[RndTbl] Meeting ideas

Mike Pfaiffer high.res.mike at gmail.com
Thu Feb 12 00:44:36 CST 2009

Kelly Leveille wrote:
> Hi All,
> I had a few ideas about for the meetings I thought I'd air for others to 
> comment on.

	Ideas are good. Comments are free. ;-)

> Someone asked about "newbie" friendly topics, so how about a "command of 
> the month"? It might be fun to have a different person each month do a 
> micro presentation (10-15 mins max) on a single command. It should be 
> enough to introduce the command & then provide a couple brief examples 
> of usage scenarios. These presentations should be all demo (terminal) 
> with no slides required. This might be a good way refresh the memories 
> of the more experienced users, enlighten us "newbies" & would provide a 
> not so stressful way to get more of the group members to become 
> "presenters". Finally, the same command could be explored in more detail 
> in the newsletter which might encourage more contribution there.

	The meetings do tend toward the more advanced topics don't they... For 
the most part, I'm starting to catch on. This is after eight or nine 
years as a member of the group though. I don't think anybody would have 
a problem with a "newbie session" every now and then. However  the 
majority of those actually going to the meetings aren't newbies and may 
be turned off if there were no more advanced topics.

	I suppose we could look at alternatives for presentation times. There 
was, at one point, a second day set aside just to get together socially 
and talk computers. I don't think we had more than three or four people 
show up. I suspect if the group spun-off a newbie session in a similar 
way the results would be the same. Maybe (if it's OK with Steve) we 
could have the newbies meet at the table out in the hall at 6:30 before 
the main meeting... I like your idea about micro-presentations. Maybe we 
could have an advanced one and a newbie one taking place in different 
rooms. The users would know in advance which one they would want to 
attend. The groups would then join together for the main meeting.

	On a related note, I was asked to give the MWCS a newbie level 
presentation on Linux equivalents to typical Windows tasks. Stuff like 
how to show a process list within a GUI, where to find the system 
information, or what is the equivalent to the "My Computer" icon. If 
things work out the presentation will take place at the next MWCS 
meeting (a week before the MUUG meeting). If anyone wants to attend that 
presentation they are more than welcome to drop by. I can even give the 
same presentation to the MUUG if anyone wants.

> Second, it might be a nice change to have the presentation during the 
> first half of the meeting, then take the break & finish with the round 
> table. For longer presentations, we could take the break after an hour & 
> resume after the break. This would allow "breathing room" for longer 
> presentations as well as a an opportunity for more focussed round-table 
> session following the presentation. As a side benefit, it would also 
> provide the option of getting home earlier (without missing as much of 
> the presentation) to anyone who was not able to stay to the end or not 
> interested in the discussion that followed.

	Yeah, but the door prizes are still at the end of the meeting. Right. ;-)

	Seriously... I can see advantages to both ways. For example, with the 
current format the discussion is not necessarily limited to the content 
of the presentation. No offence to any of the presenters, however there 
were times when the round table discussion was more informative than the 
main presentation. I'd suggest your format if the presenter had to leave 
early or if the weather was likely to turn bad. The thing is we probably 
don't want too many people leaving early either because if there is 
nobody left to answer questions then when will questions get answered? 
We can't put the burden on the exec to stick around when everybody else 
has left. Last nights demo of the Ham radio spreadsheet was a happy 
bonus (I thought it was a practical application to show what can be done 
with computers in general and Linux in particular), but would there have 
been as many people sticking around for it if Gilberts presentation went 
on first?

	BTW, in my experience the "###" generally means the number is to big to 
be displayed in the cell. The solution is to format the cells to display 
the number in such a way as to fit the cell width. Alternatively the 
column could be made wider.

> I've been a member for a few years now but don't know if this approach 
> was ever tried.

	I remember a couple of times when the presenter went first because they 
had to leave early.

> Any comments?

	Good ideas. Worth more discussion.

> Kelly


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