Actual Program I/O

I'd like to have a "real" Input/output set-up for my PC, like, from C++ calling some function to "enable" a cable coming out from the PC.
I already know about electronics, but, is there some way to have direct i/o without having to buy extra components, like with the Parallel Port? (I Don't have one on my pc, but I tested inpout with my sis's pc [a lot slower, still worked], f* that)
All I have is USBs, IEEE-1394 and some other Notebook ports... I looked out for USB programming, it looks like i need a PIC chip, what do you suggest me? Should I get a PIC (And which one?) or Should I get a Parallel Port for PCI?

And don't tell that inpout isn't much supported in W7/x64, Someone ported the DLL to Vista/W7/x64.
First of all you should link to that DLL port, share the knowledge. Second, I'm a little confused about what you are asking. Do you want to make some kind of robot controlled by your PC?
Kind of, I got to use inpout.dll, but I don't have the parallel on this PC anyways. And yeah, it's kind of that. Not really a robot, but kind-of, once I get to set a led state from the PC, i got everything I need.
There are PCI - parrallel port converters on the market. It usually came with their own drivers so you can write the program as you have a parallel port out of the box.
Yeah, I'm just thinking if I could find a way for not-to buying a new component and just use what I already have, I also got suggested to use CPU's (arduino) and write my driver with the Win DDK
The microcontroller must also be programmed if you choose to use arduino and if you don't find the HEX on the net this is not easy at all, trust me.
Some of the Arduino models use USB, I don't see why you would bother practicing with an obsolete port like the 1284.
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