Subject: The suggested future meetings of both the Halifax
Computer Club (HCC) and the Nova Scotia Linux User's Group
The February meeting of HCC will take place Wednesday, February
26th, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. Guests are welcome, and you can get the
meeting details at the website, which has been updated to show the
February and March meeting dates, and the current location. The
The January meeting of HCC had only six attendees. The weather
wasn't great, but it was not as bad as we have had lately. Of
those six, I think four of us are retired. Of those six, four of
us use Linux, two use only Windows, and at least two of us don't
have 'smart' phones (my 'flip' phone isn't very smart, even though
it does have an Android c.p,u.). One of us runs a large business
on DOS, although he uses Linux as well.
I summarized what I could recall of the meeting, and sent that
summary out to the six attendees. Several gave me feedback, and
reminded me of some points which I had either forgotten or
The topic of discussion of the January meeting was whether HCC
(and computer clubs in general) still serves a purpose, and
whether there is any future for them. It was generally agreed
that computers have become considered in the eyes of most people
to be an appliance, which we just plug in and use. Most cell
phones have more capabilities and capacity today than did a large
room full of hardware when I first began working with computers.
Instead of updating operating systems, it is easier (and cheaper,
in most cases) to simply buy a new phone every few years, and
move the chip from the old phone to the new one, or have the
vendor copy the data from one phone to the other, if necessary.
Few people need a printer, and if they do, a wireless printer is
readily available -even at Wal-Mart.
More significant problems are:
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I agree that the club needs a social media presence to reach more/new people.
For myself, I noticed that I don't enjoy talking about computer stuff so much anymore and feel less inclined to attend computer club meetings.
On Sun, Feb 23, 2020 at 8:59 AM Frank Geitzler <[hidden email]> wrote:
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Thanks, Oliver. regretfully, I agree with you (and with Jack, who suggested it). I don't do social media at all, myself, though -just email messages to and from HCC and NSLUG. I find I learn a great deal from other people at meetings, even if sometimes what they mention or ask about just prompts me to research something new on the Internet. I do maintain the 'meetings' page of the HCC website.
On 2020-02-23 10:53 a.m., Oliver Doepner wrote:
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In reply to this post by Frank Geitzler
> is any future for them. It was generally agreed that computers have
> become considered in the eyes of most people to be an appliance,
> which we just plug in and use. Most cell phones have more
> capabilities and capacity today than did a large room full of
> hardware when I first began working with computers. Instead of
> updating operating systems, it is easier (and cheaper, in most cases)
> to simply buy a new phone every few years, and move the chip from
> the old phone to the new one, or have the vendor copy the data from
> one phone to the other, if necessary. Few people need a printer, and
> if they do, a wireless printer is readily available -even at Wal-
I take issue with this, even though it is true. I would counter that
this behaviour should not be the norm. I would be interested in being
aware of where the inertia to replace exists, and learn ways that it
can be avoided (from the end-user to whatever cottage industry could
become of it).
These participation concerns happened with automobile clubs as well.
Once cars became mainstream enough that the barrier-to-entry fell to
the floor, the autoclubs had to rebirth with a vintage frame of mind or
to something very specialized.
The state of HCC (and NSLUG is in a bit of the same situation) is that
in the few cases where computing is not second-nature, different forms
of support are available without needing to be in a specific place for
a couple hours each month.
The edge-case that is worth discussion at a physical venue are the
things that counter the heavily-consumerist nature that Frank
summarized above. The kind of movements - like Right to Repair and the
Makers', organizations like Software Freedom Conservancy, Electronic
Frontier Foundation, and the Free Software Foundation who work to
provide tools, information and laws to extend the lifetime of existing
equipment (including physical failure and security risk).
Granted, one of the larger gaps we have in the computing world is
consumer advocacy. Because the work done by the movements and
organizations noted in the previous paragraph become difficult (if not
impossible) when manufacturers actively side-step them for the pursuit
of continuous profit. From routers that D-Link abandons updates after a
couple years (while preventing you from providing your own security
patches), to Apple laptops where a bent pin (that be re-aligned for
free) can cost you over $1000 to replace the entire laptop at their own
store, to large "smart" appliances like televisions and refrigerators
provided at subsidized pricing because the software will play
advertisements and charge you for services to use them.
The designed obsolescence and abuse generally follows certain patterns,
but to make a better informed choice to avoid these pitfalls, own a
product that serves you for as long as you intend it to, and still have
some resale value currently requires a fair bit of research and some
informed background. It would be of interest to me if there was a
resource that I could point others to, as well as a general awareness
in the populace as to why that matters. I can think of a few reasons
for promoting used business-class versus new consumer goods (same
performance but used will still be more durable, higher quality, and
typically cheaper) however more direct examples of what helps the
industry - and what you should run far away from - may give a better
understanding for everyone (when often the only deciding factor is
> More significant problems are:
> We need some suitable publicity in order to attract new members,
> probably using some form of social media. It needs to be updated
> several times a month. Jack suggests that if we can't find someone
> willing to take this on, he foresees the club limping along for a
> little while before folding.
Agreed however I am also someone who does not use it.
> Meetings must be made interesting enough to draw old and new members.
> We should not confine ourselves to desktop or laptop computing, but
> include any and all computing machinery, eg tablets and smartphones.
> A possible source of meeting topics is to select an activity that
> might be performed by computer, smartphone, or tablet, etc, and
> discuss various applications for performing that
> activity, eg backups, photo manipulation, or what have you.
I really don't feel that is something that will feel "game changing"
enough for people to physically attend either. Even Linux content is in
a place where those who use Linux can figure it out without needing to
attend. The message of "why" (an opinion of many in agreement - and
opposition) to do something is now more important than the "how"
(something that can be found in a web search).
> We might need to find a different venue which would be in a more
> convenient location. It would be helpful if our venue could have
> trustworthy storage available, to reduce or eliminate the need to
> carry the projector to each meeting, and store it between meetings.
> This would also probably extend the life of the projector. A ground-
> floor location could also be more accessible and convenient.
Odds are better for a space that has a projector provided (mounted), as
opposed to as a space where we could safely store our own.
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In reply to this post by Oliver Doepner
On Sun, Feb 23, 2020 at 10:53 AM Oliver Doepner <[hidden email]> wrote:
This pretty much sums it up for me. There once was a time I could get excited about talking about computer things. While I still appreciate daily what I can accomplish because of computers, if they're not actively getting in the way of me doing what I want (usually relating to writing code), I mostly don't devote much time to exploring them or talking about them.
If anyone is at all interested in what *does* excite me relating to computers these days, it's this:
As I mention in the article, Discord would not have been my first choice, but that's where people are, and I wouldn't have written the code (which itself is open source) without the people. It remains a fond hope that someday we could find a suitable replacement and move to that, but for the time being this is working for us.
When I'm not tinkering with the bot and I do venture outside, I'm out looking for observations to upload to iNaturalist. This leaves me with zero time left over to fit in another hobby interest (LUG meetings). I do miss you fine folks, though. Maybe during fairer weather I'll be able to drop in some time & catch up.
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