These days, lots of notebooks and netbooks come with built-in webcams, but I suspect few people make good use of them--perhaps because there's no immediately obvious application. Here's my suggestion: Use Eyejot to record video e-mail messages for friends and family. It's free, and it works inside your browser--no software installation required.
Because there's nothing to install, you can use Eyejot on a whim. Record a birthday greeting for a loved one, let the kids goof around for grandma and grandpa, act like a dork for your blog (you can record a profile video and embed it on your site, as I've done here), or whatever. Just plug in your webcam, click record, and do your thing. It's blissfully easy.
The free version of Eyejot limits you to 1-minute messages, while a Pro account ($29.95 annually) bumps the cap to 5 minutes and lets you upload videos instead of just recording them on the fly. Personally, I think a minute is more than enough time to record a one-way greeting, but to each his own.
Sorry my sample vid is so idiotic, but believe it or not, that was the best of about a dozen attempts. Now you know why I'm a wordsmith and not a, um, videosmith.
This story, "Use Your Webcam to Send Video Mail" was originally published by PCWorld.