We didn’t have a formal presentation but we had more than enough topics to talk about and easily filled our 2-hour time slot … and then some.
One of the first things we did was elect officers for the 2003 year. The lucky suckers .. er .. winners .. are as follows (note that we had several people volunteer to assist when needed):
Office Officer Assistant
President Mike Potjer
Vice President Martha Kroll
Treasurer Mike Potjer Martha Kroll
Secretary Cathy Pountney Sharon Hodgson
Webmaster Martha Kroll Jan Wells
We discussed several new ideas and format changes to our meetings. GRAFUG exists for its members so anything we can do to increase membership or satisfy your needs is something we want to consider. We decided to incorporate the following changes:
- The official meeting time is being changed to 10:00 am through 12:00 pm on the second Saturday of each month. Note that only the time has changed, not the day.
- We will be holding a “beginner’s jumpstart” session prior to the main meeting. This will occur from 9:00 am – 9:45 am prior to the regular meeting. This new jumpstart session is aimed at VFP beginners to help get them up to speed. Our goal for this session is to provide a short training session on a different topic each month. Hopefully, this will draw more beginners that might otherwise feel intimidated at the regular meeting. Although we don’t ever want to discourage anyone from attending the regular meeting, we understand that beginners may feel more comfortable in this type of format. If you are a beginner that is interested in this session, please send us your ideas on topics that you would like to see!!! Remember .. GRAFUG is here for you!!
- We will also begin experimenting with holding a few “mini-presentations” instead of one major presentation at the monthly meetings. For example, a few people could each volunteer to research and then talk about one specific VFP foundation class. The same could be done for the VFP Solutions examples. Our goal with this idea is to encourage members to participate in the presentations by making them shorter and not so formal.
- Another few ideas that we discussed but haven’t decided to implement yet are workshops and volunteer projects. These are things that we may decide to implement if member interest is there.
o The “workshop” concept is that we start the meeting with an “assignment” and then break up into groups and work on the assignment. This gives less experienced developers an opportunity to work along side experienced developers. It’s a great way for everyone to exchange ideas and learn new ways to do things.
o The volunteer project idea came from the Chicago user group. They found a non-profit organization that needed some programming done. Several people from the user group meeting on a regular basis and work on this project. Like the workshop concept, it gives people the change to work with others and learn new ways to do things. And some lucky organization gets a huge benefit from the experience!
The Universal Thread (www.universalthread.com) has made some changes recently to their user group section. You can now “subscribe” to multiple user groups and get automatic notices whenever something is posted by them.
The Universal Thread also has some training videos available at a very reasonable cost. No one in the group has actually purchased these so we can’t give a recommendation yet. But if you’re looking for training, this is something you might want to investigate.
Speaking of the UT, we had one last free Premier Universal Thread Membership to give away and Bill Winter was the lucky winner!!
Visual FoxPro 8.0:
We discussed the fact that VFP 8.0 is available as a public beta now as a download from Microsoft. This is the same beta that was given away at the recent Advisor DevCon and Great Lakes Great Database Workshop conferences. This beta does have an expiration date for the end of January so after that time you won’t be able to use it anymore. The final release of VFP 8.0 is expected “early 2003”.
- Members really encouraged other members to use the newsgroups that are available, such as the Universal Thread and the Virtual FoxPro User Group (www.vfug.com). There’s a wealth of information out there so you might as well use it. Please visit the GRAFUG website and review the Links page for other interesting sites.
- Rick Bean recommended a product called SpamNet to help reduce the amount of spam that ends up in your Outlook inbox. He’s been using it for several weeks and is impressed so far. The best part is that it’s FREE!!!
Here’s the URLs for it: http://www.cloudmark.com/products/spamnet/.
o Here’s the Dec. 2002 PCWorld review of it: http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/article/0,aid,106328,00.asp
Our next meeting is planned for Saturday, January 11, from 10:00 am through 12:00 pm. In light of the SQL Server training class being presented by Jim Duffy on the following week, Rick Bean and Cathy Pountney were roped into making an informal SQL Server warm-up presentation. They plan to get you familiar with SQL Server by showing you the utilities and UI so you can say that you’ve seen it when Mr. Duffy asks for a show of hands of those who have played with it!
We’re not sure if we’ll start the beginner session yet. It depends on the feedback we get from you. So if there’s something you really need to learn, please let us know!! Well get the website updated soon with further information once we get your feedback.
As always, if there's anything that you'd be willing to present, or there's a topic that you would really like to cover at a future meeting, please send me an email and let me know.
I hope you find this information helpful, and if you have any comments, please send them to me. I look forward to seeing everyone at the next GRAFUG meeting!
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