CTPC was founded in 1982, shortly after the birth of the IBM Personal Computer, to help people willing to spend thousands of dollars to buy one who were asking, “What the heck do I do with this thing?” That included computer experts who were used to working with mainframe computers. For everyone who had hit a computer roadblock, chances are someone else in the room had experienced the same problem and solved it. The “Random Access” Q&A session was a popular feature of the early meetings.
In the early years, speakers from IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Corel, Lotus and other companies would make presentations at the monthly meetings. That was way before everything was a click away on the Internet so over a hundred of members would gather to hear the latest from the experts.
Another popular feature of early meetings was the “Disks of the Month.” These were “shareware” programs (trial versions of software) that CTPC made available on 5-1/4 inch floppy disks and distributed to members for the cost of the disk. The Disks of the Month table was a popular spot at meetings.
Before Facebook and other social media, before the World Wide Web, the way people communicated in groups was through online “Bulletin Boards” or BBS’s. A founding member of CTPC set up a server in his home and hosted the CTPC BBS for several years.
When email was first gaining widespread use, the same member set up an email server so members could have a free email account included with their membership.
An offshoot of CTPC was the “Wall Street SIG,” a Special Interest Group that met monthly at Manero’s in Greenwich to discuss computer software for investing. You couldn’t just log into your broker’s Website back then. There was no Web.
As time went on the group evolved into a place to discuss all kinds of technology, not just PCs.
These days we meet to discuss everything tech. From laptops to smartphones to tablets, TV-cord-cutting, 3D printing, voice activated digital assistants and artificial intelligence, it’s a good way to learn more about the tech world in which we live.