Re: Free Alternative to PicBasic?

mike wrote:

I spent much of the day reading about Arduino. That looks interesting
too. I haven't convinced myself to spend the $20 to buy one, but I might
come around.

It's fun to be able to run up a program in, like, an hour, push it into the
Arduino in seconds, and watch it go. I break with Arduino pretty soon after
that, because their packaged solutions are too -- packaged. For example,
you can get a well-made Ardumoto "shield" board that will stack on an
Arduino main board and run 2 DC motors or the 2 windings of a stepper motor
through an L298 H-bridge. You can't really stack a second Ardumoto to
control a second stepper, because the L298 control lines route straight back
to the selected processor pins, with no room for patching or jumpering, so
running a second independent shield takes cutting and carving. Making up a
prototype board with an ATmega and L298's is just as simple.

Maybe this is endemic to open hardware -- what you get for nothing is
somebody else's solution to somebody else's problem. Can make for
interesting reading, which is good, but once a project starts to develop you
wind up solving your own problems yourself, just like the old days.