Wow. Sometimes timing just sucks. But as the Philadelphia Area Computer Society in whole, is going through some trying times, the Linux Special Interest Group, Pacslinux, is starting to get really good.
PACS is a general computer users group that has a $30.00 yearly membership. For that membership fee, once a month, the group meets at the Upper Moreland Middle School and has various SIGS (Special Interest Groups) covering many different topics. The facility is awesome and even provides cafeteria service throughout the day. Coffee and Donuts to start, and lunch offerings til 1:15. The school provides wired and wireless internet access, and various lecture halls and classrooms are utilized for the SIGS. The meetings are held on a Saturday, from 8am to 3 pm, September through June.
This is a great value for any area computer enthusiast, and I believe we all need to help get the word out of its existence. Even a casual enthusiast will find many things of interest to them. If at all curious, please check out the link above, and attend a meeting and see for yourself.
I joined a year ago, October 2006. I quickly identified the SIGS that most interested me, Security, and the Linux Sig, and began to attend and get involved. During this past year I have created valued friendships and through the connections made at PACS, branched out to other endeavors advocating Linux in the Philadelphia Area. It was at PACS that I met Kevin Valentine and found out about this thing called an Ubuntu LoCo. Checked it out and haven't looked back. As we progressed with establishing the PA Ubuntu LoCo in the Philadelphia Region, my Pacslinux group seemed to have no direction. There was a core of 5 or 6 members, but no real direction. We knew that this was a problem, but didn't address it until the summer, during the time when there were no meetings.
We knew that we had to establish a firm meeting schedule. What topics we were going to discuss, formally stated for each month. We couldn't just 'wing it'. Without formal topics it ended up being just a group of people sitting in a room having conversations. Sometimes 3 groups of people, having 3 different conversations about subjects not related at all. Very messy.
This year, with formal topics set, seems much better. Everyone has a fixed focus to prepare for, and we can, as a group, come more prepared to present a more accurate and full, presentation on the topic. So as fate would have it, as the paclinux sig is getting our act together, PACS the whole is experiencing serious difficulties. I hope that if we stay on our current path of stated presentations and good content, this will roll over and benefit the whole. I am sure that it will help.
Bottom line, as I babble, is $3.00 per month for the value at the Phila Area Computer Society is amazing. I hope that we can keep this going. Please help.