I've never used any of these new types of removable medias before - I've only used floppys and cd burners. My laptop has a three in one card reader, but I've never used them. I want to buy a digital camera and transfer the image files that way through some type of card, but I don't know how they work or what type is on my computer.
I've emailed the place where I bought it at and asked, but the service contract period is over, so I don't know if they will answer or not.
And how do these things actually work? Is this correct: take the picures, it saves them on the card, take the card out of the camera, stick it in the card reader, click the desktop icon (or something like that to access it), then does it open up in a window the contents like on a floppy or cd? And can I just move them over to the hard drive of the computer then?
It's similar to using one of those USB key drives or a floppy disk (remember those?). When you place a card in the drive usually you'll see another drive appear. You just copy the data out of that to your HDD.
As Bill said, it's actually pretty simple. Just make sure that the camera you buy has a card that will fit your computer. You can take your computer's manual to the shop when buying the camera and tell the salesperson that you need a camera with a memory card that will work with your machine.
As for managing your files... You can do lots of great things with the little memory cards including transporting regular files. For example... you can sift through all of your digital pictures, pick your favorites and put them on the card. Now take your card to a photo processor and they will print the pictures you have on your card. It's actually pretty nice. You can also move regular old files (like word docs) between machines using the cards. Image management software is usually included when you buy a camera and MOST of the time it's pretty easy to use.
Good luck! Be sure to check out camera reviews online before you buy to make sure you are getting a good deal and a nice camera.