MUG shot — WA

Nicholas Pyers
21 April, 2008
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Australia’s largest state is the home to two extremely active and vibrant Macintosh User Groups: WAMUG and GMUG.

WAMUG. The Western Australian Macintosh User Group, WAMUG, is based in the world’s "most remote capital city" of Perth and was founded back at the very dawn of the "Age of Macintosh" (aka 1984) to help users learn about, enjoy and maximise the use of their Macs.

The group meets on the first Tuesday evening of the month at Curtin University Bently Campus. A lot gets cramed into a 90-minute meeting, starting with an open Q&A session where anyone can ask questions about their Macs followed by two to four short presentations, conducted by both members and external presenters, on various interesting topics. Shame I didn’t get to their April 1st meeting — I really would have loved to have seen an Argentinean hedgehog with an Apple logo painted on its spikes (check out WAMUG’s web site archive for more information).

In between meetings, members can stay in touch through the WAMUG mailing list, which currently has around 500 subscribers and is open to financial members and the general public.

Membership to WAMUG is only $30pa and can be paid in person at a WAMUG meeting, by sending a cheque or online via PayPal.

GMUG. The Geraldton Macintosh User Group, GMUG, is located about four and half hours drive north of Perth and whilst it is a comparatively small User Group it welcomes members from all over the globe — many of whom have lived previously in Geraldton but are now relocated elsewhere. These far flung members are still encouraged to participate in the GMUG monthly meetings via live links using Sykpe and iChat AV.

These meetings, usually held held on the last Saturday of each month, are very informal, social and entertaining yet informative events, and are often held in a different member’s home each month. Meeting topics ideas are voted upon by members through discussion on the GMUG mailing list and by vote via the GMUG web site. Then those topics that gather the most feedback are the ones presented at the next meeting.

Membership to GMUG is free of charge which gives you access to a very active mailing list as well as access to Facebook and Ning social network pages. The group does ask for a gold coin donation to go into the club’s kitty from those that attend the meetings.

Both WAMUG and GMUG have recently revamped their web sites with new modern looks, and additional content is always been added to both sites. Although both sites are hosted on the same Xserve, which is owned by WAMUG and housed by an Australian hosting company, each group has used different products to create and maintain their respective sites —WAMUG uses WordPress whilst GMUG are using RapidWeaver. It’s great to see two MUGs working together and sharing resources yet each one coming up with its own unique services and branding.

If you are ever visiting Perth or Geraldton, try to co-ordinate your travel so you can drop in to either (or even both) of their meetings, as both groups will warmly welcome you. And don’t forget you can always join GMUG meetings virtually.

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