This post was originally written on my blog Tech Talk.

Get real-world solutions to real live IT problems at this summer’s best FREE event! is a great source of information on all sorts of technology topics, with content ranging from quick overviews of the latest and greatest consumer devices to deep dives into enterprise-level networking products and services. I’ve been writing for them for over ten years now, and I know many of my blog readers got to know me through my articles and columns there.

The site has been through many changes during that time. In 2001, about a year after I started writing for them, it was purchased by CNET Networks, which itself was acquired by CBS in 2008 and became part of CBS Interactive, along with ZDNet, BNET, and other popular sites.

Through it all, TR has maintained a strong sense of online community. For the last couple of years, the TR gang, headed up by Editor-in-chief Jason Hiner, has brought that virtual community together in the real world through the annual TRLive event. This year’s TRLive will be held Sept. 28-30 in Louisville, Kentucky, where TR is based. (Editor’s note: The event was originally scheduled in June, but we had to move it to the September date. We apologize for any inconvenience.)

This event began as primarily a social get-together with an IT focus. Last year, it took on more of an “IT conference” look and feel, while remaining small and friendly. This year, I’ve been privileged to be in on some of the planning and development and am happy to say that it’s evolving into a real education/information oriented experience. The theme, “Best Practices in Real World IT,” is indicative of the fact that the event is getting serious about making this an opportunity for some solid learning as well as a chance to do some focused networking with like-minded professionals.

That doesn’t mean it’s going to be all work and no play, though. Nobody puts on a party like Soni Thompson, who’s once again in charge of organizing the event agenda. There will be a reception, a dinner and evening activities, and possibly one or more after-event activities for those who stay over for the weekend. See her blog post announcing this year’s event, which also lists some of the topic categories that will be covered.

IT pros are used to paying big bucks to attend popular conferences such as TechEd and the Connections conferences. TRLive is absolutely free to TechRepublic members. Not a member yet? No problem! Joining is quick and simple and doesn’t require you to fill out a long, intrusive form revealing a lot of personal information; you just select a username and password and give your email address, the size of your company and your job title. That’s it!

So what’s the catch? Well, the event is held at the Hilton Garden Inn, in northeast Louisville, and it’s a nice – but not huge – facility. There’s obviously a finite amount of space in the conference rooms so registration is going to be limited to the first 100 people who sign up. If you don’t make it in time, your name will be put on a waiting list in case someone cancels.

And yes, I’ll be presenting again. This year I’ll do a Cybercrime update, and if there’s interest, will also be leading an afternoon “unconference” session about how to pursue fame and/or fortune as a tech writer. In addition, my husband Tom “The Edge Man” Shinder, who’s now with Microsoft, will be doing a presentation that highlights his own unique perspective on some current IT trends.

I look forward to, once again, having a lot of fun and making new friends. If you can take a little time to get together with us in laid-back Kentucky this year, get on over to the TRLive 2011 registration site and reserve your slot.