Believe it or not, I haven’t totally forgotten about the site.
I recently read through Build a Program Now: Microsoft Visual Basic 2008 Express Edition. In terms of doing what the title advertises, I suppose it’s a success–you do, in fact, build several programs, including a simple web browser, a database-using program, and a Weatherbug-esque thing using XML. As an instructional book, though, it’s rather poor. Yeah, you’ll write code, and (hopefully–see below) you’ll end up with a working program at the end, but it’s never really made clear just why you’re writing a lot of the code you’re writing. You can puzzle some of it out, and on an abstract level, you’ll probably be able to comprehend it (In a “this huge block of code makes the Options menu work”) sense, but it could stand to be a bit more detailed. There’s also the fact that some of the code is just wrong, and the instructions throughout the book don’t match the completed programs that come with the book in some cases, which leads to more frustration (I never did actually get the last program in the book to work totally perfectly).
Really, the best thing about the book is that it comes with Visual Studio 2008 Express Edition, which saves you the trouble of having to download the individual components from Microsoft’s website.
The real reason I decided to get the book was to get back into programming, in the hopes of, as mentioned before, making a dungeon-crawling kind of RPG. I have some conceptual ideas, and over the next couple of weeks I’ll be trying to create working movement code for The Shizz Game Developers’ Topic, where the unofficial deadline to have something (Anything, from “dude moving on screen” to “fully completed game”) up and running is July 6th. Wish me luck with that.