CAMERABLOGGING: In response to my earlier photo post, reader Mark Casazza emails:
My favorite little camera is the Canon S500 (Link; B&H is only a few blocks from my apartment so I included that link rather than Amazon's). It is small enough to just ride around in my backpack and with the aluminum body it is durable enough to survive the experience. The S500 replaced my older S400 last month; there wasn't anything wrong with the S400 but my younger daughter (16) wanted a camera and I took the opportunity to upgrade.
Yes, I like B&H and have bought a fair amount of audio and video stuff from them over the years, although their website doesn't give as much consumer information as Amazon's. There must be a disturbance in the force, because I just bought this Sony DSC-P93 5 MP pocket camera, and am planning on passing the Olympus down to my daughter. The thing I like about the Sony, as opposed to the otherwise excellent Canon, is that you can use regular AA batteries in a pinch. As I've said before, I think that's a very useful feature. It also shoots pretty good video with sound.
Another reader wrote and asked for a recommendation concerning a high-quality digital camera that could be used for serious photography, for around $500-600. The only one I could come up with was the Sony DSC-F717 -- which I've actually seen discounted under $500 occasionally. (Though I don't know this seller).
But although this stuff interests me, and although -- partly for selfish reasons involving freelance amateur photojournalism -- I want as many readers as possible to own digital cameras, I'm not really the best source for these recommendations. I recommend DPreview.com and Steve's Digicams as a better place that sort of information (I always research stuff there before buying). And also always check the Amazon customer reviews, which often contain useful information that "pro" reviews don't.
UPDATE: DPreview link was busted before. Fixed now. Sorry.