There are many technical conferences available for SQL Server professionals, such as PASS. I have been lucky enough to go to the last five PASS conferences, spoke at a couple of them, and am the current Program Manager. The energy, educational sessions and networking opportunities found at PASS are just incredible.
I few months ago, I was approached by Chris Shaw to speak at a new type of conference, a virtual conference, held in June. This particular conference was hosted by SSWUG. The sessions are taped about a month before the conference is held. Recording sessions instead of presenting to a group of people is definitely a different experience, but still a lot of fun.
The benefit of this type of conference is that there are no travel expenses for the attendees. The cost of the conference is also very inexpensive. Since the sessions are prerecorded, they are played three times, and you have a chance to pick up session later that you miss. The sessions are also available for download for two weeks after the conference is over.
Originally, I thought that there would be no chance for networking with this type of conference, but I found I was wrong. During the sessions, the speakers are available for chatting to answer questions. I ended up chatting with some of the same people during multiple sessions and have exchanged email messages with a few attendees after the conference.
Work is now underway for the next conference to be held October 1-3, 2008. http://www.vconferenceonline.com/sswug/sqlf/ . I will be back again and am busy getting my sessions ready. So, if you are not able to attend an in person conference this year, or would just like to view some great educations sessions from your desk, be sure to sign up.