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Hello and Welcome,

New Date set for the AGM

In regard to the continued lockdown due to COVID and in discussion with our group's committee, it has been decided to defer our AGM until Tuesday 23 November 2021.

— Ron Ferguson

Schedule of Current & Upcoming Meetings ‡

56 2021/06/05 — 14:00-17:00 — 07 Aug, Sat — Penrith Group, Penrith City Library
57 2021/08/10 — 17:30-20:30 — 10 Aug, Tue — Programming via Jitsi
58 2021/08/13 — 10:00-12:30 — 13 Aug, Fri — Friday Forum, L1 Carmichael Room Cancelled
60 2021/08/17 — 09:30-12:30 — 17 Aug, Tue — Tuesday Group, L1 Woolley Room Cancelled
61 2021/08/21 — 13:30-16:30 — 21 Aug, Sat — Web Design via Zoom
62 2021/08/24 — 17:30-20:30 — 24 Aug, Tue — MAIN Meeting via Zoom
63 2021/08/27 — 09:30-12:30 — 27 Aug, Fri — Digital Photography via Zoom

‡ As decided after assessing the Members' wishes (resumption of face-to-face meetings) via the latest Online Survey.

Tech News:

Plex versus Kodi: Which Is Better for Home Streaming?

See the ReveiwGeek article by SUZANNE HUMPHRIES | @yeah_books | JAN 4, 2021, 8:00 am EDT.


Plex and Kodi are competing streaming media centres that people use to enjoy their collection of movies, TV shows, pictures, and music. While they both offer the same core functionality, the features they offer vary wildly, so we figured we'd take a look at both to see what makes them tick and which one is better.

Having a home-streaming setup is a great thing, which is why it's worth taking a moment to learn about the two most popular options. A media centre gives you a way to centralize your personal digital media files, like the movies and music you've acquired over the years, and easily access and view them on your TV or other device.

Plans and Pricing

Plex offers a free server-and-client model that's easy to use. All you have to do is download the Plex Media Server onto the device where you store your media, connect all of your media files, install and log into the app, and voilá! You're ready to go.

Plex also has a premium subscription service, dubbed Plex Pass, as an optional upgrade. There's a $4.99 monthly plan, a $39.99 annual plan, and a $119.99 lifetime plan, and they all unlock an impressive array of features.

Kodi, on the other hand, is a free local media player that runs on your computer, TV, mobile device, or streaming device. And because it's free, you won't ever have to worry about any of its functionality being locked behind a paywall. Every feature is always available to you, and you're even free to hop in and add some of your own, since it's open source.

Plex's Features

A Plex Media Server can store all of your movies, TV shows, photos, podcasts, news, and web shows, and it enables you to set up multiple profiles if you need. Because of its server-and-client design, you can access your Plex library from pretty much any platform and device in your home. And, if you set up correctly, you can even access it when you aren't on the same network, which makes it great for using on road trips.

Kodi's Features

Kodi is an open-source local media player that offers similar functionality to Plex, enabling you to centralize your collection of music, movies, TV shows, and photos. However, it's better suited for use in your home theater — whether via a Raspberry Pi or media centre computer that's connected to your TV — as it doesn't natively share your library with other devices or sync your library across multiple devices (though it is possible to set this up if you've got the know-how).

The Verdict

So, there you have it. While Plex and Kodi are both solid options for your home streaming setup and do a great job centralizing your media, they each have a unique feature set that's aimed at slightly different audiences. So, it's up to you to discern which one is a better fit for your needs (or maybe you'll decide you want to use both).

Plex is beautiful, boasts impressive device compatibility, and enables you to access and share your media library from multiple devices over the web. It's easy enough for anyone in your family to use, and also offers a robust premium plan to those who want more features. But, it lacks customization options and locks some of its best features behind said premium plan.

Kodi, on the other hand, is free and open source with powerful personalization options that are rewarding to those who have the know-how. It also has a healthy add-on ecosystem, and is well-suited for dedicated home theater setups. However, you can't access your content if you're away from home (at least not without great effort), and it doesn't offer the slick out-of-the-box usability that Plex does.

Still unsure? They're both free, so why not download each of them and determine for yourself which one works better.

Read More »

The ISS is Now Stable After Docked Russian Module Unexpectedly Fired Thrusters

See the ReviewGeek article by SUZANNE HUMPHRIES | @yeah_books | JUL 30, 2021, 2:30 pm EDT.

ISS, joined by Nauka

Russia's Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) successfully connected with the International Space Station on Thursday, July 29. Not long after, however, the flight control team noticed the module's thrusters were unexpectedly firing, temporarily pushing the station out of orientation.

Russian cosmonauts were preparing to open the hatches that would connect the Nauka to the ISS. The ship's movement thrusters started firing, and the space station began losing attitude control. That was problematic.

The ISS needs to maintain a certain attitude to keep its signal with geostationary satellites and continue communicating with Mission Control. The station's positioning needs to stay the same so that its solar arrays can optimally collect power. Its structure was also in jeopardy, as it was assembled in microgravity and designed to work in zero gravity. If its position was shifted too much, stress from G forces could cause cracks or other structural issues.

Since then, however, ground teams were quickly able to right the station and regain attitude control. No information was released regarding the seriousness of the situation. By Thursday afternoon, NASA officials held a briefing teleconference. Joel Montalbano, NASA's space station program manager, said, "Until you exhaust all your contingency plans, you're not really starting to worry. And we didn't do that today."

Unfortunately, the event caused a delay for Friday's scheduled launch of a Starliner spacecraft, which had already dealt with a previous delay in December of 2019 driven by software problems. Boeing has agreed to a second test mission of Starliner, which NASA moved to no earlier than Tuesday, August 3, at 1:20 pm EDT from Florida. If that goes according to plan, we can expect to see Starliner dock with the ISS on Wednesday, August 4.

In the meantime, Russian cosmonauts are continuing to work on integrating its large Nauka ship with the ISS. It features crew quarters and an airlock for scientific experiments. Neither the Russian crew nor the crew aboard the ISS was ever in danger from the thruster firing, and Mission Control Houston is now (more) closely monitoring the station in its orbit.

Read More »

Fun Facts:

An Interesting Trigonometry Sum

See the

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Bob Backstrom
~ Newsletter Editor ~

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