I'm starting a 12 week Java course next month through my local junior college. I'm starting from square 1. I have a basic understanding of OO and Java will be my first OO language. My Google-Fu returns way too much and I can't tell which is good, bad, etc.
As far as learning the language, is it best to use a plain editor, I use JEdit currently, or an IDE like Eclipse or Netbeans? I don't have experience with either IDE. Is there other IDEs I should consider?
My project goals are:
GUI programs to control different radios and test equipment, which means I/O via USB, sound card, and networking across *NIX, Windows, and Mac OS.
Programming for Android devices, both phone and tablets. Database backed apps for logging data. Quite possibly accessing radio/test gear over WiFi.
How should I setup a testing environment for different platforms?