I have finished reading Head First Java, and think I know the main points of the language. Now I don't know what to do next (and I am sure you guys are sick of answering every little question that Head First Java doesn't answer) any low budget recommendations on what to do next, especially in graphics and I/O? [ April 05, 2008: Message edited by: colton peterson ]
Sorry, I am not aware of any (free) e-books on those subjects; at least not ones that concentrate on those subjects. There is Thinking in Java, 3rd Edition that is available for free download (in HTML or PDF). While there is a 4th edition, that one is not free. TIJ is a general Java book with a single chapter on IO; but it is a good and in depth chapter, providing nice coverage on the subject of IO (including both the java.io and java.nio package).
While not on I/O or graphics, a great free e-book on a subject/skill that is very useful to all Java developers is Processing XML in Java. It's by the same author as Java I/O.
A good friend of mine is a librarian and would be very disappointed in me if I didn't mention to not rule out the public library (or college library if a student). While many may not offer the absolute latest in computer books, through the interlibrary loan system you can get books from any of thousands of libraries across the country. So somewhere in the country it is likely one of them will have Java I/O 2nd edition available. (I strongly recommend the 2nd edition as it is a major overhaul of the 1st edition. The 1st edition does not cover NIO.) Through interlibrary loan, you can request it, have it sent to your local library, and then check it out. Also see if your public library belongs to NetLibrary or something similar. NetLibrary provides access to e-books. (My local library has it, but you need a library card number to use it.)
Another suggestion I can make is to look at Safari Online Books. You can look at it either directly, via O'Reilly Book's portal, or several other belonging publisher's portals. Many of the major computer/technology publishers offer their books online via safari.
While it is not free, I find it a good bargain. With computer books costing $40-$60 a pop, it is expensive to try to purchase the number you need to in order to keep up and learn everything you want to learn. A safari subscription is either $23/month ("Safari Bookshelf") for a 10 book a month limit, or $43/month ("Safari Library") for an unlimited number of books. (They also offer a free trial.) So for either 1/2 or full cost of a typical book, you get far more books. Still a bit pricey, especially if you are a student, but in the long run better than trying to purchase books directly. I use to buy 1-3 books a month. So a safari subscription is much cheaper for me. I also find it very beneficial since I can have access to my entire "library" of books at home and work. Before when I was purchasing books, it never failed that a book I needed at home some weekend I had taken into the office. Sorry if I sound like a sale person for them... but I have found the site very helpful in my career and want to spread the word
I hope that helps. Good luck in your studies. [ April 06, 2008: Message edited by: Mark Vedder ]
I'm a big fan of practical experience. Book larnin' is nice and all, but there's no substitute for time spent hands-on. At some point you need some real-world examples of what the stuff you read about is actually good for. Get involved in an open-source project, or dig into something for school or work that will help make somebody's life easier.
I found several e-books that tell me exactly what I want for graphics, but your right that e-books on I/O are scarce. I did look at safari but at the moment my budget for java and other such related things is a big fat 0. I will just have to settle for the java tutorials until I can rack up some funds to buy some more recent java books. I am surprised that an author, of all people, is recommending me not to read books, but I can't say I do not agree with him. [ April 06, 2008: Message edited by: colton peterson ]