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one of the great things about being a part of a community is being able to affect other communities.  during these installfests that are happening around the country, some have remembered the time of year and thinking of ways to give back to other communities.

my counterpart in chicago, dave bost, set up accepting donations for toys for tots at some of his installfests.  when i read that i thought that was such a great idea.  we (the royal we as in the technical communities) often only think of our bits/bytes and i think this was a great inspiration to help others.

turns out my local user group is also already thinking in that way as well!  scott cate had partnered with interface technical training to do an eBay auction benefiting children and technology.  Interface is a managed gold training partner for microsoft (among other things they do as well) and a HUGE supporter of the local technical communities...all of them.  so this year they've donated 2 vouchers for training courses for the auction.  now, you might be thinking, "i can get training anywhere" and you might be right.  one thing i like about interface is they are never satisfied with the norm :-).  their dev trainers are names you might have heard of before: dan wahlin, mike Palermo, simon allardice, jennifer campion.  yeah, a few names on the circuit, authors, MVPs, and rockstars.  their content is specific and not canned.  this really is a great opportunity to learn from the best.

so scott set up an eBay auction for these vouchers.  the winner(s) will get some great training.  what does it benefit?  well, scott has chose to take the proceeds and purchase computers for children organizations to help replace older ones or perhaps introduce something new to these children.  great idea.  keeps the geek in all of us :-).

so if you want to bid on some great training and benefit some kids, bid on the auctions!

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this post is more for the locals to my home (phoenix, arizona metro area) as i wanted to call attention to some of the great work being done by our community contributors.  in the recent months, we've had two individuals get published in techno geek mags, Code Magazine and ASP.NET Pro.

Spike Xavier is one of the coolest guys i've met.  he's not only a super passionate geek (and trust me when i say passionate), but he's really a nice guy (not that other geeks aren't, but let's face it...we can be a little "sheltered" sometimes) and is passionate about a few other things in his life as well, like music.  spike is in a band and knows a ton of people 'in the biz' -- he is also one of the brainchilds behind the billboard top hit 'no more dll hell' along with dan wahlin.  i think they are still waiting for royalty checks.  i heard that there was interest in working with michelle leroux-bustamante on a follow-up entitled "Managed Girl" (to the tune of Material Girl)...maybe her people can talk to their people...or maybe a twist on her smelly cat rendition?  seriously though, if you get a chance to meet spike, do it.  anyhow, i digress.  spike was recently published in ASP.NET Pro magazine and got the cover story featuring becoming a "master of your domain" with regard to using master pages and good css practices.  way to go spike!  i'm not sure if there are any magazines in circulation as i heard his family bought them all ;-)

and then just recently another one of our community luminaries was published.   has been working in the biz for about 7 years now doing a ton of really solid enterprise application development, helping his employers and customers build enterprise-class systems that scale.  part of these implementations involve leveraging biztalk server.  rick is one of our local community authorities on aspects of biztalk.  his recent thoughts are set in history now in in an article entitled "Enterprise Application Integration with Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006-Part 1" (i assume 'part 1' implies a 'part 2' will come as well).  with a title like that i'm curious if rick consulted with the microsoft product naming department ;-).  rick is a superstar and has really been stepping up this past year to help with the community, user groups and code camps.

congratulations to both of these fine gentlemen for being published.  i often get asked "how do i become an MVP" (that's a post i've drafted a few times)...an MVP is in-part a peer-nominated award, and demonstrating your technical prowess through blogs and articles and working with product teams to write these articles is an excellent way to serve the broader community and demonstrate MVP qualities.