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On the ARM side, the RAM situation is getting a little better.  The
STR9xx series has 96K RAM (but some of it has to be used for Ethernet
buffers). NXP also has some with 96K, plus new models coming (LPC29xx)
with 120K (but 32K of that is instruction only), and the Atmel
AT91SAM7X512 has 128K RAM.

If you can live without on-chip flash, the champion is the Renesas
SH726x MCU's with 1M SRAM.  Using off-chip memory really does increase
the complexity, and it's hard to match the bandwidth of on-chip

USB development sticks are a good way to experiment with MCU's; for
example, the STR9 COM-Stick is about $65, has a STR9xx CPU, Ethernet,
USB, and CAN transceiver -- and best of all, Bogdan has already ported
eLua to the STR9 series.

Question for Bogdan: do you test each version (386, LM3S, STR9,
AT91SAM7, LPC2888) on a development board?  Even with inexpensive
development kits, that can get expensive if you're paying for all
those boards.

And, yes, I would like to see BASIC Stamps, and all similar crappy
little languages (some of which I have to use at work, ugh!), die a
well deserved death before they corrupt more programmers with bad
programming practices.