Welcome to our Lakeland Mac User Group

Next meeting Tuesday, December 11th

Mission Statement - To Learn ... and to Share

The Lakeland Area MUG (LaMUG) strives to expand your knowledge of the Macintosh and related technology, and have fun in the process. We provide enthusiastic and passionate support, education and training for all levels of the Mac platform.


In December 2018 LaMUG held their last monthly meeting and voted to disband. Below is an article posted in the Lakeland Ledger by technology guru, Lonnie Brown, concerning the club’s history. We still maintain an email list of former members and have indicated an interest in meeting occasionally, but the club has officially disbanded

For more information contact Pete Grant at 863-853-5761.

Gadget Daddy: Last of Polk’s public computer groups powers down

By Lonnie Brown / Special to The Ledger

Posted Dec 14, 2018 at 11:22 AM Updated Dec 14, 2018 at 12:56 PM

The Lakeland Macintosh Users Group met Tuesday night.

And that, as the expression goes, “was all she wrote.”

After nearly two decades of helping users with Apple devices of all kinds, club members were told that the board of directors had decided it was time to go the way of many other public computer clubs in Polk County and lock its doors. LaMUG, in fact, was the last club standing.

Back when LaMUG started, there were about two dozen clubs listed in this column as being open to the public, although a nominal membership fee was required to regularly attend meetings. (There may be other computer clubs still around, but those are mainly in community rooms in retirement communities and open only to residents.)

Now the listing for LaMUG, which met on the second Tuesday of the month at the First Presbyterian Church on Lakeland’s Lake Hollingsworth, will be dropped from the lineup. And with that, the lineup vanishes.

The club was organized by Jerry Schmidt, a retiree who moved to Polk County in the mid 1990s and had been going to Orlando with some friends to attend an Apple club because it was the only Apple group around.

Writing a decade ago about the need for a club in Lakeland, Schmidt said that when an Orlando meeting ran past 11 p.m., “I made the comment to [a friend] that for two cents I would start a club in Lakeland just so I would not have to stay out so late.”

Schmidt continued: “The president [of the Orlando club] heard my complaint and gave me two cents ...” That was in late 2000.

The first meeting of the Lakeland club was on the second Tuesday of February 2001. Schmidt said he expected 10 to 15 people. There were 45.

The club grew over the years. By 2012, it had hit a high of 121, with an average attendance at monthly meetings running about 50. The meeting format hasn’t changed much from the first one: It started at 6 p.m. with members meeting in “special-interest groups” to discuss specific topics for half an hour.

That was followed by a pizza break (with pizzas picked up by Dick Morrison). Then there would be a single-topic presentation followed by questions and answers. It was over by 7:30 or 8 o’clock.

I’ve attended LaMUG meetings over the years — and spoke at a few of them — and the symptoms of the club’s ill health were familiar to me from having gone to other clubs.

There was the inability to attract a base of younger members. You may find this difficult to believe, but computers actually are easier to use than they were five or 10 years ago. Moreover, teenagers today know more about smartphones and laptops than their parents ever hope to learn.

Like most other organizations, the same LaMUG members were having to serve as officers of the club. “It was difficult to find anybody willing to volunteer to serve on the board of directors,” said Pete Grant, a past president. “Only a few wanted to give presentations on topics.”

The LaMUG group was the second-largest computer club in Polk, surpassed by the Polk County Users Club in Lakeland. The Users Club, which was centered around the Windows operating system, ended a 25-year run in December 2010. During the late 1980s through the mid-1990s, the club had more than 200 members.

Two years ago this month, Jerold “Jerry” Schmidt — the guy who “put in his two cents worth” back in 2000 and founded a computer club — died following an accident. He was 81 and still active in the club.

That two cents turned into a great investment — for Schmidt and hundreds of others.