Hi all my name is jimmy live with partner 12yrs 2 wonderful kids live in uk just started a BSc in computer science finding the going very tough especially the java side of it.

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Im doing Java at university in the UK too. I am using the BlueJ environment. If you are using it too, i could reccomend some books?

LOL, jbennet BlueJ ;)
IDE is personal choice, I was lucky that my teacher is a great person and he did not try to bind us with only one IDE as I see with other teachers (right now my Web Services teachers is all about Eclipse but still on 3.1 where there is 3.4 if I'm correct and he is clueless about other IDEs).
I tried Eclipse, but it did not fit my needs. I found JCreator easy to use, specially quick debugging Java classes from the forum. Then the choice come down to NetBeans as more integrated solution. However recently I picked up IntelliJ IDEA which has great features.
After chatting to industry people NetBeans and IntelliJ IDEA are the recommended IDEs by them. Eclipse is recently loosing because of the variety of languages is trying to cover with variety of plugings which are often badly supported.

We are only using bluej/java to learn OO concepts, we aint tying ourselfs into a specific language or IDE