Tonight's meeting was well attended and was an "open forum" with no formal presentation planned. We had some good discussions and conversation. Starting off, we had one person who had attended just once before and wanted to know which Linux he should load on his older Toshiba laptop (only 256 mb of ram). The group discussed several options, but considering that Linux is totally new to him, the consensus was Puppy Linux for a relatively familiar user interface and ease of use. CrunchBang was suggested as a next best option. Everyone agreed that whichever Linux he chose, he would definitely be happier with that laptop's performance if he upgraded/maxxed-out the memory.
Next up was a discussion of security, privacy, and maintaining anonymity on the web. The first we talked about was "CryptoParty" which is both a concept and a set of tools to maintain privacy. . . https://www.cryptoparty.in The conversation then went on to the Tor Project for on-line anonymity and privacy ( https://www.torproject.org ). This is includes a variety of tools including a "Tor Browser Bundle". The description from the Tor Project web site: "The Tor Browser Bundle software protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location, and it lets you access sites which are blocked." The Tor Browser Bundle is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. This software does not need to be installed and therefore can be run from a USB thumbdrive.
Another approach to web privacy is a software product called Tails ( https://tails.boum.org ). "Tails is a live operating system, that you can start on almost any computer from a DVD, USB stick, or SD card. It aims at preserving your privacy and anonymity, and helps you to: •use the Internet anonymously and circumvent censorship; all connections to the Internet are forced to go through the Tor network and leave no trace on the computer you are using unless you ask it explicitly and includes state-of-the-art cryptographic tools to encrypt your files, emails and instant messaging."
The evening concluded with a discussion of 3-D Printers. One of the latest things in the news is a young man that has developed an elegantly simple 3-D printer for under $100. It "prints" by using a laser beam to selectively coagulate and harden a liquid resin. It's called the "Peachy Printer" and can be found here: http://www.peachyprinter.com
Also, in the converstaion tonight was reference to several other websites: io9, make magazine, hack a day
One of our members (who was unable to attend) had requested that we consider changing our meeting night from the first Thursday. In the discussion, no one had a driving urge to change the date, time, or place. Everyone agreed that any change should be by an email poll of the members (with more consideration give to those that do attend on a regular basis) and dependent on the library's room availability (appropriate room with a projector). One young attendee suggested Fridays, but there wasn't much enthusiasm for that since Fridays are often the start to a weekend and/or evenings out. There does appear that one option might be to get it off the first Thursday and possibly move it to the third Thursday but an email poll will be sent out to try to build consensus with a possible change after the first of the year.
Thanks to Daryl Kurt for taking the meeting notes for tonights meeting.
Our next meeting will be on December 5th at 6:30 in our regular location at the Library. If you have something for the agenda that you would like to show or have questions on, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.