One of the best ways to improve your skills as a user of any software is to see how others use it. User groups are a great way to get people together and share tips, tricks and use cases.
In addition to physical user groups, Ben Eadie, our SolidWorks buddy from the Great White North and creator of SolidMentor and SolidJott, has launched a new service called Using SolidWorks. Unlike SolidMentor and SolidJott, which are more forum-like communities, Using SolidWorks will deliver user-group style tips and tricks-style video content. In addition to high quality videos, Using SolidWorks will also have a newsletter you can subscribe to and regularly scheduled webinars that will give an online user group feel to the service.
Using SolidWorks is a "fremium" service, allowing anyone to signup for the newsletter and offering the videos and webinars at a subscription fee. The subscription is $24.99 per month or $199 per year, but Ben is extending an early-bird discount of 20% on either plan if you signup before October 31, 2010. This will bring the costs down $5/mo or 40%/yr respectively.
If you are interested in receiving the newsletter just visit usingsolidworks.com or you can get more information about the premium offering here. Ben has also informed me that the presentations will be done by various people within the community in an effort to keep the content fresh and diversified.
Using SolidWorks is the first stab at creating a global, on-line user group that can be a great supplement to the local user groups. Having an option to get involved from anywhere can extend the reach of this community and allow the spread of the "SolidWorks Force"! ~Lou