Washington Apple Pi

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August General Meeting

by Lawrence I. Charters, Vice President, Macintosh

August General Meeting
August is a vacation month for the people who normally plan and set up General Meetings. In a tradition dating back many years (don't ask me how many; I'm a relative newcomer), the Game SIG (Special Interest Group) assumes control of the August meeting for both the Apple II and Macintosh sides of the house. This tradition seems to involve an exceptional amount of equipment; some of the Macintosh games appear to require not only massive amounts of hard drive space, but massive amounts of memory, CD-ROM drives, speakers, and maybe a professional rock concert sound engineer or two.
Tom Witte, a Pi director and Vice President for Administration, joined me in the lobby outside the auditorium as co-host for an all-morning question and answer session. These are always entertaining; people come up and swear they know nothing about the Mac and need help, then spend quite a bit of time answering questions asked by others. If you have a chance, watch the people asking the questions rather than those answering the questions, especially if someone starts out with the almost standard phrase, "This is probably a dumb question..." If the question is so dumb, why is everyone listening so intently to the answer?
Since I wasn't in the meeting area, I didn't see what went on, so asked Mike Dickman, Games SIG Chair, to offer a report:

The Mac portion of the meeting hosted by the Game SIG saw demos of Myst, Civilization, and Warlords. The Myst demo featured the QuickTime movie "The Making of Myst" which comes on the Myst CD-ROM. For those who are interested in games and have a Mac with a CD-ROM player, Myst is a must-have item. In fact, it may be the best game anywhere, on any platform to date. It has stunning graphics, great sounds and imaginative puzzles. A sequel is expected in about a year.
Civilization is a simulation in a class with SimCity and SimEarth, but here the object is to establish a civilization consisting of cities which can build armies for conquest, if you choose that as a goal, or build Wonders of the World such as the Great Wall. Of course you will need some armies to survive even if you are peaceful, because your neighbors will often not be.
Warlords is for those who want combat without any of that peaceful stuff interfering. Eight players, any of which can be computer or human, struggle for dominance in the fantasy world of Illuria. Starting from a single city, players conquer other cities (there are eighty cities total) which can in turn produce more armies to attack more cities. Play is fast and addictive.
The Game SIG thanks everyone who brought games and equipment, even though we didn't get to explore all the software that was provided.

September 1994
Washington Apple Pi will be moving in September (with luck, before you read this). If you have a big truck, a strong back, and some packing boxes, or any combination of these, we can save Big Bucks by moving ourselves. We are moving to save money on rent, and every dime we spend on renovating our new quarters and moving the office will help save even more money. Since no computer expertise is required, it would be Real Nice if we saw something other than the usual band of volunteers.
Big things are in the works at the Sept. 24 General Meeting as Washington Apple Pi hosts Microsoft. Microsoft will be on hand to show off Microsoft Word 6.0, Excel 5.0 and PowerPoint 4.0. Power Macintosh owners, in particular, are keeping their fingers crossed, hoping the new Office suite finally takes advantage of the PowerPC RISC technology. Those with older Macs will be just as interested in seeing if Microsoft is making software for "the rest of us," or for some mythical user known only to people in Redmond.
Warning: we will probably have a capacity crowd, so show up early. Not to just get a good seat, but to get any kind of seat. We will also have an impressive drawing after the presentation.
October 1994
The October 22 General Meeting will be a collaborative effort designed to show how ordinary mortals can produce spectacular color documents using off-the-shelf hardware and software. Proxima will talk about their Proxima Ovation LCD video projector (a star at Pi meetings for a couple years now), Microtek will use their scanners for capturing art, Claris will show how easy it is in either ClarisImpact or ClarisDraw to produce spectacular graphic images, and Tektronix will polish everything off by printing the color graphics with both speed and fidelity.
This isn't just hype; you really will be impressed. Or your admission charge to the meeting will be fully refunded.
November 1994
Not wishing to conflict with Thanksgiving, the General Meeting will be a week early, on November 19. Casady & Greene, one of the oldest Macintosh software companies, will be showing some of their newest games and utilities. They've been in the Mac business as long as Microsoft, but with a difference: their products are inexpensive, and usually much more fun.
Rounding out the meeting will be a full-fledged demonstration of the Internet. Since most people don't have a direct link to the Internet, the demo will be done with the same tools you are likely to use: a modem and a Macintosh. Mosaic, Gopher, Fetch and other strange sounding tools will be shown. We've had more requests for an Internet demonstration than almost any other topic, so this promises to be a packed meeting, too.
December 1994
Roughly a thousand people will descend on the winter edition of the Pi's Computer Garage Sale, shopping for bargains, gossip and information. In addition, for a modest donation to the Pi, you can have your Macintosh go through a checkup to confirm health or, possibly, diagnose existing or future problems. You'd probably like to know the details but, right this moment, those haven't been confirmed.
Drawing winners Grip It Strips (vendor unknown): Alan Day
NEC canvas bag (NEC): John Shearer
Apple Mouse Pad (Apple): Mike Williams
Apple Mouse Pad (Apple): Onie Libeau
GTSI Mouse Pad (GTSI): Frank Nawora
GTSI Mouse Pad (GTSI): Glenn Paterson
MacMovie videotape: Timothy R. Childers
Little System 7 Book (Peachpit): Jerome Williams
Mac, Word, Excel Desktop Companion (Ventana): Susan Kayser
Voodoo Mac (Ventana): David R. Reidenbach
Internet for Dummies (IDG Books): Michael Libeay
Super Maze Wars (Calisto): Attila Horvath
Apple Macintosh IIci: donated by Falcon Microsystems
Proxima Ovation projection system: loan courtesy Proxima Corporation
Various Macs for demos: Washington Apple Pi members
Setup and worrying: Bill Wydro, Tom Witte, the Game SIG
Novice Corner, Question & Answer Help: Tom Witte

Send meeting comments to: lcharters@tcs.wap.org.

So far, with one exception, the only comments I've received have been from non-Pi members, mostly in other states and countries.

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