wednesday, 14 February 2023

Topic 1/2: “Pi”wer Overwhelming

Speaker: Nick Skarott

The Raspberry Pi is the credit-card sized computer we all know and love. Nick has spent the Christmas break getting to grips with the latest iteration, and what makes the Pi 5 an even bigger upgrade than the previous generation was.

Topic 2/2: Web archiving with ArchiveBox

Speaker: Tom Ryder

Web pages staying online has never been very reliable, but over the past few years in particular, link rot has got a lot worse, especially as information centralises onto big proprietary platforms whose providers don’t have much of an interest in keeping things online. The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine can often rescue a page for you, but it can’t capture everything, all the time. What if you could have your own archive of web pages, so you could easily save content exactly as it appears in case it gets taken down, trying multiple methods of saving to do so? This is what ArchiveBox allows. Tom will give a brief demonstration of ArchiveBox for day-to-day personal use.

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December: Pizza!

It’s been a great year for PLUG, and you’re invited to celebrate with us, with some pizza and good company!

Weather permitting, we will meet at The Esplanade, at the tables near the paddling pool, on Wednesday December 13th, at 6pm.

The weather did not permit! We will instead meet at Milson Community Centre, our usual venue, on Wednesday December 13th, at 6:30pm—note, too, the change of time!

Please bring $10 in cash to contribute to the pizza. Also bring along anything else you’d like to eat.

Family and curious friends are welcome, as always.

We’ll look forward to seeing you all there!

November: Lightning talks 2023


7pm, Wednesday, 8 November 2023

For the last meeting of the year with technical presentations, we’re trying something a little different: lightning talks, shorter talks of up to 10 minutes each in length, focussing on some detail of a technical topic. We have the following speakers and topics scheduled, probably in this order:

* Nick Skarott: ::dead:beef:cafe: How far will pure IPv6 get you over the Internet?
* Chris Winkworth: Dashboard for the homelab
* Brendon Green: Qubes OS
* Josh Sunnex: Headless Steam in Docker
* Stephen Worthington: SATA hotplug problems (low-power-mode)
* William Bell: Infrastructure as code
* Tom Ryder: yt-dlp and gallery-dl
* Giovanni Moretti: Nostr: Truly distributed Notes and Other Stuff via Relays

Please note these may change before the night, in which case we’ll endeavor to update them here. Also, if you’re not on the list and would like to speak about a FOSS-related topic, it’s not too late—please reach out to Tom Ryder at secretary@plug.org.nz.

Let’s see how well this goes—PLUG members are a friendly and engaged audience, and precedent suggests we just enjoy meeting up anyway, even if the organisers or technical presentations have problems coming together. If it works, your humble secretary would like to see it become an annual event.

Note that it’s likely that we’ll meet in December, but we don’t usually book talks for December meetings. Instead, this will be a more social gathering, possibly even outside in nice weather (!). Details will be posted here as usual. Technical talks should resume in February 2024.


Milson Community Centre


$2 gold coin donation

Coffee and biscuits will be provided, but please feel free to bring along your own snacks and drinks.

Agenda (rough)

  • 7:00pm: Welcome (Tom Ryder)
  • 7:10pm: Lightning talks begin
  • 7:50pm: Tea and coffee break
  • 8:10pm: General business (Nick Skarott)
  • 8:20pm: Resume lightning talks
  • 9:00pm: Doors close

October: Homelab CGNAT and udev interface names


7pm, Wednesday, 11 October 2023

Topic 1/2: Homelab 102—Defeating CGNAT

Speaker: Nick Skarott

One of the big barriers to a happy homelab life is IPv4 CGNAT. For some providers, it’s a necessary evil that they have to use to support their customer bases, with no opt-out—but not all hope is lost! In part two of this series, Nick will discuss the options to get around the CGNAT scourge, using options ranging from Cloudflare Tunnel to using an overlay or VPN from a public facing VPS.

Topic 2/2: Renaming Network Interfaces With udev

Speaker: Stephen Worthington

Or: “Can I get my eth0, eth1, … back again?”

Linux now uses “predictable network interface names” (for example, enp4s0), which are hard to type and to remember. And can still sometimes change between boots. A lot of users would prefer to go back to the much more friendly eth0, eth1, … names. So we will be looking at how udev creates names for the network interfaces, and workarounds to get more friendly names back again. This will be specifically about Ubuntu, as other distros have variations in how they handle all of this.

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ManawaTech Mega Meetup: 26 October 2023

Hello PLUG members; Steve Pavarno of ManawaTech invites us all to the Mega Meetup in October. Details are:

When: Thu 26th Oct 2023, 5:30 pm–8:30 pm NZDT
Where: Victory Venue, 20 Rangitikei Street, Palmerston North

Our regular Mega Meetup returns! This is a mostly social event with food and drink provided by the event sponsors. Come along to make new connections in the local tech scene, meet old friends, and find out whats happening around here. Speakers will be brief but interesting. A number of groups will be in the room for you to talk to. If you are looking for work, bring a 1 page CV ready for the Employment Corner.

