Wanted: A few new faces

Ted Stein, a regular at the Friday morning gathering of 'Coffee and Computers' made a comment to which I have been giving a lot of thought. He looked at the twenty-five or so people gathered to discuss computers and said that they are the same people week after week. Where are the new faces?

'Coffee and Computers,' a computer discussion group that meets at the Tustin Area Senior Center each Friday morning, started out as a small help session for people taking computers classes. Students would come in to the computer classroom on Friday mornings to discuss problems or questions they had when they tried to apply their classroom experiences to their own computers at home. There was no charge for these meetings and we could offer more individualized attention to subjects that may or may not have been covered in the classes.

It started with four or five participants. Then summer came along and we decided to move our meetings to the air-conditioned conference room of the Senior Center. We also added coffee and donuts. And we called the gatherings 'Coffee and Computers.' Slowly the word got around and the Friday morning gatherings started to grow. In fact, in a short while we outgrew the conference room and moved to our current location in classroom two.

The purpose has stayed the same however. We gather to discuss those individual problems that are seldom covered in various community computer classes. They range from how to choose a new computer to problems with printers to how to use digital cameras and much more. And the answers come from the experience of the group. Bob Swaim is our AOL expert. Jim Dalton is the rebuilding expert and Jim Matthews can help people in their homes. Jack Swisher keeps track if we get too technical. It's a group effort.

Now to Ted's concerns. Over the last year or so there has developed a core group of attendees. They are there almost every week and as a result their concerns and problems have become rather sophisticated. It's easy to veer off track and get into rather technical discussions of the merits of read-write or rewritable compact disks, for instance. And it's easy to see how these discussions can be intimidating to those whose concerns and questions may be less technical.

So we want to get back to our original purpose. We want new faces. We want to get back to the concerns of those whose computing or Internet adventures are just starting. Bill Curtis, we miss you. Marv and Joan, stick with us. Jim and Jack, keep us on track and don't let the discussions get too technical. And to those others who are in whatever phase of their computing experience, we want you to come in and visit and bring your questions.

We all believe that 'Coffee and Computers' serves a need in our community and we want to see it continue to grow and assist people of all computing experience in their adventures with this new and sometimes bewildering technology. The meetings are open to people of all ages and areas of residence.

So you all are invited to 'Coffee and Computers' at the Tustin Area Senior Center, 200 S. 'C' Street, any Friday morning from 9 a.m. until noon. Bring your questions or just come in and visit.

In the mean time, keep the neurons happy, synapses snapping and enjoy computing.


Dr. Art Holub is a long time resident of Tustin and teaches computer and Internet courses at the Tustin Area Senior Center and the Tustin Adult School. Visit his web site at: This column is written to address the computer adventures and concerns of older adults. If you have comments, questions or suggestions for future columns, Email HIM at:

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