Sunday, May 29, 2005

Opening night at the PalmSource DevCon

I really enjoy users groups – as I mentioned in a earlier post, user groups are comprised of members/enthusiasts from all over the world who are interested (in this case) about personal electronics devices powered by the PalmOS. Some Palm groups boasts membership rolls of 30 to 600.

My first experience with a tech user group was in summer of 1985 with the Apple Macintosh in Nashville with a very dynamic MacUsers group. Having learned a lot, I come to have a special affinity for user groups, whether they be men’s Bible studies, woodworking, mentoring, leadership, book clubs or blogging meetups.

However a VERY PASSIONATE group assembled at the PalmSource sponsored Palm Users Group (PUG) meeting which was held during the PalmSource Mobile Summit & DevCon 2005 at The Fairmont San Jose Hotel.

No StarWars costumes here! Posted by Hello

Members range in experience from fresh new Palm owners to experienced Palm software and hardware developers. Please note, no one dressed up in Star Wars garb, so this group is somewhat grounded and tethered to their Palm devices.

Developers, industry reps and local PalmSource staff were there in support: The 3 Amigos: longtime developer Howie Hirsch from Penticon all the way from Israel; Kenny West, founder of PalmGear and David Fedor from PalmSource Posted by Hello

Cohosting and sponsoring the preconference event were the following user groups: Silicon Valley User Group - San Francisco User Group - Hayward User Group - Stanford User Group - Sacramento User Group

If Snoop Dogg has a personal Bishop, then one could surmise that the presiding “Bishop” of the area PUGS has to be Pastor Chuck “PalmPassionaire” Horner of the Hayward User Group, the drunk on PalmPowered Kool-Aid Evangelist and Baptist Pastor. Man, I gotta hear this guy preach sometime! Super nice guy! fo' shizzle!

Larry Berkin kickin' it off at the PUG Meetup Posted by Hello

Monday night, the approximately 100 plus? in attendance made up of enthusiasts and developers enjoyed a fast paced evening starting with a welcome by Larry "BigDawg" Berkin, followed by Dave Nagel, outgoing President and CEO of PalmSource who has a passion for PUGS, followed by brief talks by Garmin, Aceeca, Motricity, a very nice slide presentation by Stephen McDonnell at palmOne, Handango and Pdassi.

my Motricity homeboy Teddy Kavadas & Rob Jonson of Hobbyist Software Posted by Hello

The evening was a smart way to connect and meet for the first time developers that I've been working with at PalmGear. It's always great to match up an email address with a face. The PUG meeting ended up being very festive with a prize raffle hosted by Master of Ceremonies extraordinaire Steve Oberhauser for the latest Palm Powered devices, merchandise and software giveaways donated by the generosity of the hardware vendors and participating developers such as Astraware, IntelliGolf, Handy Entertainment, Last Day of Work, Motion Apps, Sniderware, PocketBender, TealPoint, Mapopolis, OnTime Rx, PDAapps, iGolf Technologies, Solid Rock Software, Aerodrome Software, and Atkins Carb Counter.

Steve Oberhauser - Master of Ceremonies extraordinarie Posted by Hello

PalmSource has made a very strong commitment to the PUGS with a dedicated webpage with resources and the ability to find a local PUG in your area.

In fact if you don’t what a user group is or the implied benefits, Apple has a nice explanation with resources here.

In closing, it would be awesome to see large regional events like this with talks by developers meeting with local users, similar to the format of palmOne’s PUGapalooza a couple of years back when the Zire and TungtenE models were introduced across seven cities to PUG Groups. In Nashville, Tennessee, we call 'em gatherings FanFair or CMA Festival where country music fans dressed in cowboys hats and polyester during Country Music's Biggest Party! meet up close and in person with the greats of country music (and have a great time doing so!)

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