Free E-Learning and Skills Assessments for VS 2005/SQL Server 2005

Microsoft Learning (MSL) has just announced the availability of 16 skills products designed to help you build your Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 skills.  As of June 3 you can take these free* skills assessments and e-Learning products to prepare your skills for the upcoming product releases. 

* Microsoft E-Learning for Visual Studio 2005 is free until November 8, 2005. Microsoft E-Learning for SQL Server 2005 is free until November 1, 2006.  Internet connection time charges may apply.


E-Learning products represent a total of 62 hours of in-depth online training on the newest features of Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005, with hands-on virtual labs and offline functionality.  By taking a skills assessment, individuals obtain a personalized learning plan to help them understand if they are ready to implement specific business solutions.  Personalized learning plans include Microsoft Official Curriculum courses, Official Microsoft E-Learning Courses, Microsoft Press books, and other technical resources that will help them with their preparation.


Go visit these pages

·         Visual Studio 2005 Learning Resources:

·         SQL Server 2005 Learning Resources:

Product details


Visual Studio 2005

Clinic 2551:  Introduction to Visual Studio Team System 

Course 2924:  Building Data Components in Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2005                                                                  

Course 2925:  Building Managed Code for SQL Server 2005 and Creating SOA Applications with Visual Studio 2005          

Course 2928:  Implementing Data Access and Security in an ASP.NET 2.0 Web Application 

SQL Server 2005

Course 2936:  Installing and Securing Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2005

Course 2937:  Administering and Monitoring Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2005                                                                     

Course 2938:  Data Availability Features in Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2005                                                                      

Course 2939:  Programming Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2005                                                                                           

Course 2940:  Building Services and Notifications Using Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2005                                                   

Course 2941:  Creating the Data Access Tier Using Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2005                                                        

Course 2944:  Updating Your Reporting Skills to Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2005 Reporting Services


Skills Assessments

Visual Studio 2005

AS27A: What’s New in Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2005

AS27B What’s New in ASP.NET 2.0

SQL Server 2005

AS22A: Introducing Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2005 for Database Administrators

AS23A: Introducing Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2005 for Database Developers

AS24 A: Introducing Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2005 for Business Intelligence Developers

Free E-Learning and Skills Assessments for VS 2005/SQL Server 2005

The Big Four

With AOL’s announcement of their 2GB free email service here’s a current snapshot of the big guys:

  • Gmail – 2.3 GB
  • AOL – 2 GB
  • Yahoo – 1 GB
  • Hotmail – 250 MB

I wonder what the guys at MSN are up to. With all the MSN Spaces, photos and all other features that they provide, they definitely must be having something up their sleeves.

The Big Four

e-mail on Windows Mobile – RIM -> RIP

Wow. Now this is a major boost to the Windows Mobile platform.

On the go: Microsoft will give away software upgrades to provide Outlook users access to wireless corporate e-mail on mobile devices, in a move that could unseat the mobile e-mail leader, Research in Motion’s BlackBerry.

The free upgrades for Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 and Windows Mobile 5.0 will lift business e-mail and other Outlook data from corporate computers, and automatically send it to mobile phones running on Microsoft Windows software.

It took Research in Motion seven years to win over 2 million customers, and with one swoop Microsoft will give more than 130 million Outlook users the option to access their business e-mail on the go. Microsoft hopes the move will convince corporations to buy mobile devices running on Windows. [Source: Wired News]

e-mail on Windows Mobile – RIM -> RIP

New Passport Features

Has anyone noticed the newest features in the latest Microsoft Passport upgrade? My MSN account had somehow gotten locked so I was taken to this page to reset my password. Guess what there is now an audio option to read out the text so you can listen and type in the value instead of using the scrambled image.

The second cool thing that I think will be used by a lot of developers is the password strength bar. As you type in your new password a progress bar below it shows how strong (unbreakable) the password is. While typing my password it started with Weak then went on to Medium and finally to Strong. This is a really good way of making your users pick and use more secure passwords.

Passport with Audio



New Passport Features

Trixie – Greasemonkey for Internet Explorer

If you’ve heard about GreaseMonkey and always wanted to use it but didn’t like FireFox then Trixe is for you. I can now happily run GreaseMonkey scripts on IE using Trixie. Thanks to Dare for the link.

What is a Trixie script?

Any Greasemonkey script is a Trixie script. Though, due to differences between Firefox and Internet Explorer, not all Greasemonkey scripts can be executed within IE. Trixie makes no attempt to allow Greasemonkey scripts to run unaltered, since it is best to have the script author account for the differences and have the script run on both browsers if he/she so chooses.

Refer to the excellent Greasemonkey documentationto learn how to write Greasemonkey/Trixie scripts. Note that some of the information there won’t be applicable to Internet Explorer and Trixie.

Installing Trixie

Trixie requires the Microsoft .NET framework to be installed.

To install Trixie, download and run TrixieSetup (latest version: 0.2.0). You should ideally close all instances of Internet Explorer before doing this. By default, TrixieSetup installs Trixie to your Program Files\Bhelpuri\Trixie directory (you can of course change this location). It also installs a few scripts to the Program Files\Bhelpuri\Trixie\Scripts directory.

Restart IE after installing Trixie. Once you have restarted, go to the Tools menu. You should see a menu item called “Trixie Options”. Selecting that will show you the list of scripts installed and which one’s are enabled or disabled.

Once you have installed Trixie, you browse the Web just like you always do. Trixie works in the background executing the scripts on the designated pages and customizing them to your needs.

Trixie – Greasemonkey for Internet Explorer