The Jonesboro User Group celebrated it's tenth aniversary in 1996. It was hard to believe that the first JUG BBS was on an IBM PC with 512K and a 15 meg hard drive and we were dynamite. Now Pentiums rule and multiple gigabytes are the only way to fly. A lot has changed in the computer world and a lot has changed in the user group as well.
Our group has looked at a lot of software over the past ten years. Way back then we were all struggling with DOS and some shareware programs. Dbase II was the hottest database, WordStar was the number 1 word processor, and Lotus 123 ver. 1A was the spreadsheet of choice. Now, if it doesn't talk to you, have graphics capabilities with millions of colors, and take 90 seconds to load on a Pentium it isn't worth much.
The user group itself reflects the change in time. We're now joining the internet frenzy with our own home page, giving workshops in highend rendering programs, virtual reality, and lots more. I don't think any of us ten years ago would have believed the possibilites that have become commonplace. The Hardware SIG now meets on the first Monday of each month at 1710 Henry St at 7:30 pm and we are forming a Web Page Developer's SIG.
Ten years ago our most important goal was to have a great shareware library for our members to check out the latest and greatest programs. Now the bulk of diskettes required for just one shareware game makes diskette libraries obsolete. Like the rest of the world we look to shareware collections on CD-ROM and members download or copy the software at meetings depending on the size of the files.
Editing the JUG News has changed,too. I remember when we were sending 700 plus copies of the newsletter all over the world. Now the expense is too great for that. We use HTML and provide the newsletter on the BBS and the internet for viewing or download.
So what will the next ten years bring. More gray hair for me. Lots of new and incredible improvements to the computers we use and the software we run on them. Bill Gates will probably have his own country and the user group will probably keep plodding it's own path through all the changes with same savior faire of the last ten.
Vivian Heyl - JUG News Editor