This is a great idea. That accelerometer in your laptop is meant to interrupt hard drive activity in case of a fall or sudden jolt, but it can also be used to detect seismic activity. Similar to other distributed computing efforts like SETI@home and Folding@home (join one if you haven’t already), each client would be running software and reporting to a central server. However, unlike those famous other programs, in this case each computer is actually a data point and would be reporting information gleaned from its own little sensor.
At the moment the client is Mac-only, but they’re working on expanding the program with other OSes as well as accelerometer dongles for unequipped computers. It’s based out of UC Riverside, which makes a lot of sense. I went to UCLA and could have used a little more warning when we had some shakers there. Thanks for the tip, Kyle.