Charles Petzold's ".NET Book Zero: What the C or C++ Programmer Needs to Know about C# and the .NET Framework" is a free download
It's about 8 years old, but it is free, and it is Charles:
Found this great link http://learnxinyminutes.com/ where it uses well commented WORKING code to illustrate how a computer language works.
Check out cheat-sheets.org for a metric ton of condensed knowledge on many aspects of software development. Best part is, it’s free! You just need to register with your real email address. I realize I sound like I’m being paid to say this, but it is very useful for picking up new skills quick, and it is free. Enjoy!
At last, after watching Virtual Dimension and Dexpot and even Sysinternals Desktops suffer a stream of glitches, VirtuaWin is working seamlessly. http://virtuawin.sourceforge.net/