Beginner Help

I've been thinking about getting into photography lately but I've not made a real decision yet. If I do decide to take the leap, I've pretty much decided on the Nikon D5100 as my first camera. I've just got a few questions though.

Where can I go to learn about lenses and stuff like that? Pretty much the basics of cameras like ISO, exposure, shutter speed, and on and on. Also, what would be a good lense to start out with? I'm not really sure what I'd be taking pictures of, probably just indoor and outdoor stuff.

Yesterday I read the Verge's review on the Sony NEX-6, and that camera is just beautiful and looks really amazing. Are there any other similar cameras in the $500 that are actually worth it? Basically other pocket-sized cameras than can compete with a DSLR.