I am a big fan of getting a little extra knowledge squeezed in wherever I can find time. I always take tech books or magazines with me when I am sweating my fat ass off on the cardio machines at the gym, and any time I have where I can’t have my hands on a keyboard coding or writing, I still want to be absorbing knowledge to try and stay up with the flood in our business.
The amount of audio/video stuff available now is awesome. First choice is often .NET Rocks!, which I recently interviewed on and should post next week. This is great conversational coverage of all kinds of topics on .NET development with many of the top names in the industry on there. And occasionally a nobody like me…
MSDN has been blossoming with resources as well. Between the .NET Show, MSDN TV, and Webcasts, there is no shortage of materials there. As Kirk points out, having webcasts available on demand is a big plus for a busy schedule.
My one beef with webcasts is this: make them available for download again PLEASE! Up until 1 November, they were using a tool called Interwise for the webcasts that was a plug in to IE. The links allowed you to view them online in a streaming format or right click/download the vcm files, in which case you could watch/listen offline. Now they have switched with Windows Media Player streams, which is great, but a download option is still needed.
Now I don’t have time to sit staring at the screen for hours a day, but I do unfortunately have to waste hours a day on the road, or when I am not in town, on a plane/train/etc. I obviously don’t watch when I drive, but I do like to be able to play the audio of the webcasts while commuting. You miss some stuff not being able to watch the screen, but when they are just talking to slides the real content is in the audio.
Another great source to be aware of are the DVD sets from the major Microsoft conferences. I got the set from TechEd and PDC. The TechEd ones were a mix of recorded talks and just slides, but for PDC they have almost every talk on there in a format that you can play with audio in IE. Now all those tons of sessions I wanted to go to but couldn’t I get to hear after all. Hopefully other conferences will be able to start putting out DVDs of this quality with their content as well, but I’m sure there is a bit of a budgetary issue there given the financial stability of some conferences’ promoters.