• New club looks to boost local tech knowledge
    By Elicia Mailhiot
    Correspondent | January 14,2014
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    Kindle. iPhone. HTML. Facebook. Technological jargon has become a part of many Americans’ vocabulary in the past decade. A few local residents have been living outside the confines of a small screen, but now they want to know how to build their own website or send messages to their friends on social media.

    That’s where the Rutland Tech Club comes in. The newest club in Rutland County held its first meeting Saturday at Rutland Free Library. More than 10 people showed up for the brainstorming session to share what they want to learn with club founders Ron Pulcer and Stephen Waite.

    The duo decided to create a group to not only fill a void in Rutland, but to form a group of people who are interested in learning and upgrading their information technology skills, Pulcer said. They also hope that some participants will be willing to share their skills in the future through workshops and other teaching methods.

    “The hope of this is that we can show you how to build your own things and not rely on Mark Zuckerberg,” said Pulcer, referring to the co-founder of Facebook.

    Those who attended the meeting not only had different reasons for being there, but many had different skill levels as well. Some had already programmed their own websites, while others were unsure of what a browser was.

    Dorothy Webber, like others in the group, said she hopes to learn more about social media tools for personal use.

    “I want to learn a little more about Facebook,” she said. “So I can communicate with the young ones.”

    Before Jack Crowther was coordinating the Wild Woods Music Co-op, he wrote for the Rutland Herald. He knows how to publicize a business, he said, just not using social media.

    “I’d be interested in learning how do you publicize a nonprofit group and use this media,” he said. “The social media part of it is really what I’m still a novice at.”

    Crowther also questioned how businesses make interaction with followers valuable.

    “I found Facebook really easy to ignore,” he said. “You know, you get notifications saying a photo of you has been tagged and I just kind of say ‘OK’ and move on. I’m a nonactive user of Facebook.”

    The group’s founders said they hope to provide the answers to participants’ questions and to use the group as a way to help the community, Pulcer said. He has been meeting with Greg Cox of the Vermont Farmers Food Center about creating Web applications. Because the center is a nonprofit organization, they rely heavily on volunteers.

    “What he wants to do seems pretty ambitious, but I’d like to see what we can do,” Pulcer said.

    Because the group is in its start-up phases, they don’t have a budget. Pulcer said several local businesses, such as the Farmers Food Center, have offered the use of its space.

    The next Rutland Tech Club meeting is planned to begin at 1 p.m. Feb. 8 at Rutland Free Library. For more information, visit rutlandtechclub.wordpress.com/.
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