If you have a Canon point and shoot camera you may be able to improve it for advanced photography. CHDK (Canon Hack Development Kit) is a project to add features and programability to Canon point and shoot cameras. The basic idea is you add a file to your camera card, press a few buttons (varying depending on the camera) and use it to set advanced options or run scripts on your camera.
The project gives a nice list of models and firmware versions for supported cameras, along with detailed pages for supported cameras. Some of the amazing images that have been taken with CHDK can be seen on the flickr hive mind feed, wile you can explore their wiki for ideas of what it is useful for (time laps and motion sensing are some of the most common).
If you want more consumer focused overviews of CHDK try searching just the name, and you should end up seeing some articles like this great one on Life Hacker.