Sixteen Bits Online

JUNE 1996

Coffee & Chat

by Jim Hume

Any member who has come along to this special interest group knows that it's not just idle chat.

Coffee and Chat from its humble beginnings nearly three years ago in Glebe Park has developed into a regular fortnightly meeting at the PCUG Centre, Dalby Street, Fyshwick for about fifty PCUG members with the average attendance in the mid-thirties.

Gloria Robbins, a retired University Computer programmer, was the originator of the SIG. When she is not doing voluntary work for AESOP in third world Asia/Pacific countries, she is the Coordinator. Alf McMicken, a retired electrical engineer, has recently taken the chair in her absence. Those attending range from a member in his eighties to students, with the majority retirees from all walks of life and their experience varies from those new to computers to the expert in a particular field.

The common interest is computing with particular emphasis placed on those problems encountered by members. The atmosphere is informal and friendly.

Sometimes there is an opening topic or a guest speaker and at other times just a round the table discussion on the problems being experienced by individuals. The experience of those attending varies from those new to computers to the expert and it comes as no surprise that even the most experienced consider the meetings valuable. The one hour discussion period is followed by thirty minutes of circulating with coffee and individual chatting.

In addition a contact list is maintained with the computer interests of individuals and their contact numbers, etc. which frequently leads to members helping members at other times. Owen Cook is the Group's main reporter and provides both the PCUG BBS and Internet Tip Coffee and Chat with an excellent resume of meetings.

The group is currently experimenting with virtual meetings on the Internet on the alternate Tuesday as a means ofkeeping in contact with members, particularly those who may through ill-health be unable to attend meetings at Dalby Street.

There have also been a number of luncheons and picnics in the park and last year a Melbourne Cup Luncheon. There is a voluntary $2 contribution to each meeting to cover the costs of coffee and biscuits and to provide additional club facilities. The SIG recently bought and had installed the boiling water machine for the Centre.

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