Practicing the software and server side of networking

I am curious if anyone has any advice on how I can practice the server or software side of networking without reading bulky books or getting stuck scrolling through hundreds of lines of code in a text file trying to get something like a game server to work. I'm sick of trying to disect text files and feeling like an idiot after I can't get anything to work (mainly the reason why I barely use Linux). Are there any easier projects with tutorials on the web that don't require reading a billion pages or mastering a million protocols. I've played around with configuring Cisco routers and switches so I have a good understanding of hardware, but I still haven't done much with servers and software other than play around with VMware and VNC. If anyone has any suggestions or links to tutorials I would greatly appreciate it. It would mean a lot to me.

Thanks,
Jerry
jerrykobesAsked:
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ECNSSMTCommented:
easy stuff to do

webseminars
http://www.microsoft.com/events/default.mspx
http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/le21/le22/learning_events_calendar_tool_launch.html#april_2006 (live also)

live events
http://www.microsoft.com/events/AdvSearch.mspx

or
local computer special interest groups - you will have to find them locally yourself.

requires commentment
take either Microsoft or Cisco continuing ed classes at local colleges for certs - $$ but with social interaction and planned course, it will get you to understand the technology with hands on.

over all you seem to be tired out in terms of reading, you may just want to take a "vacation" away from it temporarily.

Regards,
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