I was planning on going to the CTIUG meeting today, but I'm sick as a dog, and so are my wife and kids. I will spend the day working on packaging the Markus of Marinus software for shipment this week, but I wanted to also take this opportunity to put something out there that we've been talking about and working on for a couple months now as well.
The Genesis of a User Group
My son and I absolutely love attending the User Group meetings at the CTIUG in Chicago every month. Unfortunately, it's a 3 hour drive there, a 3 hour drive back, and only a 2.5 hour meeting. That was the main reason we began considering starting our own User Group here in Wisconsin. We started talking about doing a monthly newsletter, building up a disk library, streaming our meetings, and basically, it formed without even planning it.
What were we to call our group? We thought about resurrecting the old MATIUG (Milwaukee Area TI User Group) but we aren't in Milwaukee, and that group was different than we want to be here. Also, in reality, there is still a MATIUG library, and the last president of the MATIUG is still an active member of the community, and we didn't want to step on anyone's toes. And so, after much consideration, we ended up with this:
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This was the 15th or 16th iteration of the name... there were many others. The one we argued about the most was this:
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Unfortunately, we couldn't stop laughing when we said the name of this group... so we couldn't take ourselves seriously as a serious 99er User Group. This is, after all, serious business. I'm literally laughing as I'm writing this.
And so, TRU-MUG became the name. We have been calling it that for a few days now, and we are sort of cool with it—though our Vice President Buck Brand is still holding out hope that we will go with TRUMAN-U-GOAT before we put out our first newsletter and make it official.
And so, as founding members, we have chartered our group in the following way:
We, the founding principal members of TRU-MUG (The Raddest Upper-Midwest User Group), do hereby ratify our group's constitution on this day, December 12th, 2018. Our founding principles as found in our group's constitution contain but are not limited to:
Preservation of documents, software, hardware, and historical materials pertaining to the TI-99/4A and other Texas Instruments computers.
Promotion of other User Groups, new hardware projects, new software projects, and all new TI-related endeavors which serve to improve our user experience or create new content for the community
Publishing of new TI-99 materials including newsletters, demonstration software, games, utilities, and other items in print and in digital format.
Participation in other TI-related events such as the TI-99/4A International TI Faire (held by the CTIUG), and other similar events—as possible.
As officers of this User Group, we will strive to uphold all of our founding principles and to remain as true to our constitution as we can.
As a new user group, we are still defining the parameters of membership, but gaining membership will be very simple. For our members, we plan to offer the following benefits:
* A Quarterly newsletter, printed on card stock and paper, shipped to your residence
* Massive cost-only discounts on group and TI themed T-Shirts and other printed materials which will be available on the group's facebook store.
* Free group SWAG (stickers, labels, etc) shipped FREE to you along with your newsletters (or as you desire it—for the cost of shipping only)
* eMail or Social Media updates on group live-streams and other events as they occur.
* The ability to publish content in our quarterly newsletter (content must be approved by the newsletter's editor)
* Access to our group library diskettes and the ability to order a User-Group diskette of your choice for $2.00 plus shipping. (essentially covering the cost of the diskette)
* ...And more benefits to be defined at a future time. One which we are not yet prepared to guarantee (but are hotly pursuing) is the possibility of having a User Group BBS up and running via Telnet.
We are not set up with the infrastructure just yet to start accepting member applications, but we will be refining our charter and working on the Q1 newsletter over the course of the next month. We will then begin expanding membership. We are under no illusion that millions of people will want to join our User Group... but we do hope to offer a packaged set of services that haven't been available from a UG in a while. There are costs associated with creating and mailing out newsletters, and this will be the primary consideration for annual membership dues. For a quarterly newsletter, just in materials alone, I think it should be expected for the annual membership dues to exceed $20.00, but should not exceed $30.00. This will guarantee you a fully featured, printed newsletter each quarter, and when you initiate your membership for the first time, we are hoping to be able to ship a free group T-Shirt along with your first newsletter!!!
So, we are not looking for memberships at this time—but we are hoping to gauge some interest. We are also looking for contributors to our newsletter, hopefully in the form of authors interested in writing short to mid-length articles on TI or Geneve related topics. We plan to have a hardware section, a programming section, a 'review' section (reviewing something, new or old) and then there are a few sections we (BuckoBrand and I) will write every quarter (like UG news, welcoming new members, updates on UG programs and events, etc.)
If you are interested, please let us know what elements of membership you would be interested in mostly (disk exchange program, free stickers and swag, the printed newsletter, etc.) We hope to create an experience for TRU-MUG members that they find rewarding and worthwhile—and we'd like to do this with as much input from our potential members as we can get.