Monthly Archives: February 2008

Attracting a younger crowd to user group meetings

We had a discussion at the office this afternoon that centered around how to attract a younger group of people to the computer user group meetings.  We got several suggestions out of this, but are looking for more ideas.

First of all, WHY do we want to attract a younger crowd?  Well, the average age of the groups (Ann Arbor Computer Society, Ann Arbor Dot Net Developer Group, Ann Arbor Java User Group, Michigan Python User Group) is … well … "experienced". We could all benefit from a younger perspective, and the groups could use an infusion of new members.  Makes sense to tap the untapped market. Winston Tsang tells me that the Ruby User Group is pretty young, and that's interesting.  What are they doing differently, except that it's Ruby?  Well, for one thing, the meeting is held on campus.  That's interesting, because I initially shyed away from AACS when meetings were held on campus because I thought that it was a student group (it wasn't).   I wonder if that would make a difference?

The programming has been pretty "hip" in recent years, and diverse.  AADND has been focusing on .NET content, which has left AACS to mainly do "other than .NET".  That makes sense.

This month's AACS topic is Domain Specific Languages in Ruby.  I think that might attract a younger crowd but I'm not sure.  We'll see.  Oh yes, and AACS provides free pizza to all attendees, as well.

If you know anyone under the age of 30 that isn't in the habit of attending the user group meetings, can you reach out and explain what they are?  Let them know that if they are looking for a job, want to learn more about the industry and/or the Ann Arbor area, or simply want to hang out with other techies for the night, the user groups are a good way to accomplish that.  The meeting is at 6 pm.

Hopefully we'll have a big crowd on Wednesday for Joe's talk.  And if you can't make it on Wednesday (ahem, or even if you can!), Thursday's MichiPUG (Python user group) meeting will be great as well.  The Thursday meeting is at 7 pm.

Both meetings will be at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Avenue, Suite 200, Ann Arbor. 


Joe O’Brien at AACS on Wednesday

Joe O'Brien, of the Columbus Ruby Brigade and EdgeCase, will be in Ann Arbor this week.  He's presenting a talk at the Ann Arbor Computer Society – "Domain Specific Languages: Molding Ruby".  A summary appears below.

"Ever wondered what all the fuss is about when it comes to DSL's and Ruby? It seems to be all we hear about. This talk will peel away the onion and look at what it is about Ruby that makes it the perfect candidate for creating your own languages. I will show you, through examples, how you can create your own languages without the need for compilers and parsers. We will also cover some real world examples in areas of Banking and Medicine where DSL's have been applied."

Joe spoke at AACS about a year ago, and I was lucky enough to attend.  His talks are always interesting.  If you can attend, I definitely recommend it.

Location: SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Avenue, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 4810-4

Time: 6:00 pm

Date: Wednesday, February 6

AACS members are free and open to the public.  Supporting memberships are available ($20/year), but not required.


Snow day: lightning talks canceled

We're canceling lightning talks for today.  The roads weren't too bad coming in, but I did get stuck trying to go up a hill (had to back down).

Working at a coffee shop this morning, I really appreciate having an office.  The light was dim, the chairs were uncomfortable, and the internet wasn't working (OK, so the MAIN problem is that the internet wasn't working).  I headed off to the library, where I knew I couldn't use my cell phone but I could at least send email, only to find that they don't open until noon on Fridays.  D'oh.  I had forgotten that.  So I slowly drove to the office and will leave early this afternoon, since sleet is in the forecast as well.

We'll see all of you in two weeks.