This week's book giveaway is in the OCPJP forum. We're giving away four copies of OCA/OCP Java SE 7 Programmer I & II Study Guide and have Kathy Sierra & Bert Bates on-line! See this thread for details.
Not really. MySQL has the neat feature that it keeps auto-incrementing from the last insert even if you wipe the entire table. This is one of the reasons primary key management is often set as an external service in more advanced systems instead of using database features.
You could run your cod as a transaction so that you can read the value of the record after insertion while not committing the changes. JDBC has features to read the newly generated keys from previous an update statement but they are not guarenteed to work so often times people just select max id (which is dangerous too).