Let's Make Robots!

secondary level arduino electronics kit?

i'm wondering if anyone sells a kit of components for like a secondary level of hobbyist... like a next step up from an arduino inventors kit.  Something that includes a bunch of components such as:

Robotfest in Maryland anyone?

I know its like 2 months away, but do any of you guys attend RobotFest in Maryland?

I'm finally able to go this year and wanted to see if anyone else has been before and what its like.  I've wanted to go for a few years but due to having very small children it seemed it would be difficult to take them with naps and all.  This year my son stopped taking naps and its only like an hour and half from my house so i thought i'd take him down.

http://www.robotfest.com

Android Java Newbie bluetooth help.

I am NOT a java devloper.  I work primarily in PHP and Asp.Net so you'll have to forgive me for this post, but i'm hitting up my favorite community of geeks for help as I'm sure many of you have written android bluetooth robot controllers before.

Tamiya universal plate standoffs?

I finally got around to starting my first robot (years after i wanted to), after a long detour in playing with microcontrollers to do a bunch of other stuff.  :-p

I ordered most of the parts i need from pololu but now i've found that i need standoffs to add a second tier to my tamiya plate chassis.  I have the tamiya track set and the universal plate set but the standoffs i ordered won't work because they are only 3/16" of threading and the plate is 1/8" thick leaving only 1/16" to try to screw a nut on.

Best for Beginners?

I am an absolute beginner... i have very little experience in electronics, very little experience in mechanics... but i am an expert programmer...  my question is: what do you recommend for a beginner wanting to get into robotics?  I am thinking I might want to get a roboduino board but I see here a lot of people are using picaxe. 

The advantages of something like the roboduino is that the board is pretty self contained and wouldn't need a seperate board to drive the servos...

Any suggestions as to what type of micro-controller might be best to start with?