Tech. Committee History

Thanks to Chuck Gillies for these memories of the origins of the Tech. Committee                        

This is history from memory so, undoubtedly, needs improvement, but I am pretty sure of the starting point.

At a recent Council meeting in prep for showing the PowerPoint on the 2009 Survey I projected a picture of my family, recently visiting.  Seeing the young lady in the front, approaching her twelfth birthday, reminded me that when she was born in California in July of 1998 I returned to show her picture in my two 5CLIR seminars that fall.  I felt this was justified because in “Globalization,” a seminar I did with Naomi Yanis, the digital picture I showed was sent cross country instantaneously – a good example of new globalizing forces.  In George Snook’s seminar, “The Anglo Saxons” I was justified in showing her picture, because her name was Matilda, the frequent name of the Anglo-Saxon queens.

Now, I believe that that fall (September, 1998) John Armstrong took up the challenge of creating the first 5CLIR website and asked for volunteers to help and I was one.  I had begun my digital camera experience taking the above picture of Matilda with her grandparents’ birth-present, a video camera which had a digital-still capacity.  John assigned me to “find some 5CLIR member who has a digital camera” so we could have pictures on the web.  I called everyone in the organization I knew who either (a) was into computers and/or (b) did photography.  NO ONE had a digital camera (this is fall, 1998)!  So I went out and bought my first – a 1 megapixel point-and-shoot.  Thus began my five years or more of taking 5CLIR pictures, most of which still reside on my computer.

Back to the issue – the origins of the Tech Committee:  so John Armstrong was chair of the “web committee.”  We had begun about the same time the “Computer Circle” group, led by Hy Edelstein and Harley Unger.  Pretty soon someone suggested we buy the relatively new digital projector.  Up to that point the only high tech investments that 5CLIR had made were for some audio-enhancement equipment that I believe Jay Melrose recommended, but which never found a use.  This had often been my experience in schools – expensive investments in technology with no follow up or use.  I urged the Council to NOT make the projector purchase UNLESS they formed a new Audio-Visual Committee of 10 – 12 members who would commit to (1) learning how to use the equipment (2) be available to help and train others in its use and (3) promote its use within the organization.  Council agreed and the first purchase was made for, I believe, over $4000.  I think David Navon became the first head of the A-V committee with, perhaps, Harley Unger as his assistant.

So we had three “Tech Committees:” website, computer circle and A-V.  Before too long they were merged into the Tech Committee and, my memory says, that Hy Edelstein was the first chair, followed by Peter Reitt, Philippe Meyer and now by Philippe and Janet Price as co-chairs.

May 30, 2010

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