Guys from our Hardware Department were exploring the possibility of controlling EasyPIC6 development board over the browser, but using UART instead of Ethernet. They wrote application in Adobe® Flex, and a proxy application that is a mediator between the browser and UART controller on the PC. We had some great and promising results presented in this video. Imagine how interesting your first lessons on electronics and programming would be with such an interesting application. Or imagine how cool would be to control your device remotely without having to write complex Ethernet TCP/IP stacks or handlers.
Also, browser-based applications such as this are multiplatform and can be on Windows®, Linux, Mac®, and even Android.