[SIGCIS-Members] computer user groups article

Jonathan Coopersmith j-coopersmith at tamu.edu
Fri Aug 21 08:41:13 PDT 2020

>From Adam Lashinsky's *Fortune Data Sheet* newsletter, August 20:


Way before Slack and Reddit and pretty much anything online, people used to
swap information about technology and computers by meeting up in real life.
Tech writer Esther Schindler has a great deep dive
Ars Technica into the history of computer user groups.

*Back when the microcomputer industry was smaller, it was easy to get
access to the movers-and-shakers—often before they moved or shook anything.
User groups gave everyone the opportunity to learn about technology, often
from the people who invented it.*

*Harry McCracken attended Boston Computer Society meetings beginning in
1979, and he recalls its Q&A sessions with fondness. “The questions were so
tough,” the longtime tech journalist reminisces. “There was no hero
worship, just smart computer users asking sensible questions.”*

*“Microsoft, WordPerfect, and Adobe were the headliners,” recalls a 1980s
member of the Oklahoma City PC User Group. “They gave presentations that
drew hundreds and provided wonderful giveaways of full versions of their
software. You could always expect that the introduction of new versions of
their products would be a big event, much like the way Samsung and Apple
launch new hardware today.”*

Stay sane, keep washing those hands, and practice social solidarity as well
as distancing,


Jonathan Coopersmith
Department of History
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX  77843-4236
979.291.2925 (cell)
979.862.4314 (fax)

Racial disparities in waiting to vote:

To teach or not to teach:

*FAXED.  The Rise and Fall of the Fax Machine* (Johns Hopkins University
Press) is the co-recipient of the 2016 Business History Conference Hagley
Prize for best book in business history.
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