Al Halpern purchased the first computer with his own credit card. Eventually the Club was able to reimburse him. Having a computer eliminated the need for Don Pettengill to unplug his home computer and haul it to the meeting room and set it up for every session. With their own computer and the ability to store it conveniently in one of the Hillside Clubhouse lockers, all SIGs were held in the tiny Pine Room at Hillside. The Club outgrew that room quickly and in November of this year, the Club moved its monthly meetings to the Delta Room at Del Valle.
Al Halpern was elected President in December of 1994. The focus changed to free tutorials and workshops once a week on Windows, Word Perfect and Quicken. He also expanded the monthly meeting programs.
Fascination with the Internet began in late 1994 when the system became available for individual use. The Internet was derived from a system known as DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Project Administration). These groups worked on advanced, secret research projects. Data was transferred by armed courier. Secure electronic communication was necessary and was so successful, that the system was split into two groups - a secret military network, and a non-secret civilian system called Internet.
The SIG Scene
After several months of SIG meetings, Al Halpern decided that more effective groups would result if the groups were smaller. Some of the groups were up to 35 students.
A WORD PERFECT SIG, was organized after a guest speaker donated a copy of Word Perfect for Windows 6.0. Don Pettengill volunteered to coordinate a SIG to demonstrate and explore the features of this new program, which was out-in-front in the word processing parade. Using a CV Link decoder as an interface between the computer and GRF supplied projector, he was able to project his computer screen to a large screen. This allowed the interaction of a sizeable group of very interested members in running through the various features of the program. This group met on the third Saturday of the month in the Live Oak Room at Gateway.
The MAC SIG met on the fourth Thursday of each month. Approximately 20 to 25 users attended these sessions. The format was a question and answer (Q & A) session and was coordinated by Charles English.
The WINDOWS SIG met on the fourth Saturday of the month in the Live Oak Room, and was coordinated by Bob Caracristi and Don Pettengill.
At this time, several members were interested in forming a SIG for the purpose of maintaining Investment records on their computers. QUICKEN by Intuit, was a favorite program, especially for those who were already tracking their financial records on the computer. A SIG was coordinated by Barney Teich and John Bybee, but it never evolved to be a permanent segment with the Computer Club.
From the beginning, the Club made an effort to establish a library repository where Club members could donate manuals, publications and the like, which might be of interest to other members. Member Jody Kniazeff persuaded the Rossmoor library to provide a space to display such articles, but this became a maintenance problem and was abandoned.
The first big social event of the Club was a barbecue held on July 15, 1994, at the Dollar Clubhouse. This has been an annual event .
Earlier in 1994, the Rossmoor News rolled out onto the information cyberspace highway when it converted from a cut-and-paste publication, to a state-of-the-art fully electronic operation.