Whilelanguage. We were given java skeleton code for this project, but it was so poorly written that I gave up refactoring it and decided it would be easier to rewrite from scratch. I chose to write the compiler in Haskell as I'd heard great things about the language for compiler implementations and I'd yet to get the chance to build a non-trivial project in it.
I had a bash at making a heated PCB etchant tank but gave up halfway through as I no longer had the time to pursue the hobby enough to justify working on it. Instead I used a jam jar with cupric chloride in it, pouring a bit of hydrogen peroxide in before etching a board to speed things up. I found it sufficient but otherwise if you're interested take a look at the relevant posts.
I've always had a strong interest in electronics. My first break into the subject was through the book MAKE: Electronics by Charles Platt. I blogged about my progress through the book as a way of consolidating my learning and sharing the trials I'd been through with others. This was a brilliant book that taught me a huge amount about basic electronics.
My first venture into programming was through the book Learning Processing by Daniel Shiffman which taught the elements of programming through the Processing language (built a top of Java). I recorded my progress through the book by blogging about my successes and difficulties.