This is something that proposes to solve the hardware and wireware in one system: http://www.makeblock.cc/. They're pretty new -- their kickstarter campaign just finished.
I just got an Arduino for Christmas, and I'm having a blast learning electronics. (I'm programmer by profession, so the coding part is only mildly challenging/interesting.)
The thing I've been enjoying about the Arduino is the community. When I hook an LED up, why do I need a resister? How do I compute -which- value resister I need? What do I need to run a 1A brush motor? So far I've very often found these questions have already been answered (with ideas, suggestions, hardware, etc).