Group helps you get a grip on technology
FOR computer lovers Maurie Reynolds and Gay Buzza the digital rewards have been plentiful.
They have been members of the Maryborough Computer Users Group for almost 20 years and now teach the technology.
The group offers classes and workshops from introductory to the latest gadgets.
Maurie started with the club in 1998. He was employed at Maryborough Hospital working with government programs but wanted to get into Windows 95. "I worked with NCR machines at the hospital and that is how I got into computers because I inputted the inventory," he said.
"I also did that for Hosburghs Hardware who had tens of thousands of lines.
"People would come up from Brisbane to show us the new computers and that's when I really got interested in computers - I really enjoyed it.
"I bought a computer that had Windows 95 on it and I looked at it and said, what do I do?
"I had to get my daughter in-law to get me started and once that happened I was right.
"That was when hard drives were 40 megabytes. Now they are about 400 gigabytes."
The group started in 1995 meeting a people's houses but Maurie said they were mainly gamers.
A class was held at Sunbury State School where members would huddle around one computer asking questions.
"It started off with people having an interest in computers and learning more about them," Maurie said.
"As the interest grew they held classes on word processing.
"With more than 100 members the club divided into classes.
"When we moved to our current address we had in access of 300 members.
"As the years have gone on, we believe we have saturated the market and membership is now about 100 due to illness and age.
"I am retired now and I am a YouTube fan. I download a lot of music and put that onto USB and transfer it to my television so I can sit back and watch it on the big screen."
Gay said there had been lots of people through their door.
"A lot of people come and do a couple of classes and then you don't see them again, but we have a core group that come and stay."
The 12 committee members of the group are all voluntary.
Classes are set each term, which runs for eight weeks, dependent on teacher availability and any interest that is shown during the course.
There is a monthly workshop with a computer-related topic with questions and answers and social afternoon tea.
The next workshop will have a tutor from Toowoomba showing the new 3D printer.
Group president Bill McKinley said the group kept their classes and computers up-to-date.
Courses include Excel, introduction to computing, Facebook, Windows 10, Android phones and tablets and Photocraft.
"There are no exams and no tests - it is all very relaxed," Bill said.
"At the moment there is a tablet for androids course and one for the ipad iphone.
"Next term we will also introduce Facebook."
Teachers Grant Farrington and Kae Bellert have held a Introductory to Android Devices course.
"We are showing people how to set up devices like phones and tablets with email etcetera, going into settings, how to use photos, using the calendar, how to sync up your phone with your tablet and computer," Grant said.
"It is all about teaching the basic functions, the emails, SMS.
"We have had some good feedback from the class and there was a lot of people coming back, which is always a good thing."
"There has been lots of questions and we cater to the needs of those in the class, someone asked about the SD card so we spent time talking about that - we just go with the flow."
The club also offers a repairs workshop for members working on donation only.
Gay says when you have a computer and are passionate you can always find something to do on it.
"If it is wash-up time I can always find something to do on my computer. I enjoy making movies from photo stills.
"Anyone who says they know everything about computers is telling a big fib - not one person would know everything - it is such a large range of different areas.
"We find a lot of people are frightened of Facebook because of the bad things they have heard about it.
"We are trying to put it across that if you set it up correctly at the start and just be aware of what you put on there it can be a great way to keep in touch with friends and families.
"I have family in Melbourne and have never had so much contact with them as I have in the last few years since I have been on Facebook."
Bill said members were mostly retired people but they did have younger people.
"There is 12 to 13 people to a class.
"We hold beginners class from how to turn on the computer, use a USB, save - how to move around the programs to workshops on the latest and upcoming technology.
"We also have a hearing loop and are wheelchair- friendly.
"We will take anyone who wants to learn computers."
Maryborough Computer Users Group is located at 199 Sussex St (corner of Farrell St). Phone 4123 5931 on Monday, Thursday and Fridays from 9am-noon or email firstname.lastname@example.org.