I really recomend that you start with a script language, something like PHP is greate, (www.php.net0
you can obviously make scripts for active web content, but you can also do a lot of other things,
You can run scripts on your local machine, either by associating the extension with the php excecutable, or by running them from the command prompt in the following style
php.exe [script name]
php will let you do almost anything that you could do in a real compiled language, includeing raw sockets, and file manipulations.
the syntax is also very simillar to C, so it's a good startinmg point for learning C, and progressing to C++