Whenever I take a class at NYU, I always spend a little time looking around to see if I can take advantage of any student discounts on software or hardware, while I have a valid student ID card. In the past, I’ve picked up some random software from the NYU computer store, if there was something I needed, and they had it cheap. Right now, Microsoft has a great program called DreamSpark that allows college students to download certain developer tools for free. The authentication mechanism ties into NYU’s Net ID system, so you can authenticate yourself as an NYU student just be selecting “NYU” from a drop-down at the DreamSpark site, then logging into your NYU account. Pretty simple. I’m downloading Visual Studio 2008 Pro, SQL Server 2008 Developer, and Windows Server 2008 Standard right now. I’m not sure that I really need any of these things; I have access to all of them through my MSDN subscription at work. But, this way, I’ll have a set of licenses that are definitely mine, and not the company’s, just in case.