Tech-Friendly: Join an Apple user group to learn more about your Mac, iPad and iPhone

Paul Gorski
Paul Gorski

By Paul Gorski

Long before Apple had Genius Bars for friendly Mac advice, there were Macintosh User Groups. From “User groups are organizations created by people interested in sharing information about their computers and what they can accomplish with the help of digital technology. User groups are about the technology, but also about the friendships that result. Over 800 user groups worldwide have registered with Apple — some with fewer than 30 members, others with over 1,000.”

Now known as Apple User Groups, as members share information about Mac and iOS devices, these users’ groups help answer member questions, offer presentations, and provide members with access to discounts on books, magazines and other materials. These groups are also a terrific way of making business contacts and networking within your community.

Rockford is fortunate to have the Stateline Macintosh User Group (

SMUG meets the fourth Tuesday of every month, except December, at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, 1601 Parkview Ave., Rockford. Meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. A recent SMUG meeting agenda included: a video presentation, some Macintosh tips and tricks, an iOS show and tell, and a members’-only drawing. SMUG has been active for years and invites you to attend a meeting to learn more about the group.

User groups have always been a great way of meeting people who have practical Mac, iPad and iPhone experience. These are users just like you, not sales people, who simply want to know how to best use their technology. Novices and experts belong to these user groups — ask your questions and do not be bashful.

If you do not live in the Rockford area, you may find your nearest Apple User Group using the search tool at

I also encourage you to visit ( for links to the latest Mac and iOS news and tips. It is the second news I visit every day after reading The Rock River Times at

Paul Gorski ( has been a technology manager nearly 20 years, specializing in workflow solutions for printing, publishing and advertising computer users. Originally destined to be a chemist, his interest in computers began in college when he wrote a program to analyze data from lab instruments he hard-wired to the back of an Apple IIe.

Posted Sept. 9, 2014

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