I really like the increasing capabilities of the Arduino. They keep getting better, with more memory and more speed and what's not to like about that?
But for a lot of what I do with Arduini, I don't need so much. For many projects, I need maybe 2-4 i/o lines, 1-2 PWM at most, and only rarely an ADC. It offends my sense of efficiency to take a microcontroller with 32k of memory and 20 i/o lines and, for example, build it into a carved pumpkin to turn on glowing red eyes (1 output) for two minutes any time the PIR sensor (1 input) trips.
I sometimes find myself using a PICAXE-08M for this sort of thing. It's smaller, lighter, cheaper, and has a built-in resonator that's accurate enough for timing pumpkin functions. But I don't like using the PICAXE. I dislike programming in BASIC in the first place, the PICAXE implementation of BASIC is annoyingly inconsistent, the supporting software (on a Mac, at least) is buggy as a cheap New York hotel, it's not open-source, and the user community is nowhere near as vibrant and helpful as this one.
Would it be possible to make a minimalist "Piccolo" platform from an ATtiny or some similar chip? Something with a removable (not surface-mounted) 8-pin DIP? Yes, something in direct competition with the PICAXE 8-pin proto-kit; but all open-source and Arduino-y.
I suppose the immediate solution for me would be to get a programmer and start learning how to roll my own ATtiny13 applications; but the ease of programming on the Arduino platform is addictive.
Anyway, it's a suggestion. I'll go back to lurking now.