The Next Underground Project – Underground Computer Club

3-2-10: Initial release.

3-3-10: See the initial sneak peak at the badass forum!!!!

The other day while at work, an ingenious idea hit me during the middle of the day. Instead of focusing on my real work responsibilities, I spent a good 15 minutes sketching out on paper this idea that I could just not let go. Not sure how it got into my head, but it was one of those moments where I just had to think it through.

In fact, I got so excited writing my thoughts down that I could not stop thinking about it since yesterday. Now today I am  happy to reveal the next project for the Underground blog.

Before I dive deep into it, let me start off with an allegory.  As children as we grew up, we went to school and at school we had extra curricular activities.  These could be anything such as sports, clubs, tutoring sessions, or community service. Nonetheless, if your school was hip enough, hopefully you had a computer club.

My school had a computer club, and now that I think about what we did back then, it purely was laughable.  My computer club was essentially 10 guys going to the library listening to the librarian teacher trying to teach us HTML. After we were done with the lesson, we would hop onto the library computer LAN and play Starcraft against each other for a good half hour before the bus came to take us home.

I know, it seems pretty sad in retrospect, but who would have known Blizzard was going to become a RTS king?  Regardless of the story, maybe you had a computer club at school?  If you were part of a computer club, I want to hear about it and learn what you guys did back then. Hopefully, it was something inspiring and you learnt something cool about technology.

Now let’s jump forward to 2010 and listen to my grand idea.

What’s your idea Versatile?

Before you jump to conclusions, just hear me out.  What if I took that same concept of the computer club, but somehow morphed it into something suitable for the underground?  Let me paint a picture so you can see my vision as to where I am heading:

Imagine a time where each week (bi-weekly, monthly, etc) where on a Friday night, we hosted an online chat session where at the beginning of each session is a “teacher”. The topic(s) to be discussed is up to the teacher’s discretion, but I see it working such as the teacher gives his lesson, and informs the rest of the “students” or online participants about this certain topic.  Once the lesson is done, there is a Q&A session and additional follow-up as necessary.  Maybe a project or homework assignment?

Now ideally each session there is a new teacher to help introduce a new topic, but if help is short, I am more than willing to do all the sessions myself, but I don’t want to drop over dead.  At the end of each session, a brief meeting minutes will be created and sent out so that participants who cannot join the online session can at least read the minutes and get up to speed.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?

The Logistics:

The only issue I am combating is time, because there is no way in hell I can host a session globally.  Right now I am tentatively looking at a one hour session hosted on Friday nights, like 7pm GMT -6 time.  It will be convenient for those in Canada, USA, and maybe nearby countries outside of the USA.  Those people who are in Europe, Asia, and maybe Australia will not have the pleasure to attend the online sessions unless they decide to stay up late or skip work. >_<

The other part of the logistics to figure out is where to host the online conversations. Originally, I was thinking that a productive session could be hosted within IRC networks. I can easily create a #Underground_Chat channel, and people can join with their IRC clients and participate. A screenshot of a session is below:

Another possibility that I am also toying with is looking into an online message board. I am in discussion right now with another underground reader who has the capability to setup such a message board system. If I deem it acceptable, it can have a chat room structure to it, and it would be relatively easy for the community to post topic ideas for discussions, volunteer to be a teacher, and of course write up quick meeting notes.  The possibilities are endless!

However, everything comes with a price. If in the first few sessions it turns out interest is poor, then I may kill the entire project. Who knows?  Maybe it might explode?  Before the first session occurs, I am going to spam it on the blog, twitter, and youtube. Then we shall see how the first session will go. I can’t wait for it to happen.

Worst case scenario: The number of attendees is fairly small (10 guys or less) and what happens is all 10 of us become best buddies and grow so much smarter than our friends and counter-parts.  In this case, it was worth it so those who don’t join then not a worry. You are just missing out on some great learning sessions is all.

I bounced this idea off a few other people who are into tech and run websites and they like the idea a lot, and one has even volunteered to be a future teacher!

If a person wanted to say stream his desktop to show off a pdf or a powerpoint file, it can be arranged as well too. I took a look at website which has a nice software package where you can stream your desktop to others.

