The things that blew me away before I was a programmer myself were graphics, games, encryption, and communications tools like IRC, IM, email, browsers, web servers, telnet, ssh, BBSes, and anything that helps people get information around.
I was drawn to programming as a way to facilitate communication rather than by simulations or game programming, so maybe that's a little skewed. I think the secret is, though, to show how easily you can do something relevant to their interests.
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