thanks for all the hints and tips - amazing support here in this forum :-)
The IPE is part of the MAC SW package, but also not recognizing the PICkit-2, but I can select the PIC16F1847.
So I have already ordered a PICkit-3 and will try again once it arrives.
Unfortunately I will be off for a week on a business trip to Asia, so will continue next weekend
My Windows PC is already in the trashcan
Using Parallels on the MAC to run the very few windows programs I might need - so this could be an option to try.
Linux could also be an option ...
But I expect that with the PICkit-3 the Microchip tools for MAC should work just fine - we will see next weekend
Sorry to hear that you are having so much problem with getting your PICkit2 to work. But this also has a lot to do with why I was working on this much simpler solution which in reality, really isn't any more expensive then the PICkit2 or 3 once you factor in the extra accessories you'll likely need to actually do stand-alone flashing of PIC chips.
Basically if you are just seeking the ability to flash the chips on the 1088XEL (or any of my other projects) this is about as simple as it gets utilizing the auto-loading flashing ATR's I supply, and your A8 as the programmer (which most people on this forum have access to).
I do have a OSHpark buy link on the site for convenience, but to be honest you would be far better off to grab the gerber files (also provided) and seek out ALLPCB, where you can get 5 bare boards for $5 (minimum order) with FREE DHL shipping. The rest of the parts to build one complete board would likely add another $5 to that total cost. So for a total cost of $10 you could have everything required to build one of these (and have 4 spare bare boards left over). If DIY is not in your skill set, perhaps fully assembled ones will become available down the road. Although if someone ever wanted to get into learning how to solder, this would be a good beginner's project .
Here's a good source for that ZIF socket that the JOY2PIC-STIK requires: https://www.ebay.com...0oAAOxyVtxSLwDb
BTW, that FREE shipping offer at ALPCB just happened recently, and I don't know if that will always be the case.