Now how soon am I looking to start? I am going to be out this weekend, so right now I am planning the session to be next Friday! How is that for a quick turnaround?  Not sure if a message board will be up or anything, but expect further details as the days progress.

Let me know what you think, and if you want to help out, let me know!

Posted on March 2, 2010, in Extra-Curricular Activity and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. Obviously I’m totally down. I was thinking we could start off ideas on what to cover in the first meeting right here with the comments. This way we can get an idea of what people are thinking, and also get an idea of who would be down for participating. Also you should tell people there will be “Punch & Pie” so they show up (if you don’t get this joke then we probably shouldn’t converse with each other ever again haha).

    -Viva Le’ Resistance’!

  2. I totally agree. Let’s start right now. I don’t have an idea yet for the first session, so let me sleep on it and I’ll have something tomorrow for us to chew on.

    If I could host milk and cookies, I definitely would!

  3. As i said the other day, I’m loving the idea. I might be able to contribute a lesson or two at some point as well.
    Why don’t you make the weekly poll related to the topic for the first session?

  4. Good idea man🙂
    Although maybe the teacher should use a mic for his/her convinience bundled with the chat/whiteboard/screensahare function they choose to use🙂

  5. Pretty cool idea man, it’s too bad I’m in Europe..I’ll see what time GMT-6 is in my timezone, and try to stay up late, since it’s on a Friday.
    But there’s one problem. What if a spammer shows up, and ruins it for everybody ?
    You never know..

    • spammers won’t be a problem…that’s why you have moderators and/or a controlled environment. From what Versatile is saying, this is more a club than a free-for-all…so I would assume you gotta know what’s up before you can participate.

      • At least in an IRC world, I have admin rights over the people. If using chat in a message board, can we squelch users?

        • yeah with a message board everyone would have to be a member before they could do anything if it’s setup correctly…so if there’s a problem, you know who it is, and you can ban the account, IP…everything. Another reason why I think it’s a better route than IRC…even though with IRC you can set it up as an invisible channel with a password…whatever works.

  6. 7 pm GMT -6.
    That’s like 1 am GMT.
    And that’s my time.. lmao

    I doubt i could participate here.:\
    But sneakily1’s suggestion is awesome. I could stay up late and turn up for topics which i think would be helpful for me.

  7. Cool. This sounds like fun! I’m in🙂 Wouldn’t it be easier to use voice chat or something for this. Typing lots of info. can be a pain for some people like me who suck at typing… lol. Maybe something like skype or ventrilo?

  8. I’ve noticed a lot of people suggesting the use of mics/video/screensharing. Here’s a suggestion if you decide to take that route: is a free solution for hosting live A/V streams, and they have a “co-host” feature where the host (probably Versatile) can select anyone in the chatroom, registered for the site or not, to be a “co-host,” which streams their audio/video directly to the users.
    I hope I didn’t make that sound more complicated than it is…

    • That sounds cool, and the presenter can run speech-text software so minutes are kept…and it could also be captured for an archive or something. My only thing about the A/V thing though is the lack of anonymity. Not that I’m trying to hide anything…but I think having a text-based forum would allow for slightly more controversial topics if needs be, and perhaps a more honest approach from presenters. I know a lot of people get camera/microphone shy (myself excluded…give me a crowd and it’s a good time haha). I’m just playing devil’s advocate a bit here, not trying to shoot anything down.

    • Nice idea. I know of which is similar, but not the co-host option. :0

      Update: If necessary, I could move it up to saturday morning (10 am gmt -6) , so at least most of europe can tune in.

      • The saturday time is 9 pm EST Australia/sydney which is good for me😀 and hopefully others in australia

  9. Everyone, see the post. I uploaded a picture of the new forum idea to support the Underground Computer Club, or UCC!

  10. Woah.. that forum looks like THE SHIT !!
    Amazing !

  11. Well if you want to use voice, remember I have a ventrilo server.🙂

  12. I think in the near future a test class should be held just to see if everything working🙂 or test the different idea’s.

  13. I think that combination of vent + some chat for microphone shy people would be ok … count me in😀

  14. sir i am king omoefe avwevuruo
    sir i want to join that computer club

  15. i want to use help me on my pat of work for the bad boys you no want to do i have just one account an is 2890001014107

  1. Pingback: Inner Motivation – Why I Do What I Do « Welcome to the Underground.

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