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Kevin Kline

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,


Published Thursday, December 31, 2009 1:40 PM by KKline

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Antony Clark said:

I also took the opportunity to do some learning - in my case, i'm trying to get up to speed on Powershell. Its one of those things thats been on my to-do list for ages, but never seemed to get prioritised...

January 1, 2010 6:24 AM

Jimmy May, Aspiring Geek said:

Excellent suggestions, Kev!  Vacations are amongst my favorite times for focused study.  I'm spending my holiday on three different self-didactic areas:

• Continuing my efforts to learn XEvents (related to but different from xPerf)

• Reading & doing exercises from an SSAS book

And perhaps most importantly, I’ve established #InboxZero &

• Studying J.D. Meier’s Agile Results personal & professional productivity protocol

2010 is going to be a GREAT year!

January 2, 2010 11:26 AM

KKline said:

Anthony, don't forget to check out for a nice, free drag-n-drop interface to PowerShell.

Jimmy, I'm workin' on #InboxZero right now!

Best regards,


January 4, 2010 4:14 PM

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March 18, 2020 2:37 AM said:

May 16, 2020 10:51 AM

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About KKline

Kevin Kline is a well-known database industry expert, author, and speaker. Kevin is a long-time Microsoft MVP and was one of the founders of PASS,

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