Early Origins at Round Valley Computer Center
The club first organized under the name DOS HUG in 1988. The earliest record in our archives says the ninth meeting of DOS HUG was held on March 18, 1989, which puts the first meeting at July, 1988. The club evolved from computer courses held at Round Valley Computer Center (later Transnet and even later gone) on Route 22 East, with Dr. Rudy Ress as President and Joyce Tigner as secretary and newsletter producer. Art Gerke served as librarian, collecting shareware to copy for members. Meetings were held on Saturday mornings when the store classroom was available, and this meeting time was kept when the group had to leave the store.
Hunterdon Library Days
In September of 1989 Round Valley closed on Saturdays and the club moved to the Hunterdon County Library where the meeting room must be reserved each month, and only 30 days ahead. 22 members were listed. Rudy Ress continued as President/Treasurer; Dean Pennington was the VP and Joyce Tigner was Secretary/ Newsletter Editor. The first BBS phone numbers appeared in the November 1989 newsletter. Three issues ran a series on building a bare bones computer, upgrading from XT to AT.
In 1990 the 386 was “catching on”. Having a 50/50 drawing started in January of that year. Rick Brusseau took over the treasurer’s duties, which the President had been doing. Bill Powell opened Hunterdon Hangout Bulletin Board and offered a section of it for the club. John O’Brien’s monthly article was entitled “No Hard Drive is Ever Large Enough.” In the 1990 elections, John O’Brien became president, and Treasurer. Joyce Tigner Vice-President, Evelyn Stewart, Secretary and Newsletter Editor, Art Gerke continued as Librarian. The November 1990 newsletter was done in Express Publisher, v.2.0 and the editor reported gleefully that this offered a choice of nine typefaces.
In February ’91 Jennifer Hunsinger became Membership Chairperson. There was no job description for this position and it had little meaning until Don Colombo took on the job many years later. The Trading Post started that year, offering a selected shareware program each month, on disks ready to trade for blanks. The club library continued to grow, as Art made copies at meetings or at home on order. In May 1991, John O’Brien having resigned and left the club, Joyce Tigner became President, and Jennifer Hunsinger volunteered to be Treasurer.
Eileen Mullen became President in October of 1991, with Rudy Ress as VP, Jennifer Hunsinger, Membership and Treasurer, Evelyn Stewart, Newsletter/Secretary. Art Gerke, Librarian, Bill Powell and Bill Woodall, Co-Program Chairmen. We moved our meetings to the County Parks Administration Building on Rt 31.
Volunteer Mission Adopted
In the winter of ’91, we read about a California based plan to give computer help to non-profit agencies. Art Gerke urged that we could do the same thing here, without paying any large fee to a national group to do PR for us. Thus was born our Computer Volunteers Program. The initial PR was a letter to the editor of the Democrat, from Secretary Stewart. Instead of printing it as a letter, the Editor made it into a short article. We had requests for years afterward as people saved the clipping.
This was our itinerant period. The Library meeting room could be reserved only 30 days ahead, making it impossible to get confirmation of meeting dates in time to print the newsletter. The Parks System building was seldom available on Saturday mornings. We went to the Pelican Pool company on Rt 22, then to the Circle Diner, (where TGIF is now.) We were welcome there as long as we ate a total of $50 worth of breakfast. Rick Williams joined us and began moving us toward the Medical Center.
In 1992, Eileen Mullen continued as President, Damon Sherrod became VP and Jac Carroll began his long career as Tresasurer. The Editor (Evelyn Stewart) began learning MS Publisher v.2.
Midnight Machine Works
1993 was a big year. In April, Jac Carroll, already an avid user of Compuserve, had his Bulletin Board, Midnight Machine Works, running smoothly and we started teaching members to use it, as a step toward the Internet. Bill Woodall started teaching us about Windows. In September we had our first meeting in the luxury of the Hunterdon Medical Center, often having the use of the large meeting room as well as the auditorium with its fine projection and sound systems. In December we started helping the NORWESCAP Food bank to start using a computer to inventory and track their large volume of foods. The first annual chart we made for them showed 49000 pounds of food handled in 1985. In 1996 the chart was nearing 900,000. By this time they had 4 computers, modern software, and operators who could make their own bar charts.
1994 Outstanding Team Service Award
In August 1994, DOS HUG received the 1994 Outstanding Team Service Award. The day this award was presented, Dorothy Hartsell, Director of Senior Activities at the County Office on Aging, asked Evelyn Stewart to start computer classes for Seniors. Evelyn started the classes that fall, joined presently by Howard Asplen and Maureen Barron, both club presidents later on. As classes graduated, top students were asked to come back to teach. Teacher recruitment from the club and the general public has been an ongoing effort and we now have about 15 teachers and have had over 600 students, in small, successful, always hands-on classes. The computer class room has progressed from a shared all purpose room and kitchen, with old donated machines, to a renovated room devoted entirely to computers, using Windows 98 and 95 on new machines.
Bagels a Club Tradition
Bagels have been a club tradition from the start, carried in by Joyce Tigner as Secretary, as VP and President. Maureen Barron added bagels to the duties of President. Doris and Bill Moore have been bagel managers for several years. The Hunterdon Medical Center has a new bagel shop in the corner of the lobby and bagel management may shift.
The Internet Arrives
In May, 1994, the program was “Starting on the Internet.” The day of the BBS Bulletin Board was over. In June of ’95, Bill Woodall gave us a detailed introduction to the Internet. In November ’97, he opened a club page on his web site, and Paul Glattstein became our web master soon after. Jac Carroll phased out the club BBS in the fall of ’99. Early in 2000 we registered a separate name for our website and became hunterdoncomputerclub.org, no longer just a link from woodall.com. Bill Woodall continues to provide the host system for the HCC Website.
