North Bay Linux Users’ Group

The North Bay Linux Users’ Group is a computer users serving the San Francisco North Bay and surrounding areas. We strive to promote Linux, Free Software, Open Source, open standards, and to generally have a good time by hosting social events that educate, allow members to share ideas and knowledge and to build friendships.

We hold regular meetings on the second Tuesday of each month with a selected topic presented by a guest speaker. Meetings and membership are free and open to the public. Please sign up for the announce mailing list to receive notifications of upcoming events, or join us on the talk mailing list or in IRC to get help with Linux.

general meeting

Linux on the Laptop 2017: A System76 Out-Of-Box experience

When: Tue September 12, 2017 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: Allan Cecil

Location: O'Reilly Media

You’ve probably heard of the mythical “Year of the Linux Desktop” for quite some time by now with the year seemingly always just around the corner. With Linux just now crossing the 3% install base threshold we may not be “there” yet but that’s not to say there aren’t some great companies out there making Linux-specific hardware. Case in point is the topic of this talk - System76 (http://system76.com) ships laptops in a range of sizes and configurations with Linux preloaded.

In this talk, I’ll demonstrate a new System76 Oryx Pro laptop and show off the current Out-Of-Box experience as well as their plans for their own distribution named Pop!_OS which is now in development. I’ll talk about what works well with their current software loadout and areas that still need improvement. I’ll also give an overview of the current state of driver support and touch on how that support dictated the hardware build of the laptop. I’ll leave plenty of time at the end for everyone to get some hands-on time as some things (such as what the keyboard and button layout feels like) can’t be demonstrated well from a projector.

Published Tue 12 September 2017 by Allan Cecil

general meeting

Lightning Talks & Hackfest

When: Tue August 08, 2017 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: Everyone

Location: O'Reilly Media

Lightning Talks: Have something you would like to present, but don’t have enough material for a full talk? Here’s your chance. Talk about anything Linux related.

Hackfest: Bring your hardware to get help with it or just to show it off.

Published Mon 21 August 2017 by Tom Most

general meeting

Metrics and Monitoring with collectd, InfluxDB, and Grafana

When: Tue July 11, 2017 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: Tom Most

Location: O'Reilly Media

Have you ever wondered what is clogging your Internet connection? Or if you ever use (or get) the bandwidth you pay for? The best way to know is to measure.

This presentation will discuss how to retrieve data from sources ranging from Linux hosts to network and IoT devices using collectd, then storing and graphing the data using InfluxDB and Grafana. The intended audience is technically-inclined home users and system administrators.

Published Sun 20 August 2017 by Tom Most

general meeting

Lightning Talks & Hackfest

When: Tue June 13, 2017 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: Everyone

Location: O'Reilly Media

Lightning Talks: Have something you would like to present, but don’t have enough material for a full talk? Here’s your chance. Talk about anything Linux related.

Hackfest: Bring your hardware to get help with it or just to show it off.

Published Sat 19 August 2017 by Tom Most

general meeting

Sex, Secret and God: A Brief History of Bad Passwords

When: Tue May 09, 2017 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: Kyle Rankin

Location: O'Reilly Media

Most of what we’ve been told over the years about what makes a good password has been wrong, so it’s no surprise most people pick bad passwords. This talk will cover the history of password policy and password cracking starting from the days when Richard Stallman hacked the passwords forced on his MIT computer lab because he considered passwords an authoritarian method of control. Next I’ll discuss the golden days of password guessing featured prominently in movies like Hackers and WarGames.

Then I’ll move to the tech boom and the introduction of draconian IT policies like password rotation and password complexity and the dirty little leet-speak password secrets they led to. As we get closer to the modern day I’ll discuss the “correct horse battery staple” password renaissance and more modern approaches to password cracking spawned by tools like oclhashcat and giant password databases dumps like the RockYou hack.

I’ll finish up with modern attempts to fix the password auth problem such as new approaches to secure password generation in password managers or schemes such as diceware as well as cover password auth reinforcements like the different forms of 2FA (including U2F) and Facebook’s new approach to “I forgot my password” workflows. By the end everyone should have plenty of ammunition to take back to their IT department and get rid of those horrible password policies.

Published Tue 18 April 2017 by Tom Most

general meeting

Let’s Encrypt on an nginx reverse proxy

When: Tue April 11, 2017 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: Allan Cecil

Location: O'Reilly Media

Description: Let’s Encrypt is a way for anyone to enable TLS (as in, HTTPS) support to a webserver at no cost. However, there are many security considerations involved with everything from certificate renewal to safe handling of the various files involved. In this talk and live demo I’ll cover how to create a reverse proxy using the nginx webserver that simultaneously allows multiple webservers to exist at one IP address and show how isolating Let’s Encrypt to a different system increases security. The talk will also cover more secure (and less risky) methods of automatic key renewal than the official, somewhat invasive renewal tool.

