Ian came round this afternoon with his new toys (well, it is just after Christmas). He is thinking of doing some work using the .NET Micro Framework and has got hold of one of the new boards from GHI. This has a huuuge LCD touch screen which looks amazing. He also had one of the tiny GHI master units which he had managed to solder down onto their carrier boards so that we can play with it properly. This does seem a very easy way to get into embedded development. The price of the hardware is starting to get sensible and you can now create Micro Framework applications with the free version of Visual Studio 2008 Express.
The ease with which you can get proper C# running on a tiny target board and start controlling hardware is very impressive. If you have an idea for a hardware based device but have previously been put off by the difficulty of writing the code I suggest you take a look at the platform.