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MUUG Monthly Meetings for 2016-17

Please note our new meeting location: 2L17 Lockhart Hall, University of Winnipeg, entrance on Ellice Ave. between Spence and Balmoral St. (Check out the UofW's maps for nearby parking locations.)

September 13, 2016: Midnight Commander

Brian Lowe demonstrated and discussed Midnight Commander. It is a text-mode console-based file manager that combines a pair of easy to navigate file panels with a command line. Together they provide a powerful and versatile environment for viewing, moving, and copying files and directories.

RTFM: cal

This month, Brad Vokey demonstrated cal(1), a simple calendar display program for the command line. Brad showed us some neat tricks about this useful tool, and a couple of its variants, ncal and gcal (GNU cal).

October 11, 2016: Introducing Physical Computing

Davidian Chorley was our presenter this month. Introducing Physical Computing was a presentation on computing devices with GPIOs. General Purpose Input/Outputs allow interfacing with a huge variety of hardware. Davidian discussed several platforms that implement GPIOs, why one might want to use them, his own projects and various common and creative uses for physical computing. Platforms covered were Raspberry Pi and Raspbian (Debian), Arduino (the device and IDE), and MBED programable devices from the ARM processor platform.

Daemon-Dash: tinc

For this month's Daemon-Dash segment, Mark Jenkins presented tinc, "a Virtual Private Network (VPN) daemon that uses tunnelling and encryption to create a secure private network between hosts on the Internet."

November 8, 2016: Powerland Technology Announcement

The presentation this month featured guest presenter Neil Thomson, from Powerland Computers. Neil is a senior solution architect at Powerland, with over 35 years of hardware experience. He reminisced about the good old days and how things have changed, and presented some of the latest technology announced by Intel (including a peek at the current and next two generations of CPU's), HP (including a look at "The Machine"), as well as other technology changes that are coming (like persistent memory and how that will impact I/O architectures).

Daemon-Dash: nginx

For this month's Daemon-Dash, Paul Sierks presented nginx, a high-performance web server using a modular event-driven architecture. Paul showed various simple configurations and demoed the results.


Plus, this month's meeting was the MUUG annual general meeting, which included the election of the MUUG board of directors for the 2016-2017 year (by acclamation).

December 13, 2016: Designing Passwords - The Mnemonic Evolution of Password Generation

17-year MUUG member Ihor Jakowec presented some interesting techniques for remembering long passwords by taking advantage of visual memory hints and kinesthetic memory (or "dance moves" as he calls it), as well as some more unusual techniques he's working on.

January 10, 2017: Webmin

"Webmin is a web-based interface for system administration for Unix. Using any modern web browser, you can setup user accounts, Apache, DNS, file sharing and much more. Webmin removes the need to manually edit Unix configuration files like /etc/passwd, and lets you manage a system from the console or remotely." Adam Thompson demonstrated the installation and use of Webmin as an alternative to editing config files and using the command line.

RTFM: fio

This month's RTFM was presented by Wyatt Zacharias, who talked about the fio(1) command. The "flexible I/O tester," fio is "a tool that will spawn a number of threads or processes doing a particular type of I/O action," usually "to write a job file matching the I/O load one wants to simulate."

February 21, 2017: VSftpd, and Fixing drive sector SMART errors

This month, there wasn't a full-length presentation, but rather two shorter topics:

Daemon-Dash: vsftpd

Wyatt Zacharias presented VSFTPD - the very secure FTP daemon. VSFTPD supports FTP and FTPS protocols, and boasts being one of the fastest and most secure FTP daemons available. Wyatt demoed running the daemon with various configuration files, for both anonymous and authenticated modes, chroots, whitelists, and more.

RTFM: Fixing drive sector SMART errors

Ruh roh!
Device: /dev/sdb [SAT], 5 Offline uncorrectable sectors.
7 Currently unreadable (pending) sectors.
Those just flashed across your console. Is your hard drive dying? Panic time? Not so fast: Trevor Cordes showed how to gracefully repair such errors, using both the smartctl(8) command (to run tests, review results, and clear errors) and the hdparm(8) command (to force the read or write/repair of individual sectors by LBA), allowing you to delay or obviate RMAs or replacement drive purchases.

Trevor has made his notes available online.

March 14, 2017: Pi-hole: Network-wide Ad Blocking

Daemon-Dash: Pi-hole

Pi-hole turns your Raspberri Pi (or other supported devices) into a network-wide ad blocker, using DNS redirection. It promises to block over 100,000 ad-serving domains, improve overall network performance and reduce cellular data usage, on any device. Gilbert Detillieux demonstrated the installation process and typical use of Pi-hole on a Raspberry Pi (after all, it was Pi Day!) and described some pros and cons of the installation method used, as well as some pros and cons of using an ad blocker on your network.

RTFM: shred

This month's RTFM was presented by Wyatt Zacharias, who talked about the shred(1) command, which allows you to overwrite a file to hide its contents, and optionally delete it.

April 11, 2017: BTRFS

Paul Sierks presented BTRFS, the B-Tree filesystem. BTRFS is a copy-on-write filesystem that brings a number of improvements over the typical journaled filesystem and adds features previously missing such as snapshots, checksumming and pooling.

RTFM: man

Brad Vokey presented (briefly) man(1), the UNIX manual page viewer, as well as man(7) and mdoc(7), two sets of macros and style conventions for formatting man pages. Additionally Brad showed how to quickly create a basic man page on your own.

May 9, 2017: An Introduction to Linux on Azure

Microsoft has made Linux a "First Class" citizen on Azure. In this presentation by John Lange, we covered some Azure basics, then dove into setting up our first Linux systems on Azure and revealed some of the hidden benefits of using a public cloud to run and manage Linux virtual machines. As a demo, John set up a small domain managed Linux cluster with load balancing, automatic failover, and automated management.

Daemon-Dash: Let's Encrypt

Adam Thompson gave a short tutorial on Let's Encrypt: the up-and-coming, and free (as in beer), way to obtain hitherto costly SSL/TLS certificates for your web servers. Adam described how Let's Encrypt works, and how to set up a certificate and automatically renew it using one of several ACME clients.

June 13, 2017: BSDCan 2017 Report

Adam Thompson reported on his recent visit to the 14th annual BSDCan. BSDCan, a BSD conference held in Ottawa, Canada, quickly established itself as the technical conference for people working on and with 4.4BSD based operating systems and related projects. The organizers have found a fantastic formula that appeals to a wide range of people from extreme novices to advanced developers. (Access to BSD developers is one of the big reasons Adam keeps going to this conference.)

Daemon-Dash: rsync

In the Daemon-Dash segment, Wyatt Zacharias demoed the rsync daemon. When run as a daemon, rsync allows clients to directly connect and retrieve files, without the need for SSH encapsulation or shell access. Wyatt demoed several configuration files, and showed their effects on file access and authentication.

July 2017: No meeting this month

August 2017: No meeting this month

Please note our new meeting location: 2L17 Lockhart Hall, University of Winnipeg, entrance on Ellice Ave. between Spence and Balmoral St. (Check out the UofW's maps for nearby parking locations.)

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