Back in January 2002, 8 intrepid geeks had coffee in a Lindfield Cafe at the inaugural meeting of what was then the Sydney PocketPC Usergroup. Tuesday night saw almost 50 people celebrating the continued success of the group from those humble beginnings.

The evening began with a group Christmas Dinner at Ablaze in the Entertainment Quarter (Fox Studios). The food was great, and the company better. For me the insight was about the diversity of our membership. From Anaesthetists to Developers, Entrepreneurs to IT Managers, all with a common bond. A love of gadgets.

Ablaze

After dinner we had our annual prize draw. This was  facilitated by a great little Windows mobile app written by Chris Anderson of J3 fame some years ago, which randomly picks names out of the “hat.” Between the Usergroup funds and our fantastic sponsors, we had an amazing bunch of prizes this year. Our major prizes comprised no less than: jabra-bt

  • 3 Samsung Omnias,
  • An HTC Touch Diamond,
  • 3 Jabra Dogtag Bluetooth Headsets,
  • A pocket projector,
  • A personal heads-up display.

Imagine my surprise and dismay when I was drawn for the Omnia. Surprise because I rarely win a prize and dismay because I handed it back into the prize pool. Then the random application pulled my name out for a second time, this time for the Touch Diamond, which again I let someone else win. Of course my heart was set on the pocket projector, or the heads-up personal display, both of which as a paid up member I felt there wasn’t a conflict of interest in winning. But alas, my name didn’t come up again.

After all the prize draws, everyone picked up the rest of our great giveaways: a Samsung Mobile cap, an HP Water clock, and  goodie bag with laser pointers, amongst other things. Where else do you get showbags for a Usergroup event? Then it was off to the Grand Finale of the evening.

It happens to be a Christmas Gala season at the Comedy Store currently. So for our ticket we got 2 hours worth of 6 comedians, finishing with Jacque Barrett. Who, by the way, is hilarious.

ComedyStoreEvery year our party grows, in numbers, in celebration, and in giveaways. I’d personally like to acknowledge a bunch of people; not only for organising one of the best party’s we’ve had, but for working tirelessly behind the scenes to facilitate a great and vibrant group:

From the SWMUG Exec, without whom we simply wouldn’t have this illicit fun every month:

  • Jon Harsem – the current Fearless Leader of SWMUG
  • Kean Maizels – founder and Treasurer
  • Ron Rosenbaum – Liaison and the best procurer of gadgets for giveaways a group could ask for
  • John Seymour – looks after our machines
  • Nick Rayner – Mr Website (and reviewer)
  • James McCutcheon – some say he can spit with his mouth closed, others think he’s spliced to the matrix. All we know is he’s our Tame MVP!!!

From our sponsors (In no particular order):

  • Microsoft
  • HP
  • Palm
  • Samsung
  • HTC
  • Brightpoint
  • Press Digital
  • Tech Pacific
  • nSquared

We couldn’t run the group, and certainly not with as much fun as we do, without our valuable sponsors.

And finally of course, to every person who comes to our meetings, subscribes to the group, and helps out at every opportunity. The reason I still come along after 7 years is because of the friends I have made. A lot has changed over the years, Windows Mobile is no longer the clunky PDA based on WinCE 1.0 in a world dominated by Palm. Just like the technology, our group has changed in scope, and size. But at it’s core, the passion, and my friends, remain. And the gadgets make us drool with anticipation like they always will.

R42