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in reply to Project ideas

Trag a lot of times programmers just have no new ideas - the first time this happened to me I was concerned - but when you live a bit without programming you come back with twice the zeal.
The best projects are the practical ones, what do you need fixed? Decide and then come up with a solution/improvement. I totally agree with the other monks about running a local webserver; it's very easy and administering Apache was one of the most pleasurable computing experiences for me...

My main advice is: go onto the net and get exposed to as many concepts and ideas as you can, when you know about a variety of computing fields you can either work on one of them or combine two to create something brand new.
To get your spirits up with Perl download a file containing a lot of English words ( a "Dictionary file" ) and write some small scripts to do statistics on the words etc. quick and fun.