The meeting was called to order at 7:16pm.
The entire focus of this meeting was on whether to continue regular meetings going forward, or to disband as a Mac User Group entirely. Deborah noted that her retirement is not yet forthcoming and that the classroom will continue to be available as a location for meetings for at least the next school year. Nancy (messaged via Jenny via Mario as in person-proxy) noted that she’d like to continue hosting the group in the summer for potluck dinners, regardless of whether the monthly meeting continues.
It was observed that the Internet makes it easy to find answers to technical questions and information on new products in the Apple world, but at the same time members like communicating face-to-face to hash out technical issues. In particular, several members wanted to note that they specifically come to get insight on modern technology from Mario specifically, but Mario took a moment to point out that he’s not going to be able to attend every meeting, as the travel has become lengthy in the past few years, meaning that meetings shouldn’t continue purely based on his attendance.
There was some discussion around changing the meeting frequency, possibly to twice a year or quarterly, or to take a more reactive approach based on Apple events or news (many meetings have happened immediately before an event announcing new products, but we weren’t able to discuss the information in much detail as it was still technically rumor).
Overall, there was a general consensus that user groups still have a place in the world, but at the same time things will need to change for the meetings to continue to be relevant to all members. Now that Bob has stepped down as president, he will have a reduced involvement in regular meetings, and Mario’s long travel time makes presenting regularly impractical, so there will need to be more preplanned presentations from other volunteer members, occurring during consistently scheduled meetings. Additionally, there needs to be more involvement and attentiveness from the group during these presentations and an increased attendance to justify the meetings’ continuance; it has been observed that the membership is often distracted and holding side conversations during presentations.
A desire was expressed to get external professional presenters to come to meetings, but this would require us to either set up remote attendance via videoconferencing (which presents a technical hurdle for the classroom environment) or have a certain threshold of local attendance. The latter is difficult to achieve across the community due to the decline of MUG memberships everywhere.
Several votes were cast to gauge a general sense of opinions from the attending membership:
- General consensus is to not disband (No vote was taken but all individual responses leaned in this direction)
- Monthly meetings – 9
- Every other month – 0
- Quarterly – 1
- Apple event based – 4
- Presentation-based meetings (Meeting happens if someone volunteers to run it, one meeting slot per month) – 9
From this discussion, a meeting structure change was proposed:
- 30 minute open floor discussions and Q&A
- 30+ minute presentation
- Open forum for remainder
- Denny’s afterward
We will move forward with this format with this new standardized format, and are asking for volunteers to host future meetings. Bob will host the March meeting and discuss the Health app, and Lonnie will discuss Final Cut Pro in May.
For the remainder of the meeting, we had an open-floor discussion. Someone asked how to sync PDFs between Apple devices using the Books app, as this was not happening automatically. The answer is to enable the iCloud Drive service on all devices, then to specifically enable Books’ iCloud Drive integration (on mobile, this is under Settings > Books > iCloud Drive). Another question was brought up about how to diagnose a Mac running slowly and frequently generating “spinning beach balls”. There wasn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for this, but the general advice was to dig deeper into root cause by troubleshooting using Activity Monitor to determine which processes are hanging and what system resources are being used at the time.
The usual “board meeting” at Denny’s followed the meeting’s conclusion.