I recently found out about Arduino an open-source electronics prototyping platform – as described on the website.
It’s basically a circuit board which can have components connected to it and then “sketches” can be uploaded to the board to control how it operates. The basics, which I am working through this Christmas, are controlling LEDs but if you have a Google or YouTube there are some really impressive projects.
I’ve never really dabbled with electronics before but this looks a lot of fun. There is a project to control your garage door with iOS. There are also numerous examples of connecting to the board over a network so I’d love to combine some web work or iOS work with Arduino.
Starter kits can be found online pretty cheap and there are plenty of good tutorials around as well.