The President's Message

April 2000

Are we adequately serving the needs of all of our members? This is the question recently asked by one of our members who classifies himself as having somewhere between beginner and intermediate skills. He believes he has seen a decrease in the number of attendees at the monthly meetings, which is true. He also believes many who come have high computer skills and are very nowledgeable which is also undoubtedly true. Their questions and answers are quite technical and go beyond the comprehension of many in the audience.

We know there are some people who are not asking questions because they are too embarrassed to ask, afraid they will appear stupid. I can relate to that, but I don't ask the questions at the meetings because I have a personal guru who I turn to when in need, to avoid any perceive embarrassment regarding the simplicity of the questions and/or answers.

The member who raised the issue wonders if there should be more emphasis placed on the needs of those with lower computer skill levels and devote some time to the basics. This may be appreciated by some of those new to computers, both beginners and intermediates. However, those members with high computer skills will find this a little boring. It is difficult to please everyone.

My wife Arline and I, while long time club members, have not reached that high level of expertise. We share the feeling with many of you that some of the questions and answers are beyond us. I recall before buying our first PC (an XT with a 20 meg. hard-drive), I started subscriptions to several of the monthly computer magazines and found all I could do was look at the pictures as it seemed they were talking in another language (computereeze). Discussions at the first few club meetings were confusing and we had a difficult time comprehending what they were talking about. Eventually, we began to understand more and more of what was being said. Today with WINDOWS, the learning curve has been simplified in that people can become computer operators without knowing much about the operating system.

Many people are satisfied when they can use the computer for their required needs. This may involve e-mail and the internet, games, word processing, graphic arts, paint programs, genealogy and/or a home finance program and the list goes on and on. They are not interested in knowing what is "under the hood" so to speak. However, there is a percentage of those who are interested in what goes on and continue to ask questions in regard to solving the problems that do require knowledge about the hardware and the operating system, etc.

One of the members suggested we make a survey of the level of expertise of our members and whether our Q & A sessions are adequately answering their needs. To do so, we have sent out an e-mail to each of you to "reply" asking you to help us by answering the following questions: 1. What is your level, beginner, intermediate or advanced? 2. Do you want more questions asked for beginners and intermediate users? and 3. What are your comments and suggestions for future Q & A's, SIGs and programs, etc.?

We have a more detailed survey questionnaire on our web page, but no recent responses. By returning this information to us, we hope to be able to fulfill the needs of as many club members as much of the time as possible. If you haven't already done so, please do now.

Thank you for responding! We are going to try once again to have people fill out a form when they arrive at the meeting, asking their question which will be included in the Q & A for the day. This may be easier for those who are shy or embarrassed in asking their questions in front of the audience. Remember though, we need to ask questions in order to gain knowledge.

We also need more volunteers to sit with guests and new members. Volunteers can then explain to them more about the club, the benefits, what will go on during the meeting and answer their questions. Please check with Helen Long at the guest table if you can help.

At the General Meeting on March 4th, I introduced Jim Thornton who will be our organizer and chairman for our July 1st Garage Sale. We have been in e-mail communication with Jim regarding his thoughts on how the garage sale should be conducted. He and his wife, Dianna, came to the directors' meeting on Tuesday evening, March 7th. We went over the outline of detailed plans for the event. He had supplied and e-mail letter of general guide lines to each of the board members prior to the meeting. The plan is very well thought out and was approved unanimously by the board. The board will help anyway it can to aide in implementing this July event. Let the entire membership get behind Jim to help make it a success! If he should ask any of us to help out, lets go for it!