Almost like being there....
One of the best parts of being active in the blogosphere... conference reports. The number of conferences seems to double every year. There are far more than anyone could afford to attend. Most pick one or two good ones and maybe a local one... In the past, you had to know someone to read their trip report. Now, with real-time and near real-time conference blogging, you can get a lot from home.
Yes, you do still miss the "information grounds" and the synergistic effects of meeting people in person. Plus you can't really contribute, you still have to be there for that. With small budgets and lots of cool conferences, it's a lot better than nothing.
Here's an example: Liz Lawley
's blogging of SXSW on Many-to-Many. Read this great post first: Many-to-Many: sxsw: leveraging solipsism