Ever promised yourself that one "weekend" you'd go through all those MSDN Universal disks, install stuff on Virtual PC images and start learning some new technology? Then Saturday rolls around and the idea of doing all that install work just to start digging into stuff becomes wildly unappealing?
If that describes you, you're a lazy, me-generation sloth! But then again so am I. Luckily Microsoft has a solution. Check out this URL:
This site provides hosted (Terminal Services-based) access to actual Hands On Labs for a number of MS technologies, including shipping technology like VB .NET, C#, ASP.NET, VS .NET 2003, Smart Client development, and Beta technology like Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 (just added).
Go to the site now, and you'll be up and running with a Lab manual and a functional VPC in 3 minutes or less. The only drawback I can find is that the labs are time-limited, so make sure you can block out some uninterrupted time to avoid being kicked out and having to start from scratch.
Feedback on this content is welcome...I'll work to push it back to Redmond as appropriate.