I'm learning how to run IRC on my Raspberry Pi so I can have a distraction in my lab. The setup I've got is pretty spartan, but that's what I was going for on a $35 Linux box running off an 8GB SD card. You can do this too! It's simple and fun. Why not give it a shot?
A few years back Sauce Labs co-founder Jason Huggins ( @hugs) was giving a talk at js.chi(), showing us how to use an Arduino to change the color of an LED based on an input. During the talk Jason suggested those interested in microcontrollers check out Pumping Station: One up on Clybourn. So I got some friends together and we went to PS1, and learned the basics of programming an Arduino. The event was a fun experience and, later that night, netted me a working Larson Scanner. Since then I've procured a Raspberry PI, and started tinkering with Google Coder. And now it's time for Tessel.