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Tod has a great background and comparison of the Arduino and the Basic Stamp, he writes – “Parallax’s Basic Stamp is the mainstay for hobbyists wanting to add intelligence to everyday devices. A new system called Arduino provides the benefits of the Basic Stamp at a greatly reduced cost, increased speed, and is entirely open-source.”Link.

More:
From MAKE 07 – Arduino Fever. The tale of a cute, blue microcontroller that fits nicely in the palm of your hand, and the expanding community of developers who love and support it. Page 52 & PDF preview.