Last week, we were faced with two large user groups meeting at the same times. Honeywell User Group met in Phoenix, while Siemens' User Group for the Americas met in Orlando. I attended the event in Phoenix, not because I love Honeywell best, but because it was on the schedule first, and because we were producing an e-show daily there. My executive editor, Jim Montague, and my colleague, Joe Feeley of Control Design, attended the Siemens event. Jim fully intended to provide a daily blog of activities in Orlando, as I was doing in Phoenix, but unfortunately, his laptop took the opportunity to expire and leave this vale of tears. Last I saw of Jim, he was jumping up and down on his dead laptop, screaming hysterical curses. And it is not just the User Group meetings. It has been known for a year that the ISA Marketing and Sales Summit (which I have the honor of being co-Chair of, with Shari Worthington) is scheduled for September 5, 6 and 7 in Chicago. We even arranged to have the four top editors in the automation market space present a panel discussion on what editors want vendors to do to get the best coverage, and best inform the end users who are the ones, after all, who actually pay good money for this stuff. Unfortunately, somebody at Wonderware didn't get the memo. Once again, the scheduling demon has worked to lessen the impact of a meeting. Wonderware has scheduled a press conference to reveal what their PR person calls "the biggest announcement since the introduction of InTouch," on September 5. Obviously nobody from Wonderware is coming to the Marketing and Sales Summit. This is too bad, because Dr. Peter Martin, vice president of parent company Invensys, is one of the keynote speakers. I know he is, because I asked him, myself. I do have to acknowledge the very polite letter of apology from Mark Davidson, vice president of marketing for Wonderware. And I do understand. But it is very hard, after a conference is so publically identified with me, to not take it, at least the tiniest bit, personal. I can only close this rant with a hearken back to the days when ISA was the big user group, and we all met there, and we all did our product introductions there, and we didn't have to run all over the place trying to attend user group meetings, press conferences on top of meetings, and still try to get our jobs done. Maybe we could talk whatever they've renamed Bacon's into hosting a global PR calendar...but then we'd all have to make time to read it.