One-man IT department collaboration/innovation

taftelectric used Ask the Experts™

As a one-man IT department in a medium-sized company, I have been looking for ways to stay sharp and increase information sharing and collaboration with other IT pros.

I was wondering what kind of publications you read as well as conferences, training, forums, and communities you have found most helpful.  Experts Exchange has been awesome for specific issues (thanks EE) and I read all of the free news I can find on the internet but it's hard to match having other IT pros to bounce ideas and to bring new insight to issues.

Any suggestions on the following:

- Publications (online or printed, paid is ok)
- Conferences/Training/Seminars (preferably in LA area)
- Online communities or forums

Also any other tech news websites that you have found to be good, especially business-centered ones.  I read Google News, Wired, Lifehacker, Businessweek Tech, Fortune Tech, Engadget, Gizmodo, PC magazine.  Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
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EE is my number one source
THen I do slashdot, spiceworks and
I also get daily emails from and which are hit or miss but I have found some good articles from them.
I also check the gadget sites as engadget happens to be m favorite but also tekzilla, you get a lot of the latest and greatest toy info and reviews that can help you when an executive brings it to you to configure.

As for conferences I get leads from vendors most of the time, Dell has workshops here in Dallas constantly and I imagine the same in LA as doe PC Conneciton CDW and Zones.  Get withyou rvendors and they have them available and most are free.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013
1. Look for user groups in your area - if you use Small business Server (even if you don't) you might want to join an SBS specific user group - see - other groups can be good too - I sometimes attend the Enterprise Windows group in my area and until it stopped meeting, a Security group.

2. Subscribe to Windows IT Pro (when I left my day job (and their paid subscription) it was the only magazine I paid to subscribe to).  

3.  There are many conferences all over that you can attend - TechEd is a major one and there are many MANY others - they are usually expensive though ($1000 minimum) and could require significant travel.  Often, shows like Interop will offer free Expo passes where you can see vendors hawking their products...
LinkedIn is also a decent (albeit spotty) place for groups and like-minded people.

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