We've Come a Long Way, Baby!
Naples MacFriends User Group (NMUG) had its genesis in 1984 when a Macintosh computer was received in the Collier County headquarters facility in Naples, Florida.
When Robert Demarest, then Director of the Collier County Library system, opened the box from Apple, set up and turned on the M0001, he must have cried “Eureka”. It was no Lisa and, of course, not a PC. It didn’t even sport a hard drive: It used a floppy. But it did things that rippled the good mind. It was the first Mac!
The cognoscenti soon gathered and numbers began to grow. Folks with an IBM 5150 were already organized as the Personal Computer Business User Group or ‘PC BUG’ of Naples. But it was the Mac that appealed to extraordinary people, and it took them time to get their act together.
Loose meetings were held and members, as they do today, presented programs. Phil Teders, who arrived in 1987, gave an early demonstration of Photoshop, and he still remembers his wonderment at seeing a 1 GB hard drive that Demarest showed them all. Others there included Dean Lester, a young man who could take a Mac apart and put it back together again.
One Mac cost $2,485 and probably equaled that of three PCs. “Mac people would use it regularly,” said Demarest. “Professionals began to come in to use it for graphics. For a time, it really got crowded.”Mac users began to show up and share their joy and, of course, the challenging tech problems with solutions lying in a mass of code or series of commands stretched the brains of that group.”
Newsletters were prepared and members of the local Mensa group began to pop in, stay, and contribute. With Demarest’s enthusiasm and support, the lively but informal group met regularly in the Library Meeting Room through the late 80’s.
In 1992-3 the Mac group numbered (in season) about 30-40 members. At the September 1993 meeting, the loose group organized themselves, electing a president, a secretary , and a treasurer. The Club began to take form. It joined the ‘User Group Connection’, Apple’s newly organized special company that distributed software and other proprietary packages to users groups. In 1994, the by-laws were adopted. The group had grown, by this time, to 60 members and were still climbing.
The Club’s weekly help group blossomed to become a mainstay … a place where literally hundreds of Mac users in, and visiting, Collier County could seek and find answers to problems and beguiling questions.
When, in 1995, the World Wide Web arrived in Naples, the Club helped everyone understand what it was all about and how to get online. With the dedication of members, Mac users were online months before the first Windows software was made available.
And so to today. We have kept growing, with over 800 members now and still serving and expanding during times of change and upheaval.
Our Zoom meetings have become hugely popular and NMUG now has a global reach, with members and visitors from many countries.
We like to think we helped put Mac on the map, and we continue with the spirit and outreach of all those who pioneered in uncharted territory.