By Mike Kaltschnee, Co-Director, Danbury Hackerspace.
We’re excited to help DACS continue, but in a different form. When I was 19 I was a regular at Computer Ease, a local computer store, and one day the manager told me that I was starting a Macintosh/Apple user group in the store with Eric and Joe. We went on to form DAUG, the Danbury Apple User Group.
I wound up working at Softown, a local software and hardware store. To help promote the store and share cool hardware & software, I started going to the IBM, Commodore, and CP/M user group meetings, absorbing and enjoying the user group culture. User Groups were amazing places where people would share what they knew, showing off home-built computers and devices, and we had awesome speakers from local experts to Microsoft, Apple, and other big companies.
Twenty-five years ago we merged the IBM & Apple groups to form DACS. I still remember the meeting at the Howard Johnson where we teased each other (I was on the Apple side, but used PC’s in my work), but realized we could form one of the largest computer groups between New York & Boston. We had more than 500 attendees at our largest meeting, the Windows 95 launch, and more than 900 members at the peak of DACS.
But things changed and user groups have peaked and are in decline. The Q&A session was replaced by Google searches or a call to your IT person. DACS has declined to just under 100 members, and we’re unable to find a new president. There is a lot of overhead running a 501(c)(3) corporation, and we’ve struggled with a way to continue DACS, but in a different form.
I love DACS. I’ve been involved in user groups for more than 30 years, and I’ve spoken at DACS about once a year about something I’ve been passionate about. I wrote for DACS.doc for many years, and it started me on a professional blogging career that lasted 10 years. I’ve learned a lot by attending the meetings, met amazing people, and this group had definitely helped me professionally.
It’s ironic that in 30 years I’ve never held a board seat or position at DACS, but rather worked behind the scenes to help promote the group, write, or speak at meetings, and now I will be running the Meetup (I guess it’s payback for avoiding a formal position all these years).
DACS will be run as a Meetup under the Danbury Hackerspace, a non-profit I started with Jon Gatrell six years ago. I will need help, but my goal is to continue the general meetings and networking, along with the award-winning website. I’m not sure about the DACS.doc newsletter, but we’ll figure this out as we work together.
I think the people who ran DACS for the past 25 years deserve a lot of credit, and there are so many amazing volunteers who hosted the meetings, sat on the board, led the group as president, and helped with different projects. These people deserve a lot of credit for an amazing 25 years.
If you have ideas or suggestions for DACS including meeting topics, speakers, events, or questions, please feel free to email me: email@example.com.
If you’re curious about the Hackerspace, we have an open house every Thursday night from 7-9pm, or email me for a private tour.
We look forward to seeing you at future DACS Meetings!