It was announced at the NorthWest of Us meeting yesterday that our little Macintosh User Group was changing. This is something we have all know for a while. It is getting harder and harder for our group to be financially sustainable. And we are not bringing in new members in spite of growing numbers in the world of Apple. The iPhone is the most popular and most satisfying phone on the planet, iPads are still selling like hot cakes too. Even Mac sales are up. Whole school districts are buying Apple iPads for their one-to-one technology and collaborative learning needs. So why isn’t the group growing as well?
The board of the NorthWest of Us has been working long and hard on this problem. We are an Apple-centric computer user group, that helps people work with their Apple technology, but how do people find us and make use of us? How many people have been googling for help and completely overlooked the funny-sounding named group because the name just doesn’t mean anything to them?
With this question in mind, the board has decided to change the name of the group, and commission a new logo. The new name is the Suburban Chicago Apple Users. We will remain a not-for-profit, educational organization.
We are also changing the format of the meeting. The meeting will be divided into three sections and this started with the September meeting. Starting at 9 a.m. instead of 8:30, there was a presentation on the new things coming in El Capitan and what you need to know about upgrading. This ran until 9:45 when we had a break and got to talk to each other. Then at 10 a.m. we heard from Bill Geraci about some common fraud schemes and how to spot them. Bill is so fun and entertaining that you don’t mind learning. He is a great resource for our group, one we should be putting to better use. At 10:45 we had another break until 11 when the Program Committee began the conversation about how the NorthWest of Us will be changing. A new site for meetings has been found that is much more cost-effective, and will become available in time for the January meeting. We will be changing to a site that has current technology so we won’t have to lug around so much equipment for meetings, which will be very nice for the volunteers that have had to get up so early on our Saturday meeting dates just to have everything set up and running by 8:30. The building? The American Association of Anesthesiologist is at 1061 American Lane in Schaumburg.
The SIGs will be changing locations too. The Geneology SIG and the Filemaker SIG are both moving to the Arlington Heights Library which is free. The website is getting overhauled as well, along with the logo. The format change will in future make it easier for members to come just when they want to hear about the subjects they want to talk about. All Mac OS topics will happen during the same time slot each month. The iOS topics will work the same way. The whole meeting ended with a Troubleshooting session from 11:45 until 12:15. The Program Committee part of the meeting ran a little long and was supposed to end at 11:30 but there were a lot of questions, understandably. We did get to the questions on iOS 9 eventually. There are some amazing things coming on the iPhone OS that I can hardly wait to try. One in particular has the camera taking a three second burst leaving the impression of a Harry Potter-esque moving picture like those from the famous wizarding world.
“Nothing is set in stone,” was something we heard repeated often Saturday morning. Change is coming. Be sure to let people know when you like something as well as when you don’t.
I had to work hard to clear my calendar that morning, but I was really glad I made it to the meeting Saturday.