First the marketing bit:-

TechNet Subscription

"A TechNet Plus subscription is the ultimate resource for IT professionals. TechNet Plus provides convenient access to full-version Microsoft evaluation software—without time limits! The annual subscription also includes Professional Support incidents, a technical information library, and many other resources for evaluating, deploying, and maintaining Microsoft software." courtesy of the TechNet Site

Sounds impressives? Actually it is and I know because I use mine. "Yeah, yeah, blah blah Alan" is what you are probably all saying. So first, I'll confess my connection with TechNet up front. I run a few TechNet programs, TechNet Spotlight one of mine, TechNet Speaker tours, again one of mine. The content you see at local TechNet events, yep again one of mine, even the Training Resouce disc in the subscription is full of material I'm responsible for. But having said all that, I was a subscriber long before I became involved in TechNet, in fact nearly 10 years now.

So let me tell you how I use mine. I have the viewer loaded on my laptop and I use to look up information, which is plain and simple what it's designed for and plain and simple what I use it for. I spend time designing how event and webcast content looks, so I spend time search and reading and cross checking. I'm not always online, I'm also asked questions a lot - a technical person in a marketing org is often asked randon technical questions, I also manage the servers my org uses. We are not talking lots of servers here, 2 file servers and 1 Database server running SharePoint and other standalone sites, but stuff happens on them and even working inside Microsoft I still need to look up the "Stuff" that happened.

The software without time limits and beta software are extremely useful to me. I'm a certified professional and I use that software for training - along with the e-learning component of the subscription. I use it to test the demonstation setups that come to me from the authors I employ, I use it try products out while writting content specification. I also use the download CDs, having the service packs on a disc ready to go is such a time saver for me. I actually have several binders full of discs from past monthly mailings, with all the software, downloads and betas. I had so many a colleage in the subscription team gave me her disc storage device to help manage them - we were also moving offices at the time and she didn't want to move it too.

What don't I use? The support calls for one, which is more because I have access to our internal help desk, which is more of less the same thing. That said, having them is a comfort, you never know when you may need them, The other two items are the Online Concierge Chat and Managed Newsgroup Support, and I really have no reason for not using them other than I forget :(

It really is an awesome tool set and I do recommend you give it go. So if you want to try, and get 20% off, follow these directions.

Visit the Get 20% Off TechNet site, check the product you want and make sure you enter the Promotion code TNALM08, click continue and away you go.

Have fun....