A couple of months ago, Collin's Lab featured a story about making your own piezoelectric crystals from Rochelle salt. Collin stopped short of making an actual microphone though: he just demonstrated that the salt crystal would generate a series of voltage spikes when whacked with the handle of a screwdriver. Leafcutter John followed pretty much the same recipe to make crystals of his own, and then clamped the crystal between the jaws of a little panvise, and hooked it to an audio amplifier. When a small music box was held near the crystal, a surprisingly high fidelity recording resulted. Check it out!
Real Sound Cookery - Make a contact mic with baking soda and cream of tartar. | leafcutterjohn.com.
At various times, I've wanted to set up a little webcam server, but hadn't really found a program which combines ease of use with versatility. But today, I found a mention for the program "Yawcam", a Windows only webcam software written in Java, and decided to give it a try. Bingo! It works pretty well! It's free, it provides a wide variety of capabilities (including image snaps, video streaming, and a built in webserver). The only real downside is I wish it wasn't on Windows. It's "donationware", check it out if you are in need of something like that.
Yawcam - Yet Another Webcam Software.
Addendum: Here's a picture of Scrappy!