A new section has been added to my blog called "Huai-Ti's research tools". There you would find some useful links from general referencing to good online stores. There are also some good deals such as a free SEM imaging program (but the image will be public). In addition, you may find some useful software for making presentations or publications. For example, there is a Screen Capture Software that streamlines the print-screen function in most computers. Anyways, stuffs like this could be useful when you need it. I will populate this list gradually.
Over the past four years of my R&D, I have designed over 12 instruments, written more than 5 systems of feedback control programs, placed more than 85 orders for supplies and parts. I guess the number of projects and pet projects in experimental science directly correlates to the spending and instrumentation. Also, people in my research team tend to leave purchasing jobs to me since I've been really good at communicating with vendors and company associates to get the right parts for laboratory research. But I have to say such job is really stressful, although all the spending came from various research grants and not from my pocket.