01.Join a group
Before the internet and even bulletin board systems, computer clubs, or groups, were a lynch-pin for education, helping people to learn the ins and outs of these masterful new machines.
The first computer clubs started around 30 years ago. The internet has revolutionised how we communicate, but computer user groups are as important today as they were back then – they still cater to novices and experts alike, provide a forum for people to share their passion with others, and help to educate and maintain a community of like-minded people.
How it works
Most groups require you to become a member, although the Canberra Linux club is at least one exception. It invites interested people to come along with just a donation for the pizza that is usually ordered on the night! Membership costs vary between different groups, between about $25 and $65 per year. This covers administration costs, venue hire, web hosting, newsletters and so on – many clubs produce their own newsletters to keep members up to date on upcoming events, club news and workshops. Newsletters are usually available by mail, online, at meetings and some clubs have a buy and sell service.
Some clubs have 'q and a' sessions where members are invited to share problems and solutions, and some offer software on CD that can be purchased for a nominal price, like $2 or $5, usually collated and tested by a club member to ensure it’s safe and useful.
To join a group simply contact them, or if you want to see what it’s like, find out when the next one is being held and tag along. Most groups are happy to have guests and if you like what you see, you can sign up to be a member.
Groups often have a website these days so you can explore their online help resources and see what courses they provide and find out when and where their next meeting will take place.