Ever wonder what other OS/2 groups do? I took an informal survey of 19 other U.S. OS/2 user groups with home pages. For simplicity, I did not include PC user clubs that had special interest OS/2 offshoots. Also, since home pages are individually designed, not all user groups made the same information publicly available and therefore, the totals do not always add up to 100%.
There are three ways to access these home pages. The most complete listing, with 21 OS/2 user groups, is maintained by M.I.T. The list at Yahoo contains a little more than half the number of links, though not the identical ones Combining these two lists gives you a fairly comprehensive list. IBM also maintains a large listing of OS/2 offshoots of computer clubs, along with a few OS/2 user groups and even fewer home page links. The list includes groups in 37 states and is divided into four geographical divisions of IBM's own creation (i.e. Colorado is in the West).
The most common information on the Web sites concerned meetings and member communication.
Seventeen of the groups that publicized their meetings on their Web site
had monthly general club meetings, with the exception of two, Berkeley
and Space Coast (FL), with bimonthly meetings. Only two, Mid-Atlantic
(VA) and Island Empire (CA), held meetings Saturday mornings, rather
than on weekday evenings. The most common meeting locations were on
university campuses, followed closely by IBM sites. Two groups,
Northeast Ohio and Space Coast, used sites provided by other
technological companies and one group, Mid-Atlantic, used the Virginia
Beach Public Library Auditorium.
Graphic on Berkeley's OS/2 page.
Concerning membership dues, three groups stated that they had no dues, while eight reported dues ranging from $5 for Triangle (NC) to $28 for So. Cal. per year. The award for the most creative dues [donuts] goes to Island Empire. The issue of dues, however, was far from clear cut. Minnesota and Indianapolis allowed non-members at their meetings, but restricted their activities like not allowing them to receive the newsletter or be eligible for giveaways. Other groups (M.I.T. and So. Cal.) gave a reduced membership fee for students or younger members, while the Bay Area (CA) allowed non-members to attend meetings for a $3 registration fee. Only Minnesota admitted to having members pay for parking.
Several organizations had special interest groups (SIG) that met in addition to the regular general meetings. These included: Network SIG, Programming SIG, and Internet SIG (So. Cal.); Developers SIG and Enterprise Computing SIG (Bay Area); New To Warp SIG and Warp Programming SIG (Minnesota).
Guest speakers, especially those from IBM, were by far the most common meeting activity. The Bay Area boasted of having David Barnes at a meeting early in the year. Future guest speakers for the Bay Area, in a themed meeting on the media, will feature speakers from OS/2 Magazine, San Jose Mercury News, and InfoWorld. Demonstrations, discussion, and giveaways occurred less frequently. The largest giveaway advertised was by Minnesota, which claimed that ``At a recent meeting, we gave away over $1000 worth of free software.''
Two groups also mentioned assistance for those new to OS/2. The Bay Area group precedes each meeting with a half-hour new user clinic; the Island Empire gives a free introductory OS/2 book to its new members.
In addition to normal meeting activities, two groups had some unique ones. Mid-Atlantic hosts an OS/2 Warp Day with CompUSA each month in addition to their regular meetings. Members take turns demonstrating applications to the general public. Bay Area group offers a ``Disk Set of the Month'' to its members for $5. This group also held a mini trade fair with 12 vendors.
Groups maintained contact with their members through newsletters, mailing lists, and BBSs.
Although five groups mentioned their newsletters, only two, M.I.T. and So. Cal., were publicly available. [[ Webmaster's note: as you can plainly see, the TAMU OS/2 user's group newsletter is certaintly publically available!]] The Mid-Atlantic group does not have a separate newsletter, sharing one called The Umbrella which serves the general computer public in the area. This newsletter was a winner in the 1995 Lotus/Adobe Newsletter contest, part of a three-way tie for the category ``Best Coverage of Group Events.''
The Pacific Northwest (WA), Mid-Atlantic, and Fort Walton Beach (FL) run BBSs. Triangle is the process of starting one for its paid members.
Cornell, Cleveland, U.T., Triangle, and M.I.T. all have mailing lists for their groups. Of these, M.I.T. has the most mailing lists (meeting info, announcements, discussion, subscriptions, WWW maintainer). Cleveland, in addition, runs a moderated discussion list which it is in the process of archiving.
While most home pages sported links to IBM or OS/2 specific sites, some featured unique items. The Mid-Atlantic was the only group to post its by-laws and constitution, while Bay Area posted the only photo of actual group members at a meeting. Mid-Atlantic group had audio clips of David Barnes and Bill Gates. Berkeley's page was titled: ``Peace through OS/2: Welcome to Berkeley.'' Listed as being in the top 5% of all web sites by Point Communication, the page features a link titled, ``Just for Fun - On the Lighter Side of Computing.'' It contains a list of jokes about Microsoft, IBM and computers in general. Take note of the page of quotations titled ``Famous Last Words,'' with quotes like, ``Everything that can be invented has been invented,'' spoken by Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of the U. S. Office of Patents in 1899.
The meeting on September 5 had about 15 people in attendance, despite being held at the same time of the ACM meeting. Eric Battalio won the grand prize of a new copy of OS/2 Warp. Further meeting details were unavailable at press time.
On September 12, George Welch and I demonstrated selected capabilities of OS/2 to a crowd of about 50 people at the ACM meeting. The highlights included DOS and Windows capability, multimedia, and the Workplace Shell. We also passed out an informational flyer on OS/2 sources.
In the August 30, 1995 issue (Vol. 2, No. 1) it was incorrectly stated that Win95 was the first Windows system to allow multiletter file names. An earlier Windows system, Windows NT, also featured this.
Disclaimer. Maroon&Blue is an independent publication and not an official document of IBM, Texas A&M University, the Board of Regents, or Bill Gates®. OS/2 is a registered trademark of IBM.
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