History of CEBUG

CEBUG began quite informally during 1982 shortly after the release of the Commodore 64 system. Five workers, at what was then called the New Departure plant located in Sandusky, Ohio, began getting together over lunch to discuss how they were using their machines. Their purpose was to share information with each other on how to accomplish tasks, so as to save time for others. As they found this to be so helpful, they agreed to meet outside of New Departure so others not working there could attend. These early meetings were very informal, with Dick Hennesey coordinating much of the group's activity. Many of those early meetings were held at the old Diamond Savings & Loan building.

During one such meeting in 1984, a decision was made by those present to organize the group in a more formal manner. Rudy Dudics became the first elected President, with meetings being held at Perkin's High School. The acronym for the organization, CEBUG, was chosen which stood for Commodore Erie Bay Users Group.

In January 1985, Forrest Airhart was elected as President. As the group grew, by-laws were drawn up and approved. A public domain lending-library of software was established using shareware. At the same time, a policy of not encouraging or condoning software piracy during meetings was established. Irene Kraus, first elected as Secretary in 1985 with the intent of creating a Newsletter, was elected as President in the late 90's. When a website for the organization was created in 1995, she took over management of those tasks (Webmaster); still holding these positions today.

Public meeting locations changed frequently, based on the needs of those attending. As the 80's passed, interest grew in other machine types. By 1990 the group was split into 2 main special interest groups (SIG). The first dedicated to Commodore machines, and the other to PC's running DOS and eventually Windows. At present, Windows is the primary OS type used by our members. However, we have members using other systems such as Linux, too. Though the acronym for our group has not changed, it now stands for Computer Erie Bay Users Group to reflect that diversity.

CEBUG continues to change with the time. A printed newsletter, for example, is not being produced due to the high cost of reproducing it. Instead articles are now shared through our site. All members may have their own blog, plus we publish content coming from other contributing authors and sponsors. Our site continues to grow, with the larger portion of it open only to members.

The structure of CEBUG and mission was firmly established during those early years. Thanks to the hard work of countless volunteers, it continues its mission to the community even today.

Newsletter Evolution to Website

During 1985, the task of creating a newsletter for the organization was given to the Secretary, Irene Kraus, and Al Larkins. Members were to contribute most of the written material. Though page design software was not very sophisticated yet, the membership loved the idea of utilizing the tools available to accomplish such a task. It is important to keep in mind that software available to create page layouts in these days was rather primitive when compared to those in use today. Early versions of the newsletter were created by breaking the page layout down into two separate columns of text with ‘holes’ left open for graphics. Each page was created by printing one element, such as the first column of text, then cranking the page back within the dot matrix printer so the next could be added. When Berkeley Softworks released its geoPublish software for the GEOS environment providing basic page layout functions, its use was quickly adopted.

The influence of the online world also played a major role in the evolution of CEBUG's newsletter. Through Q-Link (Quantum Link) articles and artwork were easily shared with other newsletter editors. The use of privately managed bulletin board systems (BBS) also grew, allowing for the exchange of information through world-wide networks such as Fido-Net, RIME, and Usenet groups on the Internet.

Another major change came in 1990 when Ms. Kraus began using a PC system running MS-DOS and Windows. Page layout tasks were then managed using Lotus’ AmiPro that was later renamed to WordPro. As time passed, usage of Adobe’s PageMaker came into play combined with the creation of PDF versions using Adobe’s Acrobat. Swaps of the newsletter in the form of a PDF between user groups all over the world became the norm. Over the years, numerous awards were given to Ms. Kraus within the user group community for her work as both a writer and editor.

Membership in CEBUG began to drop, however, as time moved into the new millennium resulting in less money being available for printing the newsletter. For a number of years, the PDF version of the newsletter was distributed by e-mail. During this same period, however, was also Ms. Kraus was also managing CEBUG’s website; serving in the positions of President, Webmaster, as well as Newsletter Editor (roles she holds to date). Eventually Ms. Kraus realized she could not continue to volunteering doing both projects. Although another volunteer for the position of newsletter editor was sought, none was found.  The last edition published late in 2002.

Today members of CEBUG, and a highly limited number of other authors from outside of our region, have blogs on CEBUG's site. Nearly all blog articles are published so that anyone may view them. The same is not true for PDF's containing either newsletters from other user groups or special offers provided to members by our Sponsors. Although anyone can subscribe to e-mail notices about when we publish such items, only members may view and download the PDF's.

Mailbag Summary

The Mailbag section contains copies of received messages from sponsors and affiliates. These can be: special offers, newsletters, web seminar notices, or any combination of the above. Please check out the Sponsorship Overview for details on how to become a sponsor if interested!

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