My new Microchip PIC programmer arrived today. I have been meaning to get a USB powered version for awhile now since my new bench machine only has two serial ports... causing the rs-232 real estate to be rather limited. (plus I can't use my ISA serial cards in machines now that the ISA bus is pretty much obsolete ). Instead of going the expensive option, I went the cheap Chinese option and ordered a PICkit2 compatible programmer off of eBay. It took about two weeks to arrive directly from Honk Kong, but it's here and it works.
Of course after opening the package I noticed that it was missing the ZIF sockets. :(
Looking back at the auction I see that this was stated in the description in a non-descriptive Chinese kind of way. Luckily the sockets are cheap and I ordered them from a reputable supplier today.
This will allow me to start using the surplus of samples I have been ordering for free and let me explore the PIC world a little more. I have been spending a lot of time in the AVR ATmega world for the past month or so (most ATmega's don't require a programmer) so it will be cool to compare and contrast the two micro families.