John Kirk on Mon, 20 Dec 1999 16:28:42 -0500 (EST)

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Re: [Plug] what do people want out of plug talks

On Sun, Dec 19, 1999 at 12:55:33PM -0500, Darxus wrote:
> I'm still trying to get a grasp of what it is that people want to get out
> of these talks.  These are my guesses:  ... (newbies) ... (not_newbies) ...
> So.. what do you guys think ?

  I'd find it fun if, sometimes, we actually _do_ something rather than
just talk.  One way would be for a speaker to demo something, perhaps
getting interactive participation from the group.  Another would be for
one or more sub-group(s) to do something together as a group project
between meetings and then have a progress-reporting and decision-making
meeting later to take responsibility for integrating and publishing the
results.  The results could be distributed/published on the plug website
or on a new domain the group could register for the project.  This would
be a way for our group to contribute to the open source movement.

  Possible projects I can think of, are:

          1.  Documentation of some installation process that's
      currently a pain due to insufficient information.  Perhaps
      just edit existing documentation.  The printing problems
      (that Sandy Basicus has had), discussed at several of our
      meetings, could be documented, solved and the results published.

          2.  We could demo and document the steps to take one of
      the common, but arcane-for-beginners-under-*nix, tasks and
      quickly build a GUI interface for it under Perl-Tk, TCL/Tk or
      some such tool.

          3.  Demo a quick-and-dirty ad-hoc procedure for doing an
      edit using Emacs, that'd be real hard any other way.  For
      those who don't use Emacs routinely due to the learning curve
      might still find it convenient to pull it up once in a blue
      moon to do something otherwise prohibitive.  e.g. a complicated
      search-and-replace through a file, either because the search
      string or the replacement string is hard to specify (control
      characters or something) in most editors, or because the
      modification is more complex than just replacing a string with
      another.  Another example is re-arranging a file that is
      formatted in columns.  Having a rote recipe for doing such a
      task might break through the ice for picking up Emacs.

          4.  Doing something live on the internet would be a kick
      at a meeting.  Even if it were just to demo places to search
      for answers to newbie tech questions.  Making it concrete by
      online demo, with group input and collaboration would be very
      eye-opening for many beginners.

          5.  Demoing the competing desktop environments, live,
      (as well as, perhaps, their installation procedures) would be
      valuable for those who haven't seen many.

  The facilities at IQ group seem ideal for PLUG to me, because the
necessary hardware is handy for this kind of meetings.

         regards,     -- John Kirk

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