Published Sun 09 April 2017 by Tom Most

general meeting

Logo and the ContinuingLogo interpreter

When: Tue March 14, 2017 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: Andru Luvisi

Location: O'Reilly Media

ContinuingLogo is a recently written interpreter for the Logo programming language that is still in pre-alpha. It is mostly compatible with Brian Harvey’s UCBLogo interpreter and has some graphic and sound features inspired by Atari Logo for the Atari 800. Logo was created at MIT and BBN in the late 1960s as a language to support children in learning mathematical and logical thinking. Its most well known feature is turtle graphics, in which a “turtle” moves around on the screen as instructed, drawing a trail behind it.

This talk will consist of a brief tour of some of ContinuingLogo’s basic features, followed by demonstrations of several short example programs. Language demos will include an incredibly short pig Latin translator. Graphics demos will include spirals, fractals, line followers, and a traffic simulation. Sound demos will include the generation of music and sound effects, and illustrations of the relationship between sound frequencies and perceived musical notes. A few larger games will be demonstrated but not discussed line by line.

Published Fri 24 February 2017 by Tom Most

general meeting

Shareable Remote Linux Engineering Environments

When: Tue December 13, 2016 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: Allan Cecil

Location: O'Reilly Media

Working on an engineering project with more than one person is hard enough when everyone is in the same room. It’s more difficult when you have a team spread around the world and even more interesting if you’re working on a shared physical device. In this talk, I’ll discuss a remote engineering environment I created that allows contributors to connect to a standard Linux user account with a shared terminal (tmux), shared desktop (x2go with desktop sharing enabled), power and data control for a device under test (serial over USB), and even streaming video for viewing camera feeds (RTMP streaming from OBS Studio and viewed in VLC). This wide-ranging talk is appropriate for all levels of experience and will primarily be a series of live, remote demos.

Update: Allan has posted a video of the talk on YouTube.

Published Thu 08 December 2016 by Tom Most

general meeting

Lightning Talks, Elections, and Hackfest

When: Tue November 08, 2016 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: Everyone

Location: O'Reilly Media

Lightning Talks: Have something you would like to present, but don’t have enough material for a full talk? Here’s your chance. Talk about anything Linux related.

Elections: After the last lightning talk concludes we will hold our annual elections.

Hackfest: Bring your hardware or software project to get help with it or just to show it off.

Published Thu 03 November 2016 by Allan Cecil

general meeting

The Epiphany Chip and the Parallella Computer

When: Tue October 11, 2016 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: William Tracy

Location: O'Reilly Media

The Epiphany is a processor that tries to combine the best attributes of a CPU and a GPU. The Parallella is a single-board computer that runs Ubuntu, originally designed as a showcase for the Epiphany chip. I backed the original Kickstarter campaign for the Parallella in 2012. I will talk about my experience with the fundraising campaign, how the Epiphany and the Parallella are different from their predecessors, and the strengths and weaknesses of the Epiphany in practice.

Update: William has posted his slides.

Published Thu 15 September 2016 by Tom Most

general meeting

Gamify Security Training with Developer CTFs

When: Tue September 13, 2016 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: Kyle Rankin

Location: O'Reilly Media

Capture the Flag tournaments have long been used to test hacker skills but they can also serve as effective security training for developers. This talk will feature a case study where I turned teams of developers with no prior security training against each other in a CTF arena featuring their own applications and watched them rack up points as they popped shells in each other’s applications.

Published Fri 02 September 2016 by Tom Most

general meeting

How TASBot Exploits Video Game Consoles (DEF CON talk encore)

When: Tue August 09, 2016 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: Allan Cecil

Location: O'Reilly Media

This will be an encore presentation of a DEF CON talk given August 5th at 4:00 PM. TASBot is an augmented Nintendo R.O.B. robot that can play video games without any of the button mashing limitations us humans have. By pretending to be a controller connected to a game console, TASBot triggers glitches and exploits weaknesses to execute arbitrary opcodes and rewrite games. This talk will cover how these exploits were found and will explore the idea that breaking video games using Tool-Assisted emulators can be a fun way to learn the basics of discovering security vulnerabilities. An overview of some of the details that will be described in the talk can be found in an article I coauthored for the PoC||GTFO journal issue 0x10 (Pokemon Plays Twitch, page 6).

Published Wed 20 July 2016 by Allan Cecil

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