Speaking of open data and google tools, see this post from Revolution R: How to use a Google Spreadsheet as data in R.
Tools worth knowing about: Google Refine is a power tool for working with messy data, cleaning it up, transforming it from one format into another, extending it with web services, and linking it to databases like Freebase. A recent discussion on the Polmeth list about the ANES Cumulative File is a setting where I think [...]
The new R environment RStudio looks really great, especially for users new to R. In teaching, these are often people new to programming anything, much less statistical models. The R GUIs were different on each platform, with (sometimes modal) windows appearing and disappearing and no unified design. RStudio fixes that and has already found a [...]