Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society (TTCS) was officially launched in August 1997. Prior to that launch, the co-founders were members of the (now defunct) Society of Computer Users (SCU) and were in charge of organising meetings and maintaining the Infoline BBS.
This page chronicles the efforts of those co-founders: from the final days of the SCU in 1995, through the official dissolution in January 1996 to the seven months in 1997 leading up to the the launch of the TTCS.
After the dissolution, the future co-founders continued to hold computer meetings at the old venue (Brass Institute, Henry Street, Port of Spain). The meetings were informal and open to former members of the SCU as well as the general public. Interestingly enough, many former SCU members were quite supportive of these un-official meetings and soon there was talk about starting a new group. Important lessons were learned from the the SCU experience and after much planning and consultation, the Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society was launched in August 1997.
Sunday 12th January 1995 – Annual General Meeting
A new management committee was elected and the AGM report for 1994 was discussed
Sunday 26th March 1995 – Accessing Infoline and the Internet
Dave gave a presentation on modems and why computer users should get one. He then used his modem to access our Infoline BBS to show the the various resources available on the system.
Francis Pau then introduced “Professor” who talked about the Internet and how invaluable it was to him.
“Professor” demonstrated how he sends and receives e-mail, to and from persons all over the world, by dialing into a server in the United States and then telneting into his Internet e-mail account.
Note : This meeting was held at a time when there were no commercial Internet Service Providers in Trinidad and Tobago. For most members, this was their first look at the Internet and its various services.
Sunday 28th May 1995 – Introduction to Artifical Intelligence
Kerry Panchoo gave a presentation on Artifical Intelligence (AI). He talked about some of the hype behind AI; explained various AI concepts like neural networks; discussed Prolog (a LISP programming language used to write AI programs) and provided several examples of AI research. He then demonstrated several AI programs and showed the source code of the programs to members so that they could get a better understanding of Prolog, the most common language for AI.
Saturday 8th July 1995 – CD-ROM Technology
This meeting was held at Room 104, Faculty of Engineering, UWI. Mr. Harold Hendrie gave a presentation on CD-ROM and CD-ROM drives, including their history and benefits, the types of CD-ROM drives and how to install such drives.
He also demonstrated software stored on CD-ROM to show how the additional capacity of the CD-ROM allowed software developers to add more material to their programs especially graphics; something which was previously unfeasible because most software used to be distributed via floppy diskette.
Sunday 4th August 1995 – Demonstration of CD-ROM titles
Saturday 30th September 1995 – OS/2 Warp v3
Mr. Keri Alleyne, an IBM Customer Support Representative talked about OS/2 Warp v3 at the IBM conference facilities on St. Vincent Street, Port of Spain. Keri informed the audience that OS/2 has over 2000 native applications, as well as supporting DOS and Windows 3.x applications.
The demonstration machine was a 486 with OS/2 and 32MB RAM; He installed OS/2 to a computer over a network while playing DOOM at the same time. He also demonstrated OS/2’s Internet applications, by having three simultaneous but separate downloads from the Internet via a dialup link.
Saturday 15th October 1995 – A look at Windows 95
“Editor” showed members a Windows 95 training tape in order to give members their first look at the new interface and features of the latest operating system from Microsoft.
Francis then introduced Mr. Quentin Dyer, of Prodigy Limited, who explained to members that Prodigy was the Caribbean distributors for a wide range of video training material from Keystone Learning Systems Corp., MacAcademy, American Video Training and Advantage. He then introduced W. Richard Small, the presenter for the session.
Mr. Small discusssed the video series for Novell’s CNE (Certified Network Engineer) certification program. He summarised the course components and assured that individuals completing the course would possess a wide range of skills. His demonstration included showing small portions of some of the training tapes he had on display.
Sunday 26th November 1995 – Internet access via a local ISP
Sunday 17th December 1995 – AGM agenda
A final get-together for 1995 as well as discussions about the agenda for the upcoming 1996 Annual General Meeting.
