I'm resurrecting this blog, and expanding it to cover any stuff I'm learning about programming languages or technologies. Dipping into Scheme was fun, but I've had to move onto other things, which at the moment is J2EE.
I'm currently working through Enterprise JavaBeans, which is another fine O'Reilly book. I'm using O'Reilly's Safari online publishing service. It's sometimes not as nice as having a real book, but it can save you money, depending on your reading patterns.
J2EE has been criticized for being overly complex. I agree that it is complicated, but at this time I can't say that the complexity is unnecessary for enterprise applications. A good J2EE application server does do a whole lot for you in the areas of security, legacy interworking, and distributed computing with transactions. Combine that with multivendor support, and it is a compelling technology for large enterprise applications, even if it's no picnic for the developer. However, I would rather deal with the tediousness of J2EE than have to develop my own security and distributed transaction solution, not to mention interworking with some old CICS system.
Of course, J2EE is overkill for a lot of applications, but that's where technologies like PHP shine. However, for a programmer looking for a job today, J2EE is a good skill to have.