Some of our members have been asking about the Let’s Encrypt project that allows your web server to have an easy, validated SSL certificate for their web site. Having encryption is nice, but the ease of getting a certificate causes some concern about a site’s identity. For more information: letsencrypt.org
A rep from Lewis and Clark High School’s CyberPatriots team attended the meeting to talk about their program and perhaps recruit a speaker for their meeting. The CyberPatriots meet after school to practice defending and securing computers and servers from attack. http://www.spokaneschools.org/lewisclark
Random projects dept. Vagrant: Create and configure lightweight, reproducible, and portable development environments. https://www.vagrantup.com/
Ruby: “a programmer’s best friend” A dynamic, open source programming language with a focus on simplicity and productivity. It has an elegant syntax that is natural to read and easy to write. Our members say: “Ruby—slow but great language”. Visit https://www.ruby-lang.org/ for more info.
Distros we are testing out: Xubuntu is an elegant and easy to use operating system. Xubuntu comes with Xfce, which is a stable, light and configurable desktop environment. Xubuntu is perfect for those who want the most out of their desktops, laptops and netbooks with a modern look and enough features for efficient, daily usage. It works well on older hardware too. Linux Mint wins the poll for which distro would be easiest for new Linux users to try out. I’m spending some time with Debian 8.4 with the Gnome 3 option and I’m very impressed. The Super Key is active by default for quickly locating apps and files—a faster way to navigate than hunting through menus. Check out the “The Universal Operating System” for yourself at: https://www.debian.org/
What is Tor? Tor is free software and an open network that helps you defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Fun project to test out; our members caution that it can be very slow however, so it is not for high-bandwidth applications. https://www.torproject.org
If you need to annotate a pdf file give Xournal a try. Xournal is an application for note taking, sketching, or keeping a journal using a stylus. It is free software (GNU GPL) and runs on Linux (recent distributions) and other GTK+/Gnome platforms. It is similar to Microsoft Windows Journal or to other alternatives such as Jarnal, Gournal, and NoteLab. I recently tested it for adding some quick notes to a pdf file and found it easy to use.