Prototyping on the cloud
I recently learned about an embedded design contest jointly organized by Circuit Cellar Magazine and NXP and mbed.
I signed in and I've got lucky as I've got one of the free development units. Having used Arduino platform before I was curious about how easy this thing would be.
Fear no more, I was setup in a moment. The funny thing developing with mbed is twofold: On the one hand, your computer will see a new flash storage drive when you plug in mbed. On the other hand, no compiler is installed on your computer. Instead, you use the mbed web. They host the compiler through a web interface. Once your code is compiled you just download the binary code to the flash drive and (now Arduino fans can smile) you manually press reset button for your code to be run.
I guess many complaints can be made if you dissect the service EULA, but definitely this way of working comes with many advantages too. Being multi-platform is not one of the least important ones.
Now I have to think about what could be a decent contest entry to make some cash :-)