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Hardware:
- Standardize on USB mini or micro. We all have at least USB mini cables (cameras, MP3 players etc). Standard USB is mainly used for large devices, and is less and less used, and is of course also bulky. Quite impractical for Arduino.
- Somehow fix the conflict of sharing the serial port with programming. Maybe some electronic switch cutting both TX and RX on the pins while programming. TX must also be cut to avoid "garbage" being sent. Might be considered unnecessary, but while developing this gets a bit annoying.
- Make dedicated holes for connecting battery cables.
- Use possible free space for a tiny prototype area, to avoid using a shield for very simple projects.
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Reading your requirements I think there are some clone boards that at least address some of these points.
- http://www.freetronics.com/collections/arduino -?
- http://ruggedcircuits.com/html/ruggeduino.html -

wrt the mini/micro USB I've read a long time ago that they last for 1000-2000 inserts where the current "big connector" has many more (sorry no link)

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Good to know about the limitation. Thanks.

Ruggeduino would fit me just right smiley.

I bought a Freeduino because of USB mini for the MIDI Remote project:
http://abiro.com/w/2011/08/19/arduino-midi-remote-2/
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Most likely the complete MIDI Remote solution would have fit on this one:
http://www.freetronics.com/products/kitten
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wrt the mini/micro USB I've read a long time ago that they last for 1000-2000 inserts where the current "big connector" has many more (sorry no link)

I can believe that - even the standard PC USB ports (the "A" side?) aren't that robust; they weren't designed for constant plugging and unplugging - many will break long before the rest of the motherboard goes bad (though with the cheapness of today's systems, a motherboard going bad quickly seems to be par-for-the-course, too). All I know for sure is that my old equipment with DB-9 plugs/jacks, and DIN plugs/jacks - are going to continue to work long after I'm dead. smiley
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wrt the mini/micro USB I've read a long time ago that they last for 1000-2000 inserts where the current "big connector" has many more (sorry no link)

Believe it or not the small connectors are designed to last MUCH longer then the big ones!

Standard connector: 1500 connections (only!)
Mini-USB: 5000
Micro-USB: 10000

Ref: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/USB#Durability

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Thanks for this info,

I can confirm these numbers as a minimum in a stress test, chapter 3 of - http://www.usb.org/developers/devclass_docs/CabConn20.pdf -

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Rob Tillaart

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