I'm brewing this weekend, on Sunday, and will be doing the initial run with a new sparge-arm. This one is much more elegant than the drilled copper hoop I had been using; I was inspired by a sparger I saw in the most recent Zymurgy. It's made of PVC, with a bolt and some washers providing the 'spray' aspect. I've extended it a bit so that the hose from the pump won't get any kinks, and I think it'll work like a champ. We'll see on Sunday, I suppose. (Photos to follow; I'll try to take some during the brew day.)
I'm also deep in the planning stages for conversion of my rig to a HERMS-style system. I've got the process flow mapped, and know what I need (in broad strokes) to make it work. I'm looking into various possibilities for automating the recirculating/heat-exchanging. I'm leaning towards something either based on the Arduino platform, or something that looks innovative (and, more important, simple) called "PICAXE". At this point, only time will tell. I am not, unfortunately, an electrical engineer, nor have I been a computer programmer for decades, so there's absolutely no telling how half-assed this will turn out. All the same, I'm optimistic.