A few weeks ago on a backpacking trip, I took a stack of pictures to stich together for a dramatic panoramic shot. Or rather, my girlfriend insisted that I take a series of pictures and stich them together in a panoramic shot for her. As luck would have it, today I noticed via Lifehacker that Microsoft has released free Image Composite Editor software that automatically stiches digital pictures together. The 3MB download is available in 32- and 64-bit flavors, and it's incredibly easy to use. In just minutes, I was able to drag in a set of photos, tweak the center of the image, crop, and export a panoramic shot. The whole process was so simple that even my mother (sorry, Mom), could handle it.
There's a larger version of the image in the gallery below, and as far as I can tell, ICE does an excellent job of lining everything up. And for free, provided you're already running Windows.