I spend a lot of time doing systems programming. As humbly as possible I don't claim to be an expert at it. While there is a lot of learning to be done on the systems side, the applications side also drags me to it. I feel I should do my time with them, it's their fair due that I owe them; to understand them better and to appreciate them.
I've just started reading Web Services Essentials. I finished chapter 1, it seemed quite well written and was easily understandable. Unfortunately, the websites listed in the book are no longer accessible. That is quite understandable given that the book was written in 2002.
The other favourite book these days is "C# Precisely". It's a well written compact book. The book consists of 30 sections and you get the feeling that you are learning C# with the least possible time investment. I look forward to putting Mono through the C# precisely test
There are also some other things on my plate that I hope to finish up quickly. I suspect that going through this exercise will give me more debating power to argue for/against technology with my friends and colleagues and also help me appreciate what lies on the other side.