Tact is usually the vest way of approaching these things. Please note in
the following that when I say ``this not not true'' I'm not trying to
be condescending or criticise you, and ``this has been discussed before'' I'm
not trying to discourage you ...
See you all the the AGM!
> 1. There are a lot of students around who are genuinely
> interested in programming.
> 2. You would expect a Programmers' Society to be ideal for
> them, and be active participants.
> 3. This has not really happened so far in ProgSoc.
I don't see how this point follows ...
> Why? Because so far it appears ProgSoc management have only been
> interested in making money through TFM.
There is an enormous amount of effort that goes into TFM. I think TFM is
a) giving worthwhile information about the use of computers and programming
to it's members
b) raising the awareness of ProgSoc (that is, the awareness of ProgSoc by
other people :-)
c) giving us an initial project to focus on
If we had not produced TFM last year and this year, there would not be a
I don't think the success of TFM in any way means that ProgSoc is inactive,
failing to meet it's objectives or some-such. Rather I think it's a good
starting point. Where we go on from here is something for all of us to
> They don't even
> have a good idea on what to use the money for.
The money ProgSoc has *always* primarily been to set up a machine.
Last year I investigated the feasibility of ProgSoc buying machine outright.
In short, we didn't have enough money and the Union wasn't interested in
coming to the party.
Now we have a machine it becomes a lot easier. The most immediate need is
for a tape backup unit. Perhaps we may get one from OTC, perhaps not.
We may need extra memory, disc space, perhaps even modem lines will become
a possibility. Join the equipment commitee if you want your say.
In case you're interested, the union board recently approved the purchase of
a $20 000 yacht for the sailing club.
ProgSoc should of course be willing to support other worthwhile projects.
> ProgSoc activities have been limited to things like
> sponsoring teams for National programming competitions - a
> worthy cause indeed, but the way used for the choosing of
> the team(s) appears at first glance suspect.
The ACM competition was publicised by the School. Two teams were interested,
the School of Computing Sciences paid for one, on five days notice ProgSoc was
asked to pay for the other (I'm not very happy with the way things turned
out either, but that's history)
> 4. Where does that leave the common programming enthusiast?
> They've most likely given up with any ideas of programs they
> had and have resorted to mass FTPing, IRC, USEnet, MUD or
> some other net.distraction. Damn shame really.
I don't see how the actions of ProgSoc have failed to support
the programming enthusiast. Of course, there's a lot more the society
could be doing. Perhaps with enough enthusiastic people more will
> 5. What can be done about it? Well, guidance and encouragement
> in things programmatic for starters. People don't learn new
> things unless 1) they know about it, and 2) it's immediately
> useful to them. Even if this is the case, they may not know
> how to go about learning it. ProgSoc can put its "great
> minds" to use by:
> * Disseminating information about useful tools etc. to
> other members, both new things and old. How about
> short articles in the Society newsletter briefly
> explaining them with references to more detailed
> information on the net? Short seminars/demos
> showing how these tools are useful in practice?
> Advice for members working on their own personal
> programming projects?
Yes, I would like to see society newsletter contain informative articles.
In fact, I posted a request for submissions, and got zilch. I ended up
writing the whole thing myself weekend before last. I would have
written/edited together an article on Linux, had I had time. I didn't.
There has been discussion of seminars. I'm currently looking at presenting
on the on the World Wide Web project. I'll talk about this at the
Advice: Yes, a ProgSoc help line for extra curricular projects has been
discussed ... It's easy enough to do if enough people with enough time
are prepared to answer the questions. The original discussion was iced until
mailing list software as set up on the ProgSoc machine.
> * _Tricking_ members into learning new things by
> convincing them it's FUN. Here's an example: WWW.
> WWW is a great information service, and we should
> make as much use of it as we can. But to generate
> WWW nodes, a person must learn TeX or HTML. A lot
> of us don't know either, but would like to learn if
> given the chance. I've noticed that one or two of
> our esteemed members have their own set of pages on
> WWW describing themselves, their timetables. etc.
> I've also seen this practice in other universities.
> Why not let any ProgSoc member do the same? We'll
> prolly need to make ftoomsh a WWW server, and
> produce a tutorial on how to go about it (or make
> one available). We could even have a competition
> for who can make the best home page!!! It's that
> simple, and I'm sure members will get a lot out of
Yes, I'd like to see ProgSoc become involved in the WWW. Both to allow
users to make their own home pages or whatever, but to also do some
serious electronic information publishing. Join the publications
commitee if you want to make sure you have your $0.02 worth.
> I'm sure there are other things we could do if we put our heads
> together, but that's good for starters. I'll forego bagging previous
> ProgSoc executives this time (sorry about that guys),
Ta. Much appreciated.
> but I will say that this issue of wider member participation doesn't seem to
> be in their hearts. It is in mine. IMHO members should have the opportunity
> to get more than FTM for their $10 membership fee. If not, then we
> should call ourselves a publisher, not a Society.
Gee, thanks for the slap in the face. FYI I have been encouraging ``wider
member participation''. Have you not noticed the new structure of the
executive? Have you not noticed the publicity for the AGM around campus?
The preface of TFM? Did you read the newsletter?
I'm truthfully glad it's in your heart and look forward to you and everyone
else making an active contribution to ProgSoc, but please do not assume
the long-term members of ProgSoc are not interested.
As for getting more for their $10 worth ... it's only fourth third week of
semester! (TFM is worth $10 IMHO anyway)
> Thanks for listening.
Thanks for you're contribution.
> PS. Thanks to sbug for pointing out that what's good for the Right
> Honorable Prime Minister is not necessarily good for me. Seems
> like sbug can be useful after all.
I'm sure sbg will be falattered this.
-- Christopher Fraser ``smiley-faced guys in brightly coloured space suits'' firstname.lastname@example.org