Writing a weekly column can be a real pain because my Monday deadline is always just around the corner. Sometimes I wonder whether my column has the same effect as shouting into a paper bag, which makes that weekly deadline even more tedious. So I love it when readers write me with feedback. I'm happy even if you disagree with me, because at least I made you feel strongly enough about an issue that you spent 2 minutes of your life typing an email. But comments like this response to last week's own-your-own-destiny training column are my favorite: "Your latest commentary in SQL Server Magazine UPDATE about training gave me just the kind of kick I needed to start learning again, instead of complaining. I thank you and promise to relate it to many of my friends in the IT field." My weekly deadline doesn't seem nearly as bad after reading that kind of letter.
Did you agree with my 10-minutes-a-day training plan to fame and fortune? Looking for a place to start? Consider picking up the new "Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Reference Library" from Microsoft Press. This series contains 4512 pages of SQL Server knowledge spread across six books. It's the closest thing you can currently get to a printed version of SQL Server Books Online (BOL). It's not exactly a New York Times best-selling thriller, and you might not finish it in a weekend. But you can't help but learn a lot about SQL Server if you consume this resource in bite-sized chunks over the course of several months or a year. Sure, the same information (and more) is in BOL, but to me reading online just isn't the same. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer to turn pages when I read, not click a mouse. More often than not, I'm willing to spend a few minutes at night with a good training book, but booting up my laptop after a long day at the office is usually the last thing I want to do.
Some online bookstores offer deep discounts on this reference series, so you'll want to shop around a bit. And bookmark the following page, whether or not you prefer the crinkle of real paper as you learn. This is the SQL Server Developer Center home page on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) site. It contains a plethora of wonderful information.