Association of Personal Computer User Groups
The Association of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG) is a worldwide organization that helps computer user groups by facilitating communications between APCUG member groups, computer hardware and software makers, and hardware and software vendors. A non-profit corporation as designated by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, APCUG also helps member groups and their officers fulfill their education goals with support materials and shared knowledge and experience.
While a large number of member groups in APCUG are oriented towards the Microsoft DOS and Windows operating systems, many member groups include members using a variety of operating systems, such as Mac and Linux, and provide services to meet all of their needs. Membership is open to all microcomputer and tablet user groups.
APCUG itself is not a user group; only user groups themselves are members. APCUG product and services are offered to group leaders, who can choose to share those products and services with their members.
APCUG began after a series of meetings and discussions between representatives from various user groups around the country about improving communications between groups and sharing information. The presidents from three user groups—Boston Computer Society, Capital PC User Group, and Houston Area League of PC Users—organized the First Annual User Group Summit meeting at the 1986 Fall Comdex.
After that first Summit meeting and subsequent meetings, the leaders of 15 user groups met in Seattle in October 1987, and proposed the formation of an association for the purpose of fostering communication among and between user groups. That proposal was presented before 130 representatives from 50 user groups at the Second Annual User Group Summit Meeting in November 1987, and was unanimously approved.
Products and services
APCUG offers several services to its member groups, including:
- An international Registry of PC User Groups, which is shared with participating groups, publications, and vendors, with the goal of helping groups take advantage of services provided by manufacturers, publishers, and publications.
- Encouraging hardware manufacturers and software publishers to establish formal user group support programs and providing them lists of APCUG member user groups to facilitate such programs, and maintaining a vendor database for groups that summarizes various vendor programs and provides company representatives' names and contact information.
- APCUG.net, an array of several Internet servers in various cities that provide a number of internet services, including:
- web pages with information about APCUG;
- mailing lists for User Group officers to communicate with their peers;
- a WebBoard and a blog;
- web space for a number of User Groups, and
- several other services, all accessible through the APCUG website.
- Planning and coordinating user group activities at major computer shows and expositions — once at the Spring PC Expo and Fall COMDEX shows (which are defunct), now at the CES show — including professional development seminars for user group officers, computer product showcase and exposition exclusively for user group officers, the APCUG Summit Meeting held during Fall Comdex, computer industry sponsored technology briefings, and sponsored breakfasts, luncheons and receptions. Starting in 2009, APCUG discontinued the annual meeting concurrent with CES, and has started regional meetings concurrent with user groups' regional events.
- Sharing user group resources and vendor programs through a clearinghouse giving user groups access to resources created by other user groups they can use as models for their own products. These include:
- Help articles for user group leaders and volunteers to help them improve their own group's products and services.
- Communications, a set of how-to articles to help member group officers publicize their groups and activities.
- Push articles, or articles written by members of APCUG-member user groups meant to be republished in user group newsletters.
- Tips and tricks, short articles on using various computer programs (mostly Windows-based), also meant to be used in user group newsletters.