MAKE reader Russtang just picked up one of these Microchip PIC development tools with a USB 2.0 programmer on board, he writes “They have their own version of basic for $149 ($99 with purchase of their board). They have C and pascal compilers. They also have a good (FREE) “Programming Basic for Microcontrollers” tutorial here –

“Learn how to write your own program, debug it, and use it to start the microcontroller. We have provided plenty of practical examples with necessary connection schemes: temperature sensors, AD and DA converters, LCD and LED displays, relays, communications, and the book is constantly being updated with fresh examples. All code is commented in details to make it easier for beginners. Instruction set, operators, control structures, and other elements of BASIC are thoroughly explained with many examples. Also, the book includes a useful appendix on mikroBasic development environment: how to install it and how to use it to its full potential.”Link.

PIC microcontrollers – a beginner’s guide – Link.