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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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of course if you are already a part of the broader .net user group community, you've seen this already.  but if you aren't (shame on you), you should head on over to azgroups.com and look at the event on the 20th of December.  be sure to sign up to the AZGroups mailing list as well for updates and future events.

at the phoenix (tempe) installfest, people who are registered and attend will receive a special trial DVD of visual studio that will enable them to get a visual studio 2008 professional licensed copy sent to them as participating in this event...pretty sweet for being a supporter of the user group communities!