Going to do a group buy/build on these: If you're interested put your name in the discussion.
Buy here: http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/bus-pirate-v3-assembled-p-609.html?cPath=174
Interfacing a new microchip can be a hassle. Breadboarding a circuit, writing code, hauling out the programmer, or maybe even prototyping a PCB. We never seem to get it right on the first try.
The ‘Bus Pirate’ is a universal bus interface that talks to most chips from a PC serial terminal, eliminating a ton of early prototyping effort when working with new or unknown chips. Many serial protocols are supported at 0-5.5volts, more can be added.
The Bus Pirate is used through a simple terminal interface, but these applications also support the Bus Pirate as a programming device, etc.
Here is some more info about the Bus Pirate:
http://code.google.com/p/the-bus-pirate/ http://dangerousprototypes.com/docs/Features_overview http://dangerousprototypes.com/docs/Bus_Pirate_schematic_and_partlist