A CDE Definition
An organization of users of a specific hardware or software product. Members share experiences and ideas to improve their understanding and use of a particular product. User groups are often responsible for influencing vendors to modify or enhance their products.
User groups were booming in the 1980s and 1990s, and although many have disbanded, new ones do occasionally arise, not as much for generic computing, but in niche areas.
The oldest surviving group in the U.S. is the Amateur Computer Group of New Jersey (ACGNJ). Founded in 1974 by Professor Sol Libes, it was one of the first computer clubs organized around microprocessors. ACGNJ also created the Trenton Computer Festival (TCF) in 1976, which it sponsors every year. TCF was the first personal computer show and flea market in the U.S. See Trenton Computer Festival.
Trenton Computer Festival
The first personal computer show in the U.S. It was started in 1976 by Professor Sol Libes and Dr. Allen Katz, and its two principal organizers were Trenton State College (now the College of New Jersey) and the Amateur Computer Group of New Jersey (ACGNJ). Expecting only a few hundred people, TCF drew several thousand attendees from all over the country, inspiring the creation of the West Coast Computer Faire shortly thereafter.
The show includes talks and seminars and an outdoor flea market, offering new and used electronic systems and parts. Since 2006, the Festival has been held at the College of New Jersey, near Trenton. A professional conference day was added on the Friday of the event weekend to round out the show. For visitor information, visit www.tcf-nj.org.
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