Got a slow holiday seaons? Why not spend it learning?

Traditionally, the time between Christmas and New Years is a bit slow.  Many people take time off from work and, for those of us still working, it’s a good time to catch up on all of those low priority projects that have been on the back burner for the last several months.

If you find yourself with a few extra hours, why not engage in some first-hand learning with the new features of SQL Server 2008 R2?  Here are two great resources to get you started.

First, take a look at, a partnership between MaximumASP, Dell, PASS, and Microsoft.  When you register, you get your own sandbox SQL Server 2008 R2 including support for .NET and PHP, along with Reporting Services, Analysis Services, and Integration Services.  It almost makes me believe that there is such a thing as a free lunch!

Second, why not try your hand at one of the most exciting new features in SQL Server 2008 R2, PowerPivot for Excel?  You can play with it to your heart’s content at the new Microsoft Virtual Labs, another great service for learning in real albiet sandbox VM Hyper-V labs.

I know in my own case, it’s often tough to find a free server somewhere where I can set up and install the sandbox environment.  On top of that, even during a slow week, I rarely enjoy spending my time configuring an entire environment.  Why not solve both problems at once with this fast and easy method of learning the news features?

Hope this helps!  Happy New Year,


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