I´m not a microcontroller user newbie. I started with PICs 6 years ago. But I only have my spare time to play with them. This means that I make some stuff during a month, and two months later something comes to my mind that can be done using a microcontroller and then is when I face the big trouble: it usually takes me a whole week to remember all things about PIC assembler, registers, how programmer works and bla bla bla. That´s why I started to look into those solutions like BasicStamp that gives you all the infrastructure that you need to play with electronics without requiring to be a mega master.
What are the advantages of that? Well, you get lots of documentation, a full development environment and a high level language to program your microcontroller. What´s the drawback? , the microcontroller gets to expensive. You can buy a PIC 16F876 for 6€ or less, a BasaicStamp cost you 60€. Too much for me. So I continued searching and I found the BasicX-24 something more powerful than the BasicStamp and a bit cheaper, 50€. The BasicX is still too expensive for me although it comes with floating point unit and a great development board, but it´s too much money for something that I can break messing with the polarity.
When I thought everything was lost I came across the PICAXE. This guys give me what I need: Cheap PICs preprogrammed (it´s almost the prices of a raw PIC), a simple development environment, and Basic language to program the PIC. The language have high level instructions like servo, pause, etc... And they offer an extremely cheap servo controller board, AXE024.