Have you checked out Microsoft's new and improved SQL Server home page at http://www.microsoft.com/sql? To be honest, I was never a fan of the old site. Microsoft didn’t update the information as often as I like, the content wasn't particularly rich, and I had difficulty jumping to other SQL Server-related sites. I haven't had a chance to spend a lot of time with the new site, which Microsoft just released, but I like what I've seen so far. Assuming Microsoft keeps the content fresh, I'll be hitting this site a lot.

Here are some fun items I found in less than 5 minutes of browsing the new SQL Server site:

  • A quick link to the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) Online SQL Server Developer Center, which led to great content, including a cool article called "Info on the Go: Wireless Internet Database Connectivity with ASP, XML, and SQL Server". The SQL Server Developer Center is a treasure on its own. If you're a hard-core SQL pro, put this site on your weekly, if not daily, browsing schedule.

  • An interesting multimedia feature starring Paul Flessner, Microsoft vice president of SQL Server and Middleware, and other key SQL Server managers discussing SQL Server 2000 issues and the experiences of Turner Broadcasting, a key SQL Server customer.

  • A link to the TechNet/PASS cohosted online SQL Server chat session about Data Transformation Services (DTS), with Euan Garden, Microsoft's DTS program manager, moderating. (Click here for a full transcript of the session.)

  • A link to free online versions of SQL Server Books Online (BOL) in German and Spanish.

  • Dozens of valuable white papers and demos.

Several weeks ago, I talked about my fondness for the printed version of BOL. Many readers agreed that curling up with a real book was preferable to staring at a laptop screen—especially when reading at home—and appreciated the ordering information we provided. Unfortunately, the phone numbers I gave didn't work for everyone. Here's a quick snippet of reader mail that clarifies and corrects the information I shared--information that created a fun game of telephone tag for one reader:

"The phone number you provided to purchase the SQL Server 7.0 printed documentation—(800) 360-7561—works only for retail purchases of SQL Server 7.0. If your company purchased SQL Server 7.0 through the Open License plan, you have to call (800) 248-0655. If your company purchased SQL Server 7.0 through the Select License plan (through a Large Account Reseller), you have to purchase the documentation through your LAR; none of the above numbers will work for you."

In addition, 800 numbers don't work outside the United States. I'll do my best to provide localized information whenever I can. So far, however, I haven't been able to track down international ordering numbers for BOL (in English or other languages); if you have that information, please pass it along to me, and I'll pass it along to all of our SQL Server Magazine UPDATE readers.