Puffball has his points however, I would like to make a few counterclaims. Of no offense to you personally.

I would disagree on learning HTML. HTML is more of a simple Markup Language than an actual programming language. Therefore you don't really gain any computer/network knowledge that crossapplies. HTML deals with itself and doesn't require any knowledge or learning on any other point. However, as it sounds like you know, other programming languages will require you to learn more about how computers work, how networks work, etc. It doesn't hurt to learn it, but will not help his goal.

Now, I don't disagree on the scripting aspect instead of going with a compiler, but I do not think languages needing to be compiled, add too much of a learning curve simply for that reason.

I think learning VB before C++ will add difficulty and create habits that will actually hinder the ability to quickly adapt to C++. I do not feel as though they build off each other. I only know a small amount of both from classes, so perhaps someone who is familar with both can offer some more specific insight on the pros/cons of going from one to the other.

If you want to stick with windows, don't bother learning a *script. VB is easy enough to get a hold on, that you could just start out with that.

If you plan on learning linux, then there are a plethora of languages to choose from.

If you want to learn C++, just start learning C++. I read a tutorial on someone learning one language to make it easier to learn C++, and I didn't see much of a point. I will probably stand to be corrected, but that happens alot