The Raspberry Pi (http://www.raspberrypi.org/) seems like a super-cheap, low power solution for what might be some otherwise expensive home-improvements. The cheap version costs only £20, and can run linux and connect to the internet.
Once I get my hands on one, I'm thinking of using it to hook up a cheap and cheerful cctv camera for monitoring my house while I'm away, using a cheap webcam, a wifi dongle, and maybe a program written in OpenCV for running rudimentary operations on the webcam feed (e.g. take a still frame every 5 seconds, run some kind of background subtraction to check for changes in the scene, alert/post a picture to the web if there is a significant change caused e.g. by an intruder, an animal, a door opening etc).
I think this is something a lot of people would find useful. Does anyone have any experience with this, or suggestions with how to get started? Many thanks!!