After reading a few articles in Make magazine I decided to try the Arduino embedded target. Having worked a few years in embedded hardware products I was pretty blown back by how easy it easy to get going with this platform. The IDE is a superclass of Processing (yet another easy yet powerful technology) and the byte code is set through either serial port or USB port to the target.
I'm a packrat, and I've got tons of old electronics junk lying around from my battle bot days. I had some console displays from old dot matrix printers lying in a crate that I used to play with. I pulled one out, probed it with an Ohm meter and then hooked it up to the digital I/O's on the Arduino.
Most of the examples I could find were for pushing pins high, rather than pulling them low. As a former 8051 developer I'm more used to the latter. The printer board too was wired with one Vcc and all the rest grounds, so pull down it is.
It didn't take long before I had written some simple code (maybe 20 lines) that pulled the pins low in sequence. There is something so awesome about seeing old junk reanimated. I'm stoked to try something else now!