An intersting photo to show light quality, taken with the automatic setting on my $159 Fuji point and shoot. The light was moderate, yellow, in the room. It was not what I would call dark. And yet, the shot is grainy. There is just not enough ISO compensation for the low light situations with the point and shoots. My brother educated me about forcing the ISO manually up to 800+, which would help low light situations, but I'd have to hold my breathe, lean on a wall and stop my heartbeat for it to have no "shake".
The clothesline photo two days ago was taken with the same point and shoot, but in highest light of day. It is more sharp, but not ideal, as one can see when it's blown up (click picture on blog) and one looks at shingles on house. This could also be a factor of depth of field, which is also limited in the snapshot cameras.
This is precisely why I, personally, wanted a DSLR. To avoid shots corrupted by this sort of "noise".