IMUG Past Events Archive




The SMUG International SIG and the early days of IMUG

Early meeting flyer - click to open PDFIn the fall of 1987, Yuan Ho and Seth Schneider met in a local Palo Alto, CA, Apple Computer dealer store. Yuan, an early multilingual Mac enthusiast, and Seth, who later would go on to found Multilingual Computing Magazine, agreed that the time was right to form a Macintosh user group with an international focus.

Seth succeeded in gaining support and sponsorship at Stanford University, and soon Seth and Yuan began organizing monthly meetings of the Stanford Macintosh User Group International Special Interest Group (a.k.a. SMUG I-SIG).

Early topics included software localization, font design, dedicated multilingual software applications, and the use of foreign languages in mainstream software products. Meetings were held in a basic Stanford classroom, with a slide projector. Publicity, such as it was, took the form of copied handwritten flyers like the one you see here, and announcements in local newspaper event calendars. Nevertheless, word of the International SIG spread far beyond the Stanford Campus.

In the fall of 1990 I-SIG membership passed the 100 mark. At one meeting, seven companies demonstrated their Japanese language software to a packed room of over 60 attendees. That same year, Seth Schneider moved to Idaho to start Multilingual Computing, and handed the reins to co-founder Yuan Ho. Yuan continued to produce fascinating meetings with the support of the membership, including a March 1991 presentation on Unicode by Lee Collins of Apple Computer, announced in the flyer pictured above.

A New MUG is Born

In the summer of 1991, when the future of SMUG appeared to be in doubt due to lack of student involvement, Yuan Ho spun off the popular I-SIG as the "International Macintosh Users Group". Yuan obtained the support of volunteer hosts at Apple Computer and Adobe Systems, and further increased the visibility of IMUG as a forum for multilingual, multiscript computing.

Apple Computer provided IMUG with a conference room at their headquarters for many years. Apple employees volunteering as official hosts included Mimi Obinata, Norbert Lindenberg, Kathryn Phipps, Joel Cannon, Terry Rawlings, David Murphy, JJ Enser, and many others. Their support is much appreciated to this day. Dr. Ken Lunde also arranged hosting for additional IMUG meetings at Adobe headquarters.

From Snail Mail to Web Mail and Beyond

January 1992 saw the birth of IMUG's monthly newsletter. The height of high-tech at the time, newsletter articles were delivered via e-mail or on disk via "sneakernet", printed out on a dot-matrix printer and "snail-mailed" to the IMUG membership. Edited by Mimi Obinata, the premier issue featured work by Jim Loomis, Ken Lunde and Roger Sherman. That year Norbert Lindenberg also began volunteering to post IMUG event announcements on Usenet newsgroups.

In 1994 Jim Turley and Andrew Kirk made a presentation on this new thing called the World Wide Web, demonstrating "MacSurfing the Internet" in Chinese and Japanese at the March monthly meeting. Then in April 1995 IMUG held a special event, the "Asia Internet Update & IMUG Group Surf" led by Jim, Andrew and others that drew over 300 attendees - a new record - and slew many trees in the production of 50-page handouts for each attendee.

In 1995 IMUG launched its own Web site, one of the first on the Internet, produced by Andrew Kirk, Norbert Lindenberg and Jim Turley. Although the snail-mail newsletter and Usenet newsgroup posts continued on through the late nineties, we knew something had changed. In 2001 Jim moved our event announcements to Yahoo Groups. That lasted almost ten years, until we moved our event organizing to in 2010, and also established a presence on Twitter, LinkedIn Groups, Facebook, Google+, and YouTube.

The International Multilingual User Group

IMUG anniversary globeFrom the beginning, IMUG has served a broad community of language technology professionals and multilingual users, offering talks on many different computing platforms and many other language-related topics. The name of the group did not entirely communicate our broad focus, but remained the same until events forced a refocus and rethink of exactly what this group was all about.

By 2010, as volunteers from Adobe, Google, Yahoo!, and Twitter stepped up to host the group when we moved off the Apple campus, and as we began partnering with GALA, LISA, Worldware, Lingoport, and others on events, it was finally time to change the meaning of the "M" in "IMUG".

In late 2011, the group was officially reregistered as the International Multilingual User Group, topping off two years of reinvention for the 21st century under the leadership of Roger Sherman and Joe Katz and with the help of a great new group of volunteers. IMUG is now a thriving "Meetup" serving a global community through Silicon Valley talks and networking events, worldwide webinars and videos, social networks, and participation in internationalization, localization and translation conferences.

In 2012 we celebrated IMUG's 25th anniversary, and realized we're only just getting started. Again.


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