Thought I'd do a brief introduction, being a n00b here.
My background is in software/database design and development, though I'm not doing that now. I've picked up a bit of analog knowledge here and there, partially due to just general interest, partly by working on things like data acquisition software, and partly from wanting to DIY things like speaker crossovers. Don't know diddly about digital stuff, though thanks to Grumpy Mike, I at least know about pullup/down resistors. Okay, I grok the concept of logic levels, and I've heard of things like op-amps and OR gates. Sometimes, I pull out Grob's Basic Electronics
and try to refresh myself, which usually makes me drowsy. I prefer to learn things by solving problems.
I don't have any Arduino hardware yet -- other stuff keeps coming up to lay claim to my "extra" money, but I have my first project in mind already. I want to hook up a 1-wire with some DS18B20's. Just for fun and learning, and it'll amuse me to be able to check my aquarium temperature while I'm at work.
I have also come up with a practical application for the toilet flush sensor
. I doubt the landlord would let me implement it, but then he's a retired EE with a somewhat offbeat sense of humor, so who knows?
Anyways, I've been reading here for a couple weeks -- lots of great info. Looking forward to getting my hands on some hardware soon and having fun.
Welcome to the forums - and I am glad to see a fellow owner of Grob's Basic Electronics (it's one of the books I mention to newbies - you might also want to look into Forrest M. Mims III's books as well - http://www.forrestmims.org/
). It is definitely not "bedtime reading", but it is great to have to learn from for the more esoteric electronics knowledge.
Make sure you have or get a multimeter if you don't have one - they are invaluable.
There are also plenty of Ardunio experimenter kits out there; get one of those and play around with the examples before you jump into your project ideas. It will help you to gain confidence and understanding of what you are working with.
I'm a long-time software developer myself (been doing it for over 25 years now) - I can tell you this, that electronics is not very forgiving. With software, generally if there is a bug in your code, it isn't the end of the world (provided you keep backups). However, with electronics, once false move or one misplaced wire, and you can easily cause a lot of money to go up in smoke (and fire in some instances!).
Welcome to a new, exciting and (depending on what you end up pursuing) expensive hobby...