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2008 Worldwide Partner Conference: Houston Highlights

Houston. It was the first word spoken from the moon in 1969 ("Houston, Tranquility Base here"), and in 1970, it led the transmission in which the Apollo 13 astronauts famously called home to report "a problem." But for Microsoft partners this summer, a more accurate phrase is: "Houston, we have a conference."

Microsoft's fifth annual Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) will be held in Houston July 7-10 (for a peek at the agenda, see "Take a Seat," p. 39). With input from a Texas Christian University Internet message board-TCU is 268 miles away in Fort Worth, but has plenty of Houston alumni and is your author's alma mater- RCP offers this quick list of area diversions:

Space Center Houston. The visitor wing of NASA's Johnson Space Center offers tours, activities and artifacts galore.

The Battleship Texas. This monster, which saw action in both World Wars, is now a museum ship docked near the San Jacinto Battleground, 25 miles east of Houston.

The San Jacinto Battleground and Monument. Observes the 1836 battle in which Texas won independence from Mexico. Its structure is taller than the Washington Monument.

Texas Cuisine. Locals recommend the following Houston eateries: Goode Company Barbecue, County Line Barbecue and a Houston favorite called the Ruggles Grill.

Theater District. Visitors may want to take in a show in an area that (Houstonians say) boasts more theater seats than any other U.S. city except New York.

Bayou Bend Gardens at the River Oaks Garden Club. Past Texas Gov. James Hogg really did name his daughter Ima. Her garden estate is now open to the public.

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