I <Heart> Virtual Labs
My next project is getting the Digipede Network to run behind an ASP.NET application. (I’m sooo happy to be back in .NET land again for a little while.) This means that I am busy learning ASP.NET. Microsoft has really done a great job of providing developer learning tools. Between the Virtual Labs - hands on labs hosted on a remote Microsoft machines, Shows & Webcasts - live and prerecorded webinars, videos, and podcasts, and technology specific sites like ASP.net, there is a plethora of learning opportunities.
There are a lot of things to like about the Virtual Labs:
1. I get to use the technologies without having to install all the software.
2. I get walked through a "doing something" with the technology.
3. I get to learn what all the little doodads are called, like smart tags and grab handle. So I’m learning the proper Microsoft terminology. I actually have a tendency to make up my own names for things if none are apparent, which can make communicating with me pretty interesting sometimes.
A few things I don’t like:
1. I sure could use some screen shots from time to time. I have had trouble figuring out what UI element the lab notes were talking about.
2. There are times when an explanation of why I’m typing something in would be helpful.
3. Running a lab during "peek" hours can sometimes result in very slow keyboard response.
But hey! I’m not complaining it is an incredible service and we are lucky to have it.