I have used this method will work to burn blank chips, taking advantage of the FTDI chip on the deumilanovehttp://www.geocities.jp/arduino_diecimila/bootloader/index_en.html
Altho if you're gonna buy more hardware just to use as a programmer
They're cheaper, and can be used for any of the ATMEL AVRs (I use it to program my Bobuino's, which are 1284 based, see my link below, and will be using it to program Mini-uino's when the boards come inI've been using this onehttp://www.mdfly.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=5&products_id=415and I have this one too but have not used it yethttp://www.sparkfun.com/products/9825Mini-uino- ordered 50 bare PCBs, 27 spoken for so far (selling them at cost plus postage, $2 each)
I,m thinking I will not be able to program blank chips with the Pro Mini as its the 3V3 version - correct me if I am wrong in that assumption.
Now the next question is, can the Uno be used in the same way as the duemilanove to program the bootloader in a blank chip, using the wiring to the ISP header pins?
...or perhaps the answer is that the bootloader is not required for all arduino projects, only if programming via the TX/RX lines, not the ISP pins.