As you know: I love all things Arduino and use them extensively both as a hobby and as a teaching tool... I wanted to talk about a few products that I've been especially stoked on lately, just for those nerdy blog readers out there.
For my money, buying Arduino nano's for $5 off ebay from china is about as good as it gets. But, when size and money are limited, the ATtiny85 is a pretty awesome device. It boasts an 8-bit processor and 6 I/O pins and cost less than a cup of iced coffee. It's easily programmed using one of SparkFun's Tiny AVR programmers and you can expand it's output easily using a couple of shift registers. If you'd like to learn more about shift registers, see this Bildr Blog!
Particle (previously known as Spark) blew me away with it's previous board the $39 Core. The board is about the same size as the Arduino Nano, and comes equipped with wifi and a pretty powerful cloud API. For me this really brought some cool Internet of Things (IoT) ideas to life. I can't wait to get my hands on their new Photon Board, which boast better specs at half the cost. Now if only anybody out there has any ideas for recapturing kinetic energy into electricity to power one of these things... I think they could be pretty unstoppable.