Rick Williams followed Maureen Barron as President. Joe Burger became our Vice President charged with reporting on technology news, Lon Hosford followed Rick Williams and remains our President. Evelyn Stewart resigned as Secretary and Newsletter Editor. Marlyn Reuter volunteered to take over the newsletter job. Don Colombo became Secretary.
DOS HUG becomes The Hunterdon Computer Club
During the January 1996 meeting, for reasons incomprehensible to many long-term members, the club voted to change its name to “The Hunterdon Computer Club.” In February ’96 we laid DOSHUG to rest, the most reluctant of us started using Windows, we voted in our new name and became the Hunterdon Computer Club.
Jim Russ Legacy
Long term active member and program chair Jim Russ passed away July 4th 2003 while sitting on the dock at his summer home in Gouldsboro, PA. Russ was passionate about computer technology and was an equally passionate regular presenter at the club. He maintained many computer systems at his home and was a great source for help when visitors and members had issues with their computers.
Death of the Printed Newsletter
As the club moved in the to twenty first century, the once very popular and costly printed newsletter lost its publishers and basically succumbed due to a lack of support both in publishing and writing. The digital information age of the internet took over slowly when the club web site was moved to WordPress providing a mechanism for any club member to write for the club. Carmella Vowinkel became a major contributor to the Web Site WordPress blog and continued until 2012 when she moved out of the immediate area. Since then the club members more often use the Yahoo groups to publish information.
Breakfast Meetings Reinvented
During 2007, the club starting holding one or two meetings per year at local restaurants. This effort was spearheaded by John Warsinski and became one of the highly popular activities of the club.
Sometime around the year 2008, members ceased calling for elections as set out in the club bylaws. The previous several years members making a motion for nominations resulting in the previous year’s elected officers being the only nominations. At that time long time club President Lon Hosford said he would not call for elections as a member and reminded members anyone can call for elections as it was not a responsibility of any elected officer to do. He also indicated that other members should consider taking club officers roles. When the motions for elections stopped occurring, existing officers continued performing the duties associated with their roles and their current titles are based on the functions they have volunteered to perform. The mechanism for call for elections remains.
Since the last election, the club essentially is run by members who are willing to volunteer their time to see essential tasks such as meeting moderation, facility procurement, finance, membership, refreshments, meeting activities such as raffles, program generation, promotion and transportation. All roles are open for membership participation and always the electable office are open for nominations should a club member choose to exercise that at the appropriate meetings.
In 2013 the members who perform regular tasks include Lon Hosford for the Google phone, web site, domain name maintenance, Linkedin page, meeting moderation and executive coordination, John Gbur facility procurement, club promotion and the Yahoo Group, Paul Glattstein for membership and the club’s Picasa Photo Site, John Warsinski for finance and breakfast meeting coordination, Bob and Barbara Middleton for refreshment coordination and meeting setup, various members such as Paul Weeks and Bruce Arnold for program generation, Ilene Shope for raffle and meeting setup. This was the year many club members acquire and began using and learning about Tablets. Many purchased iPads which was first introduced to the club August 21, 2010 by Paul Glattstein. The club also entered the era of cloud storage and cloud software. 2013 marked the beginning of the 25th year for the club. It is one of the oldest regularly meeting computer clubs in the world. It is one of the oldest clubs for Hunterdon County.
In 2014 the club entered the era of digital devices controlling appliances. Paul Weeks a regular presenter, avid volunteer at the Senior Center and club member took on the Program Coordinator role. Lon Hosford upgraded the club web site to format to fit on multiple device screen sizes. The first presenter for the year, Marilyn Cummings, brought to focus the age of the club and the 300th anniversary of the county that bears the club name, Hunterdon.
The printed club newsletters were digitized Bruce Arnold, Maureen Barron, Paul Glattstein, Lon Hosford and Paul Weeks. Although we did not account for every newsletter many appeared that no one thought existed. You can find out more on this project on the Newsletters Page. The project is still open as technology keeps beating for change. Plans are to move the newsletters to a cloud based server rather than on a rented hosting server. As well the project still is looking for scraping some of the text from the PDF files and inserted into the pages for search engines to pickup. The club newsletter recorded many of the changes of the personal computer revolution right through to the age of apps and we hope to reveal that to the search engines.
Long term member John Warsinski stepped down from the Treasurer role in June. The club hosted a breakfast in his honor as he cannot attend meetings as often as he would like. He was a major source of help to members and the community for getting their computers fixed or upgraded. He also was the advocate for keeping older operating systems and hardware alive, breathing and useful. Plus he was a major contributor to the club’s health as an avid volunteer, supporter, presenter, a wealth of information and key problem solver during Q&A discussions.
The club also started to experiment with Meetup in the 3rd quarter of 2014. It yielded some results with younger members only on meet up who have not attended meetings and older members who did attend and became supporter paid members.
2014 also reveals the growing fragmentation of devices and operating systems among members. You find members owning combinations of Apple, Microsoft, Android and Linux in an assortment of devices. Club members are often looking for the least expensive bang for the buck and find them.
2014 was one of the strongest content years with the diligent work of Paul Weeks on program along with presenters including Paul Weeks, Paul Glattstein and Bruce Arnold. Lon Hosford continues to moderate the Q&A session and keeps the club glued together.