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User conferences post savings updates

Both of the HP 3000 user group events of 2008's first half delivered more details this week, and the Greater Houston RUG (GHRUG) and HP Technology Forum can save community members money by using the news.

Ghruglogo2008 First, the soonest event, GHRUG's International Technology Conference on March 14-15. The $175 event has the lowest rate on hotels, with options that run from $69 to $99 a night. GHRUG has reserved a block of suites at $99 per night at the Residence Inn, just down the street from the conference venue at the University of Houston Clear Lake campus. You can call the hotel directly to make your reservation: 800-804-6835. There's also a Best Western NASA another mile down the street with a $69 rate on (But the conference has its rooms reserved at the Residence Inn, if you want to support the user group's efforts.)

Since the GHRUG conference is within two miles of NASA's Johnson Space Center, there's accomodations a-plenty. The user group has a map of the options on its conference Web site.

Time and travel costs often turn out to be the deal breakers in getting a pass to get yourself trained. GHRUG's meeting could cost less than $500 for the conference fee and hotel, not counting the cost of driving or airfare.

The Encompass user group, which is putting on the HP Technology Forum June 16-19, has extended its call for papers through this Friday (Feb. 1). If your proposal is accepted, you'll get a free pass to the show in Las Vegas.

Hotel rates in Vegas can run from the dirt-cheap to the gaudy, but The Mandalay Bay is the Tech Forum conference site, and its prices are running about twice those of the GHRUG event. We're waiting on news of what Encompass can wrangle for a conference hotel discount.

Las_queeexter1 But the more classic Vegas experience is the Four Queens on Fremont Street, just $52 a night on (You'll know the hotel as soon as you see its front, featured in countless films.) You'll have an 8-mile drive to the Mandalay Bay from the Four Queens. But if you're a player, the tables have lower limits down on Fremont Street.

Isn't this a training experience? Well after all, Encompass president Nina Buik said the user group settled in on Las Vegas because of its curb appeal — and that just has to include the gaming excursions. The Mandalay is swank at $210, though, including vast shopping and clubbing experiences both inside and on The Strip.

Flights to Vegas in June, versus Houston in March? We'll leave that as an exercise to the 3000 community member, who might try for a good travel search engine across many discount booking sites like Expedia. Meanwhile, content at both conferences will include 3000 updates; more 3000 training at the GHRUG event, and a broader spectrum of HP contact and training at the 4-day Tech Forum.

Keynoter alternatives might be considered, too:

GHRUG: Adager's Alfredo Rego
Tech Forum: HP CEO Mark Hurd

Act by Friday to make a play for the Tech Forum discount; your paper has to be accepted to earn that free pass. The user group offered this help checklist:

Create an event account and submit proposal.

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