Sponsor/speaker to be announced shortly.

Summer of Tech will have 3 minutes to demonstrate their (well designed) internship search tool and talk about how to hire interns from all over the country.

Attendance is free. RSVP is required for catering, so please register here if you plan to come along: https://events.humanitix.com/mega-meetup

Any questions about the event should go to Steve at info@manawa.tech.

September: Inkscape text and homelabs


7pm, Wednesday, 13 September 2023

Topic 1/2: Text in Inkscape

Speaker: John Flower

Learn about how Inkscape can make words look cool. John will demonstrate features such as how to put text on curves, add outlines to make words pop, or adjust opacity so they don’t.

Topic 2/2: How to: HOMELAB—The basics

Speaker: Nick Skarott

This year we’ve seen many examples of computer users building a “Homelab” environment to either make their lives easier in the computer world or to upskill. But do you really need old enterprise gear that gobbles enough power to make the lights dim when you turn them on? The answer may surprise you as Nick outlays how you too can get into homelabbing simply and easily without feeding your entire wallet to the local energy concern.

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August: GIMP and media *arrs


7pm, Wednesday, 9 August 2023

Topic 1/2: GIMP: Green Is My Pepper

Speaker: Tom Ryder

The GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) is 25 years old this year, and still actively developed. For a long time, it had the unenviable job of being the GNU/Linux desktop’s only answer to the Adobe Creative Suite, and it didn’t benefit from the comparison on its own. Nowadays, however, it has a much better-defined place in raster image manipulation and composition, complementing other free image software like Darktable (photography), Krita (drawing), Inkscape (vectors), Blender (3-D modelling), and ImageMagick (batch/scripting).

Tom is not a graphic designer, but still finds he wants to edit and compose raster images a lot, even for something as simple as making memes or desktop backgrounds. He’ll show you a few of his favorite tips and tricks with GIMP, with the aim of surprising you at least a little. He’ll also show you where the configuration options are to fix the user interface, in order to make it less confusing.

Topic 2/2: The Wizard of Arrs

Speaker: Chris Winkworth

Chris will give a walk-through of all the “Arrs”, which are a set of media collection management and retrieval tools: Lidarr, Radarr, Readarr, and Sonarr. We’ll look at what they are used for in your home lab, including a look at Homepage for how you can see all your self-hosted projects in one simple place.

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July: Jellyfin and Infiniband


7pm, Wednesday, 12 July 2023

Topic 1/2: Jellyfin

Speaker: Nick Skarott

Jellyfin is the truly open‐source fork of the Emby project—an alternative to the Plex media server. Nick will go over the advantages and disadvantages of using Jellyfin over a “freemium” product like Plex or Emby.

Topic 2/2: Home Infiniband

Speaker: Stephen Worthington

If you want faster network connections, Infiniband is much faster than 10 Gbit/s Ethernet, and may also be cheaper. Come to this PLUG meeting and let me tell you about my experiences with installing and using 40 Gbit/s Infiniband at home.

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May: IPv6, SnapRAID, and mergerfs


7pm, Wednesday, 10 May 2023

Topic 1/2: IPv6: Kicking and Screaming

Speaker: Tom Ryder

You do have to use IPv6; you do have to learn it; you do have to deal with it. You cannot escape. IPv4 is exhausted, and Carrier-grade NAT is a fever dream from which you must awake. So: how would you like to do this? The hard way, or the even‐harder way?

Tom will give a state‐of‐the‐onion on IPv6, and explore how it improves on legacy IPv4, and some of the challenges and problems that have made adoption so slow and so difficult, with particular attention paid to the GNU/Linux networking stack. Please do not shoot your humble messenger.

Topic 2/2: SnapRAID and mergerfs

Speaker: Chris Winkworth

Chris Winkworth is a force of home‐networking nature that cannot be stopped. His ever‐expanding home server setup has storage needs beyond the ken of most mortals, and this month he will explain to us two new feathers in his cap: SnapRAID, a backup program for disk arrays, and mergerfs, a union filesystem to simplify storage and management of files over many devices.

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April: Desktop apps and LastPass post-mortem


7pm, Wednesday, 12 April 2023

Topic 1/2: Writing a Linux desktop app with a client library

Speaker: Scott Davies

Are you sick of editing text files manually and doing the same thing over and over in bash? I’ll use some simple scripts and a widget toolkit to show why GUI apps should not be forgotten. Simple Linux desktop apps are easy, they can save you time and they’re more friendly to others than the command line. And you don’t have to set up a web server, manually change user, or copy and paste anything every time before you can get things done. I might event drag in a example of using it with redis for storage, too.

Topic 2/2: LastPass post-mortem

Speaker: Nick Skarott

The 2022 LastPass hack exposed a huge amount of private user information, including stored password databases, and in doing so exposed some glaring security and process failures on LastPass’ part. Nick will explain what happened, and why.

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