This week those of us in the U.S. and Canada have been ordering G1G1 XOs, and I think there are bound to be local gatherings of new buyers who want to do more than write email, make comments (here), or modify wikis devoted to the topic. They will want to start local user groups.
I am Steve Cisler. This is my user group story.
I did not touch a computer until I was 41. It was 1984 and I was running Pinole branch, a library in the San Francisco Bay Area. The California State Library had grants for libraries that wanted to provide public access to one (1) computer.
People's Computer Company provided us training. I had seen the Macintosh at Macy's and decided that would be the easiest for me and the public to use. I was the only library out of 60 or so that bought one at that time. Most of the others were Apple II, and the PC.
The public loved the Mac, and along with another colleague I started the East Bay Mac Users Group. Other owners brought their 128K Macs to the library to share, sort of like guys bringing their 50's Chevys etc to the drive in. The group ran for four or five years, then went dormant.
Two years ago in the same Berkeley library a new group formed. Same name but absolutely no knowledge of the one we had started. We have very short memories here in Silicon Valley. I happened to see the meeting notice dropped in, and told my story. Blew their minds.
I use a Mac but I'm not an Apple zealot any more, though the user group changed my life because it led to working at Apple running the Apple Library of Tomorrow program for about nine years, until Mr. Jobs came in, cleaned house, and shut down the Advanced Technology Group in 1997.
I have not attended any user group meeting for many years, but with the rollout of the XO, this is a great opportunity for people in one locale to get together, if only to test the mesh network! Some user groups have been large, well-organized, and long-lasting. The Capitol PC User Group is a good example.
It's a 501 (c)(3) educational non-profit, but others are totally informal with no officers or structure, other than having a time and place to meet. ( I also started a home winemakers group years before the MUG that worked this way.)
I work at Santa Clara University in Silicon Valley, so this is an early call to others interested in the XO. You need not be an owner. Wayan Vota will be starting a OLPC Learning Club for the DC area, and if you are in Churchill, Manitoba or Redford, Texas, feel free to see if others in your area want to meet.
Face-to-face is critical. It's very high rez, and the bandwidth is amazing.