For many people out there that are wanting to get involved with the electrical side of hobbyist "hackers" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker_(hobbyist)), it can be a daunting feat especially if you have very little knowledge of electronics and programming. Often times, I find that those that are within this realm are often elitist types of people who repeat RTFM like a mantra which is really intimidating to most people when they don't know exactly where this "manual" is, understand the language of the manual, or even understand what that acronym means.
If you fall in that group, then look no further than getting yourself an Arduino and a copy of Massimo Banzi's book, Getting Started with Arduino. This is a great source for people to get started with learning everything from programming to circuit analysis to integrated systems. What it is, is an inexpensive prototyping board that has all kinds of possibilities of what you can do with it. (http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-Projects/) There are all kinds of things from people turning their shutters into light controlled shutters that change according to the amount of light outside.
The great thing about choosing this platform is that there are numerous sources for learning how to develop on this out side of Massimo's book. https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ix=sea&ie=UTF-8#hl=en&output=search&sclient=psy-ab&q=arduino%20projects&oq=&aq=&aqi=&aql=&gs_l=&pbx=1&fp=df41ee306381e0bb&ix=sea&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.,cf.osb&biw=1211&bih=982