As one that likes to work with small, inexpensive computers, I found the Arduino Board to be a great platform for experimentation. It provides a basic computer platform with USB interface, digital I/O pins, and a complete “C-like” programming language. There are Arduino boards available for as little as $30. One of the big sellers of Arduino stuff is Spark Fun Electronics.
My first applications for the Arduino will be CW-related. It took very little time to do some simple “canned” CW messages. The next step was a basic CW keyboard. This took a few days of work, mainly because I was learning the Arduino programming language.
Next application is a CW memory keyer. This will use the $30 Arduino board to record, store, and playback messages entered using CW. The difficult part of this will be coming up with a way to decode a key input and store the messages.