Arduino is awesome, but using their IDE is uncomfortable for people that would prefer vim or emacs. There is an option in the IDE to allow you to use an external editor, but you still need to use the GUI to get access to the compile & upload tools. Here’s my setup, for a vim-only setup (would be similar for emacs).
At Braintree, the developers get every other Friday to work on non-work-related projects of their choosing. Collaboration is encouraged, but even if you end up working on something alone, it’s a great way to spread your excitement about whatever interests you at the moment (and it’s a nice perk to the job).
This week, my project was to get some LED strips unboxed and working. The strips are flexible circuit boards, with full-color LEDs dotting one side. Each “LED” is actually three LEDs clustered together (one red, one green, one blue), and with 21 control bits, they can display more colors than the human eye can distinguish. I bought a variety of strips, with different features, and I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do with them, but step 1 is to learn how to use them.