It was plug & play with vista (lord only know what'll happen when I plug it into a linux box at home). You need webcam image capture software (either supplied or something like AvaCam (free for windows) or Cheese for linux).
I've just taken a picture of the Queen's eye (her right, if you are interested) on a £5 note, which I will try to post so you can see the results.
Here's the picture of the eye of the Queen on a £5 note, together with one of a ruler.
So, probably OK for looking at things in the 4-10mm range, but probably less useful for things in the 1-4mm range (like the varroa I got it to look at).
It has LED lights that illuminate the object and a manual focus wheel. It will focus quite happily on the opposite wall, as well as close up things. Maplin had one with a stand and one without - the one without the stand would have been completely useless, I suspect.
I'll try to take some more pictures with it of bee related things tonight, and post the results.