We met in October despite WLA conflicts and poor weather!
Bob: got us off and running with a very interesting demo of Google Sketchup. He showed us a file his daughter (an architect) had created to design an end-table. A nice design! One can design objects, add textures, obtain precise measurements of the objects, and make objects transparent for easier observation. Bob showed us that it is possible to import an image of a floorplan, then scale that image to the correct proportions, and then finally draw the walls/doors to exact scale. That is amazing! Bob finds that the "Missing Manual" for Google Sketchup by Chris Grover is a good book to use to learn this tool: http://www.amazon.com/Google-SketchUp-Missing-Chris-Grover
Jim: showed us a variety of great sources of information for staying ahead of technology change and development. The first site we visited was TWiT: http://twit.tv/ (This Week in Tech) - This site includes a series of podcasts (as well as other sources of information) focused on specific topics. Jim notes that the Leo Laporte "tech guy" podcast is very good. He also listens to "Windows Weekly" and the Macbreak Weekly podcast looks good too. From there Jim brought us to http://www.techcrunch.com/ to take a look at their site, also chock full of interesting information. in particular, Jim pointed out the TechCrunch50 Conference that they sponsor every year: http://www.techcrunch50.com/2009/companies/ At this event, top startups present their new ideas, and compete for fabulous prizes... Finally, Jim noted this very promising-looking financial application called Mint: http://www.mint.com/ It helps you manage your personal finances.
Karen: finished up the hour by showing us the NatureBreak site: http://www.naturebreak.org/NatureBreak/Nature_Break.html This site has been created by noted wildlife documentary creator Vanessa Serrao to "bring together people who love nature." There are a variety of nature themed videos to watch, including a few that are "viral" on YouTube. I will let you all ask Karen why that is... :-0