About thirty attendees packed the Green Room of Memorial Hall last night for the Harvard Computer Society's (HCS) general meeting. Held once per semester, the meetings are a chance for the club's officers to update members on current and upcoming projects.
HCS President Virginia J. Beauregard '01 said there are an outstanding number of new projects in the works, perhaps "the most in the society's recent history." She said the club has been reinvigorated lately with an increased membership--the result of a fall welcoming project--allowing it to pursue more projects, including a service project outside of Harvard.
The HCS Teach program, set to being in the next few weeks, will pair HCS teachers with students at Kings School and Peabody School, both in Cambridge. Alice H. Pritikin '01, who is co--directing the program with David L. Ormsbee '02, said Cambridge's public schools all have fully networked computer labs, but "the teachers don't always know enough about computers to use them most effectively."
According to Pritikin, the program will pair two students with every HCS teacher, who will give instruction once per week in topics such as Web design, word processing and spreadsheets.
Also underway are plans for a manual called Linux@Harvard, which would provide instruction for running the operating system Linux. A variant of Unix, Linux has been growing in popularity. Project overseer Suhas K. Daftuar '00 said Linux is "more stable than other operating systems available in the mainstream market; it's faster; and it's free."
In the past, according to Beauregard, a publication called Computers@Harvard was published by HCS to help students pick computers and set them up on the Harvard network. Incoming students are now "more computer-savvy" than before, however, making the guide unnecessary. Linux@Harvard, she said, will fill the hole left by the discontinuation of Computers@Harvard.
In the future, Beauregard hopes HCS will create an on-line facebook including all Harvard undergraduates. She also imagines that a "finger-able laundry machine" may one day enable students to type in a command that would give the status of all the laundry machines in a given House.
HCS is a group of undergraduates "that gets together to do anything related to technology," Beauregard said. Relying on its members to come up with projects, HCS then provides a support network for these projects to be realized.
Highly successful ongoing projects include Account Services, which answers e-mail inquiries directed at HCS. HCS also directs a variety of seminars, which instruct students in the use of HTML, Photoshop, and other Web-related programs. More recently, HCS has completed an online calendar accessible to students from the Harvard College Web site.
Bi-weekly meetings occur at which decisions are voted on for specific projects. The general meetings, though are important for "touching base with the entire membership" and setting the tone for the next semester, Beauregard said. All meetings are open to members, HCS alumni, and non-members who might be interested in becoming involved with a project.
The meeting concluded with Business Manager Michael W. Bodell '00 announcing the budget for the upcoming year.
Echoing the sentiment of many attendees, Bodell said that he feels "the upcoming semester should be great." He added that over the past semester, the Society's active membership has doubled to a total of 63. This jump was largely thanks to the "Welcoming Program," a brainchild of David B. Alpert '00, which used "theme days" to instruct students in Web design and computer systems.
Beauregard pointed to the healthy turnout at the meeting as a good indication that members will be enthusiastically involved this semester. "The number of people who showed up really show how much people care," she said.
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