Sunday 14th January 1996 – Annual General Meeting
Elections of the management committee were held and the AGM report for 1995 was discussed. This is the meeting where the decision was made to dissolve the SCU. Once made, the dissolution meant that all memberships became null and void and the Society of Computer Users ceased to exist.
Sunday 15th February 1996 – Netscape Plugins
NOTE: This was the first non-SCU meeting ever conducted by the people who who would eventually co-found the TTCS.
Ronald Roach of WOW.net, a local Internet Service Provider (ISP), was there to speak about WOW specifically and answer some questions about the Internet in general.
Update: Ronald Roach is no longer employed or in any way associated with WOW Net or WOW.Net (2001) Ltd.
Sunday 31st March 1996 – demonstration of CD-ROM titles
Sunday 5th May 1996 – MIDI and soundcards
Francis Pau gave us a demonstration of his french-horn playing ability while giving us a brief musical history lesson to help us understand the technical aspects of creating music with MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface).
Pau’s guest, a pianist, played notes on a MIDI keyboard connected to a computer to demonstrate how the software transcribed the notes played into standard music notation which could be saved or re-edited. Various aspects of making music were demonstrated using MIDI software and the installed wave-table sound card e.g. playing the original track using different instruments.
We then made a brief Internet search and discovered several MIDI sites containing a variety of songs from Abba to Mozart.
Sunday 9th June 1996 – Connecting two PCs via null modem cable
Pcw and Dave gave a brief description of the null-modem cable and then used Laplink to transfer files and access each other’s hard drives using two PCs connected with a null-modem cable.
A brief disscussion of two player games via modem/serial link was given followed by some “practical” demonstrations of various games like Duke Nukem 3D, Doom II, Terminal Velocity and Descent II. Various people tried their hand at these games but most were “nuked” by Pcw and Dave.
Sunday 1st September 1996 – A computer swap meet
There were not many buyers but there was a general discussion of various topics including local Internet access, Infoline and the demise of the SCU.
Sunday 7th October 1996 – Computer Viruses and Backup Technologies
Pcw gave a presentation on computer viruses and included information on E-mail viruses as well as Java security flaws. Procedures on how to prevent a virus from infecting your computer and how to remove viruses were also discussed.
Dave presented a overview of backup technologies like QIC tape and Travan; removable storage devices like Iomega’s Zip and Jaz drives and Syquest’s EZ-135 drive, as well as several optical storage technologies.
Afterwards, everyone in attendance got a chance to view the progress of the development of a proposed group web page.
Note: The idea of a new group was still in the early stages of acceptance and we had not even decided upon a name at the time. The web page was the result of ambitious thinking.
“Razor” demonstrated a on-line HTML format newsletter he had developed called IC (pronounced eye-see). The idea behind the effort was to produce a full colour newsletter without the hassle and expense of printing it on paper and mailing it, instead, it would have been distributed on Infoline for interested persons.
Sunday 7th November 1996 – A visit to WOW.net
Mr Ronald Roach of WOW.net met with the group at WOW’s office on 17 Sweet Briar Road, St Clair, Port of Spain. He talked about the history if WOW.net (which will be celebrating one year in operation the following Thursday, showed us the network hardware and gave a general explanation of how it worked to provide customers with Internet access. Mr. Roach then talked about the future of WOW.net and answered questions. Afterwards, we were allowed to use the computers at WOW to “surf the net”.
Sunday 15th December 1996 – Christmas “lime”
There were no topics for this last meeting of the year, just a simple get-together with a few snacks and soft drinks. We basically talked about what had been done for the year and plans for 1997. The general form and function of the new computer group were also discussed at this meeting.
Sunday 23rd February 1997 – PC Maintainence
Francis Pau introduced Jim, a corporate computer support technican from New York, U.S.A. He discussed various tips for optimising computer performance, safeguarding critical data and how to troubleshoot computer problems.
Wednesday 16th April 1997 – UWI Computer Expo
Pcw, “Razor” and Dave ran a booth at the computer expo at UWI. Since the details of the TTCS was still being worked out, we called ourselves the Computer Users Group.