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.
Yep; or don't use generics. But installing a new JDK is really not a difficult thing. The only thing to watch out for is that your current JDK may have installed a copy of java.exe someplace like C:\WINDOWS; the symptom would be that after installing and updating your path, you'd see an error about "Unsupported class file version 49." If you have this problem, find the extra java.exe and delete it.