Motorhome Chapter Spotlight | FMCA
Join these motorhomers in their quest to obtain and share helpful data about computing.
By Peggy Jordan, F401999, Associate Editor
FMC Magazine, June 2010
It takes eight bits to make one byte. But you don't need to know that to join the Bits & Bytes chapter. You just need to be curious about how to better use and enjoy your computer.
When the chapter was formed in 1998, technology was changing the RV lifestyle forever. Home computer ownership was commonplace, and RVers were likewise stocking their rolling homes with monitors, keyboards, and processors. FMCA member Jerry Sullivan realized the need to form a group of motorhomers curious about the digital world; so, during FMCA’s 23rd annual winter international convention in Las Cruces, New Mexico, he and a group of interested RVers became the charter members of the Bits & Bytes chapter.
The chapter's purpose is to share information, not to hold rallies or socials. Annual dues are only $1 per family (currently the chapter has 61 member families), and the chapter gets together twice a year at FMCA conventions. Membership is not dependent upon being a computer expert; in fact, you are encouraged to join simply to get the information that is passed along to you.
Soon after the Bits & Bytes chapter was formed, some members, including immediate past chapter president Peter Bradish, began providing computer seminars at FMCA conventions. Peter said topics included how to use a scanner (the trickier kind that existed several years ago) and how to connect a telephone modem hookup in your coach.
The chapter's reputation of assisting others spread. Within a few years, Bits & Bytes members could be seen sitting at the Computer Help Desk at FMCA's conventions, dispensing digital advice. "Back when dial-up was the only thing, FMCA began providing dial-up lines at the conventions," Peter recalled. "They wanted us to help people use them. That was how the Computer Help Desk began."
Since 1998 information technology has changed dramatically. Peter said many FMCA members now get their advice and information by searching the Internet. But Bits & Bytes chapter members still provide answers to common questions, as they did at the convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico, this past March.
In the current age of "smart phones" and satellite access, the chapter remains committed to its main focus: computers. "Last summer we were giving information about where to look for opinions about Windows 7; or, we send info about a place where people can clean spyware from their computers,” Peter said. “We give basic hints and tips for things people can do on their computers."
And that is still plenty.