The Big Apple Users Group was an Apple User Group and website in New York City. It was founded about 1978 and remained active until 2003. You were welcome whether you were a novice or a power user.
by Jim O'Reilly
BAUG was one of the earliest Apple User Groups, founded in 1978 or 1979, shortly after the introduction of the Apple II.
The Mac was introduced in 1984. In the early '90s, when I joined, with my Apple IIc, there were both Apple II users and Mac users. Although some Mac members who were experienced Apple II users were willing to be helpful to new Apple II users and answer Apple II technical questions, they often urged Apple II users to switch to the Mac. Some Apple II users resisted this admonition, as they felt that Apple had abandoned the Apple II, providing no backward compatibility.
Sometime around 1994 or 1995, the Mac users left our group for a Mac users group which provided better support for Mac users. They had planned to shut BAUG down, but when we Apple II users told them that we wished to continue as an Apple II group, the Mac users were co-operative in transferring control to us.
I became president, but Polly Bookhout did most of the work. She was vice president and treasurer, published our newsletter (BAUD, for Big Apple Users Digest), hosted and planned our meetings, and set up our website, using WebWorksGS on an Apple IIgs. She often did the presentations at our meetings. She turned the website over to me. Polly was more of a purist about using the Apple II hardware and software to create our website. I said that my Apple IIgs was capable of going on-line where I could use pico, a Unix text editor, to write the website. We were hosted initially by dorsai.org, a Unix-based non-commercial ISP dedicated to community service. Some of us would go to Dorsai for classes on the Internet. Dorsai kept its dial-up connection for several years longer than most ISPs, so that Apple II users had access to the Internet.
There were 2 academics who joined our group who made important contributions. I had written, as a presentation, a short Applesoft BASIC program which was a rewrite of the "Game of Life" program from Pascal. This program attracted the interest of Neil Wotherspoon, a professor of enginerring technology at the New York City Technical College, who joined our group. Hank Levinson, a professor of math and computer science at Rutgers Newark, also joined our group. The dialogue between Neil and Hank often raised the technical level of discourse at our meetings, to the benefit of our members. Hank made presentations, in which he repaired members' hardware, which they greatly appreciated. Hank also served as secretary. Neil and Hank probably kept our group going longer than it might otherwise have.
We, the Apple II remnant, were a small group. I don't know that attendance at meetings exceeded a dozen members or so. Attendance at our meetings eventually dwindled, with there being fewer Apple II users, and with the Internet, fewer people going to user group meetings. About 2001 or 2002, we stopped holding regular monthly meetings, instead holding occasional reunion meetings in restaurants. We held our final such reunion meeting in 2003.
I continued the website as an on-line computer club and website in New York City for users of Apple II and vintage Mac computers. You will see this iteration of the website if you visit my old, obsolete, out-of-date, and no longer maintained versions of the website at baug.2008.html. and baug.2015.html.