I have some new information about two topics that I've written about in SQL Server Magazine UPDATE recently. First, I encouraged you to capitalize on the valuable technical content from the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in October by examining the free PowerPoint downloads or by purchasing the conference's full DVD set. Now, thanks to Microsoft, you can get full streaming media of all the PDC sessions for free. You don't see the speaker, but a full audio feed is available to go along with the PowerPoint slide decks. You'll find Microsoft .NET, SQL Server Yukon, and data architecture sessions among many others. I encourage you to take advantage of this free resource. You can access the streaming media at http://microsoft.sitestream.com/pdc2003.

Because I don't know how long Microsoft will make the PDC 2003 content available, I consider this a use-it-or-lose-it opportunity, especially if you're interested in particular sessions. You might also want to review the blogs that some PDC attendees have started for sessions they attended. You can view the blogs at http://pdcbloggers.net/tracks/architecture.category.

Second, I noted that Microsoft gave away more than 10,000 copies of the PDC beta version of SQL Server's Yukon release, which isn't available for download from Microsoft. I suggested that you borrow a copy of the beta from a colleague to get the bits. The beta was free and wasn't covered under a nondisclosure agreement (NDA), so that advice seemed reasonable. However, following that advice would violate the End User License Agreement (EULA) associated with the PDC Yukon beta. The EULA for this beta lets you make up to 25 copies of the software to share only with people on site within your company. The EULA doesn't give you the right to distribute the software to anyone else.

Although I wonder why Microsoft lifted the NDA on Yukon content for the PDC beta build and distributed the beta to more than 10,000 people without making it available for download, that's the situation. Microsoft has said it expects to release a public Yukon beta in the first half of 2004, and I'll let you know as soon as I hear exactly when the public beta will be available.

And with this commentary, which is my last for 2003, I'd like to wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year.