You can get Visual Studio 2005 Beta 1
from MSDN; completely free and it works fine. Takes up a lot of RAM and Power, but its a great tool. Undeniably the best for all Languages; Visual Basic when you start off and C# after that... of whatever you get into.
Something like Ping would be extremely easy to do... Frogger too, Snap, Memory is a good suggestion for some Randomization.
It really depends what you'd like to do really. Start off with Visual Basic though.