As an organization, DACS represents a wide variety of computer users and Internauts, from raw beginners to casual users to experienced technicians and dedicated nerds. When choosing programs for our General Meetings and content for our newsletter, we try to take account of this diversity by providing a mix of subject matter appropriate to each level of interest and expertise, but most importantly, in plain English.
That's exactly what we got at our June meeting from Neil McDonald of Gartner Group. Speaking on migrating to Windows 2000 to an audience short on network administrators, McDonald presented the issues in a way that all could understand--how to adapt to a new dot-0 version of your operating system. That's something the rest of us will have to deal with when Microsoft, with a lot more fanfare and a probably lot less eloquence, unveils its Millennium edition of Windows next year.
Gartner is seeking to expand its message beyond the IT community by reaching out to user groups, and it's encouraging that DACS was at the top of their list. In the future, we will try to work with Gartner to broaden our own programs and services to small business and corporate users as a growth strategy and a way to expose our membership to new career options.
InterGalactic gets down earth
In my last column, I wrote that the thirteenth InterGalactic User Group Officers conference had failed to get off the ground. As our newsletter went to the printer, I got word that the conference was being hastily reorganized and would indeed take place as scheduled. Given that the event was being driven by sheer impulse and with minimal involvement from the APCUG federation, the program was reorganized as a local event. A team of three from DACS were in attendance.
Appropriate to its narrowed universe, the theme of IG 13 was regional cooperation. Jack Marsella, a roving member of at least four area computer clubs, including DACS, hosted a discussion group on initiatives underway to pool our resources at a time of declining membership and weakening involvement from industry presenters.
The initiative worked out at IG is a new organization called North East User Group Association. Modeled after the Florida Association of Computer User Groups (FACUG), NEUGA will represent user groups from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts, and will be free to member user groups. The purpose of the Association will be to compile a database of its constituents, along with their meeting dates and presenter schedules. This information will then be used by area groups to coordinate their meeting schedules to allow presenters to consolidate their activities in regional campaigns. In the future, other user group information, including newsletter resources, may also be shared. This kind of information has been available on the APCUG Web site and other national user group forums, but is only recently being introduced on a regional basis.
James Roy of the New Jersey PC User Group has offered his Internet expertise and server at no charge to host the NEUGA Web site, www.neuga.org. You might also want to check out the Florida site, www.facug.org.
A sobering message from IG Thirteen was that many user groups have been losing membership The venerable NYPC suffered more than 40% attrition but has been able to recover by offering more computer education to its members. Regional cooperation will enable user groups to pool their information and resources, and hopefully enter the 21st century as a new driving force.