It's very convenient to finally have a board I can do some dev work on while traveling. No need for an external power source - just plug into your usb port.
The only problem I had was w/the ftdi device NOT enumerating as a usb<->serial converter. Seems that the design of this board is slightly flawed. According to the datasheet for the ft232bm, the test line must be pulled low (left floating on this board). Once I did this, it enumerated fine and I didn't even need the drivers - windows already had them.
If you don't want to use the supplied converter no need to cut traces to free the uart on your pic. Instead the tx/rx lines are brought out to some vias which you have to manually wire into the uart port. IMHO it's much better to 'add' then 'cut'