Actually you don’t have to be a real hacker to use this tool. Anyone involved in digital electronics may find this to be real helper in everyday tasks like testing various, especially unknown, chips, prototyping, interfacing to PC and many more. Bus pirate actually is a an open source development board with special firmware which is capable to talk to various serial interfaces like 1-wire, I2C, UART, SPI, JTAG, MIDI, LCD, keyboard, and more. Newest firmware also supports Scripts like Python, Perl. Hardware allows measuring signals in range of 0 to 6V and 1Hz to 40Mhz. It supports 3,3 and 5V power supplies. It has on-board pull-up resistors for multi voltage interfacing. Other features include: address scanners, chip dumpers, transparent SUB interface even logic analyser.
Bus pirate is actually a product of evolution. The newest is a 3rd version, so it is well polished and improved. All schematics are freely available for everyone that wants to build own. But if you want original one you can grab one in one of pre-order cycles. Still not convinced in this platform – with different firmware it supports AVR STK500 v2 programming protocol. So you can have universal tool for hacking and AVR programmer that works on AVRStudio via USB interface. Seem that it gets stron supprt and there will be more updates in firmware and who knows maybe a hardware too. So build one or order – it can really save tons of time when hacking and prototyping.