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Plugged in: Amazon, Adobe, Microsoft—heard of 'em? Though often overshadowed by San Francisco, Seattle (view slideshow) is just as rich in geek culture, though it lacks some of SF's bohemian edge. Still, the city does host Brick Con, a convention for masters in Lego model making.
Homeport: The tech amenities at Hotel 1000 (view slideshow) mirror those found in Billy Gates's own high-tech manse. Flat-panel TVs like the one pictured at right can be switched to show famous works of art, and guests can play a virtual-reality golf game loaded with replicas of 50 courses from around the world. And there's no need for a "Do not disturb" sign: Heat sensors tell the managers which rooms are occupied.
Social networking: nPost, a Seattle tech-jobs site, hosts meet-ups and pub nights for all comers. For pure networking usefulness, there's Lunch 2.0, a catered series hosted around town by various high-tech firms. Anyone can sign up, though seating is always limited.
When to interface: Compared with their compatriots in a lot of cities, Seattle's techies are a well-organized bunch. Ignite is a recurring geek night with changing themes; recently, 17 teams competed to make the sturdiest bridge out of Popsicle sticks. But Ignite's main event is a series of five-minute talks with a how-to bent, such as "How to be a tech evangelist" or how to file your own patents. Ignite also organizes Thingamajiggr, an annual blowout that features lectures by tech artists on subjects like "knitting 2.0" as well as a DJ lineup.